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Book Promotion: How To Survive Your First Radio Interview About Your Self-published Books

Book Promotion: How to Survive Your First Radio Interview About Your Self-published Books

As indie authors, securing a slot to talk about your books on radio stations provides a great way to attract new readers for your books – but if you’re not media trained and have no experience of broadcasting, the prospect can seem daunting. But don’t let nerves put you off accepting – read this post by successful broadcaster and author Rachel Amphlett, and you’ll be good to go!

Head and shoulders photo of Rachel Amphlett

Rachel Amphlett, best-selling indie author and broadcast professional

Great! You’re going to be interviewed live on radio – now what?

Any live recording, whether it be on radio or via podcast can seem daunting, but you can manage the process like a pro by following these simple guidelines.

First of all, prepare

If possible, obtain a list of potential questions. Just remember that with live radio, things do change. Jot down a couple of bullet points for each question. You want to sound as natural as possible, and you don’t want to feel flustered if you try to read from a paragraph of prepared text and lose your place.

If the interview has been offered to you, rather than you pitching to the host, do some research about the podcast/programme. What sort of tone is typically set? What’s the presenter’s background? Find some common ground, get an idea of what the presenter is looking for from guests, and adjust your responses accordingly.

If you’re speaking on a podcast geared towards helping other writers, for example, don’t spend the time promoting your own work. Instead, explain how you manage a successful career as a writer and offer tips. It’ll make you more memorable to listeners.

Ask your host how long the interview will run for, and seek guidance on the running order. They’ll typically give you an idea of how they like their interviews to proceeds including timing, gravitas, etc.

On the day, get organised before you start

Before the interview begins, put those pieces of paper with your bullet point answers on a flat surface in front of you. You want to try to avoid picking these up and flicking through them, because microphones are very sensitive – even the little ear bud type you use to Skype with your friends – and listeners will find it distracting.

Have a toilet break before it starts. This sounds silly, but you want to be comfortable! The same goes for having a glass of water to hand. Just remember to take small sips.

If you’re asked a question you’re not expecting, don’t be afraid to ask your host to repeat themselves if you don’t hear them clearly or don’t understand the question.

Go with the flow. If you’re lucky, you’ve already exchanged emails with your host as a minimum or, even better, already spoken on the phone or via Skype to build a rapport.

Finally, enjoy yourself. Don’t fret if the interview doesn’t go according to plan. Live interviews rarely do!

Afterwards, review

cover of White Gold

The first in Rachel Amphlett’s bestselling Dan Taylor series

Your host will probably spend some time with you after the recording. Take the time to thank them. If you have more to offer their listeners than could be covered in one session, don’t be afraid to suggest another topic or two that you’d like to discuss further with them.

A day or so after the interview, email your host to thank them. Let them know what you’re up to over the coming months, remind them you’re on hand if they’ve got any follow-up questions or clarifications, and seek an .mp3 file of the interview if you can. Hearing your own voice and how the interview sounded to the host’s listeners will mean you can tweak and improve your approach the next time you’re offered the chance to take part in a broadcast.

OVER TO YOU If you have questions for Rachel or more top tips to share, please leave a comment.

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Rachel Amphlett

Before moving to Australia in 2005, Rachel Amphlett lived in the UK and freelanced as a presenter and producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant. She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with seven bestselling novels available worldwide. She self-publishes her thrillers to an international audience, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint in 2014. www.rachelamphlett.com

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This Post Has 12 Comments
  1. I find it helpful to listen to interviews with other authors and get an idea of how they talk, the angles they bring to their responses, and the overall dynamic with the host, too. Here in North America, CBC’s Q and NPR’s Fresh Air are 2 great public radio shows that often feature long-form radio interviews with authors. When I listen to one, I try to think of how I would answer the same questions being discussed.

  2. Having recently experienced my first two radio interviews, I think Rachel’s advice to “…sound as natural as possible…” is spot on. Just talk. You’re not in a radio station. You’re in a coffee shop, with your best friend, discussing your book. The listeners are just eavesdroppers. And unless lightning strikes, your answers will not make or break your book. Novel promotion is a game of inches. Lighten the pressure by lightening up. My first interview started with the host asking how to pronounce my last name of Pitir. I replied, “Peter, Pitir picked a peck of pickled Pitiers, just call me George.” He laughed. I laughed, and we were off and running, just talking. So, just talk.

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