January 20, 2009

Promotion: How to Prepare for Radio?

Today's post is selfishly motivated. I want to look into doing some radio book promotion for Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery. Having never done that before, I figured it'd be a good idea to do some preparation beforehand.

Besides the fear of sounding stupid, I also am not sure what questions would be asked. So if you have appeared on radio before, what questions do you advise being ready to answer? I will compile the answers in another post and add some others that I find.

* If you have appeared on radio, what did you think was your best answer or best move?

* Worst thing you did? How did you prepare?

* Do's and don'ts? Any tips?

Thank you!


  1. I don't have any advice, unfortunately, just another question! I'm wondering about the answer to "What is your book about?". Should the the answer different in a radio, i.e. should you direct people to your blog, should it be more specific or less specific, etc.?

  2. Unless you know ahead of time what is going to be discussed there is no way you can prepare, so my advice is 'be yourself.' I was recently interviewed on Kim Smith's BlogTalkRadio, and I was a nervous wreck for the few hours before. Once I called in and realized I was 'having a phone conversation' with a friend, I forgot about the radio and we just chatted. I relaxed, we talked, laughed and shared some tips. If not for the little glitch at the beginning where the dashboard wouldn't access me, things would have gone very smoothly. I enjoyed Kim and her show, and I hope she invites me back.

  3. Hey! I have a radio show. The best advice I can give a guest is to be relaxed and KNOW YOUR BUSINESS. There will be a lot of questions asked and you need to have a good answer.

    Secondly, HAVE FUN! it is a great time for you to promote, and make new friends.

    Hope this helps!

  4. I gather some of the interviews I've done on blogs and such, highlight the questions and spread them out on the floor in front of me as a security blanket, but I usually don't have to refer to them. Most questions are about you or the book you wrote so they are easy to answer. I did have one interviewer ask me my favorite band, song, movie, etc. and I just drew a blank! Embarrassing!

  5. I haven't done any radio promotion, but I have read that sometimes the radio host appreciates the author submitting the questions to him/her ahead of time.

    I'm looking forward to see what questions you come up with.

  6. I was interviewed several years ago on a local radio station after I placed a couple of books with the then-new electronic publishing medium.

    The best thing I did, I think, was read a little from one of the books, so people knew that an e-book is a story, just like a print book.

    I was lucky, and didn't have a "worst moment". The interviewer had me come in about fifteen minutes early and chatted to me. When we went on the air, it was just a continuation of our chat. He put me at ease.

    The best thing to do is to believe in the work, believe that it's something some people will enjoy. Be yourself. Don't try to impress, just talk friend to friend.

  7. I've never been interviewed for radio but I imagine the producer or the host of the show may be able to share some possible topics ahead of time with you/the guest. That would appear to help everyone out. I've heard sometimes producers will do a pre-interview a day or two before the real interview.

  8. Mmm - well, know your host, first off. Listen to the show, get a feel for the style of him or her and the demographics and interests of the listeners. You CAN send in a list of Q's you WANT to be asked, and many hosts will to agree to at least include those. conversely you can ask to be sent a list of Q's that the host wants to ask you. Either way that can be "comforting" (smile)

    Mostly just be relaxed, exude confidence, be excited about your work, have personal stories and anecdotes to share - remember - "facts tell, stories sell."

    I've done lots of shows, both pre-recorded and live and after you get a couple under your belt it's a breeze. Fun! And if you're on a BIG show with lots of listeners, watch your sales spike. MORE fun!!

  9. Hi, I'm Morgan St. James and I write the funny Silver Sisters Mysteries with my real life sister, Phyllice Bradner. I've had a few radio appearances, several readings and speaking engagements, and writer's workshops.

    However on the question of the best answer, I have to defer to what Phyllice said in a TV interview. When asked, "What do you consider your best marketing tool?" without blinking she replied, "An A-Type sister."

    I'm usually pretty careful about preparing so I can honestly say I don't remember any sterling bloopers.

    That said, in my opinion,it is very important to listed to several of the interviewer's other programs so you can get a feeling for their style. Usually you'll get most of the questions in advance.

    Answer honestly, but try to inject some humor unless your book is about a heavy, serious subject. Play to the interviewer. That is, be yourself, but don't give one word answers. Never speak in a monotone.

    Everyone has a different personality, but they all have one! Let it shine through and grab the listener.

    Good luck. Check out my interview on the Michael Dresser Show. The clip is on my websites, www.silversistersmysteries.com and www.morganstjames-author.com.

    Silver Sisters Mysteries-Comical Crime Capers
    Best Mystery Audio Book-2007-USA Book News

  10. Hi, there ... first, relax! Radio's great because you don't have to give a thought to what to wear. I've been on a few times now, promoting MAMA DOES TIME, my funny, series debut. I can tell you a few questions everyone asks: Are your characters based on real life?
    Where do you get your ideas?
    How long did it take you to write?
    Another good thing is to prepare in your head a short synopsis of what the book is about. It shouldn't be too canned-sounding, but you'd be surprised how many authors cannot sum in a few short sentences the gist of their books. (I'm speaking here not only as a newbie author myself, but also as a longtime former reporter for USA Today who did an awful lot of interviews on the other side of the notepad.)
    Good luck!
    Deborah Sharp

  11. Oh, yeah ... one last thing: Worst thing I did? Forgot to mention the name of the book, and the host never did either!
    Deb Sharp

  12. these are some great tips and advice, thank you all. thanks for links I can check out too. Funny as I interview people all the time as a reporter, but it is hard being on the other side!

    Krista, I'd say try to mention your blog or website, whichever is easier to remember (Candid Canine is definitely easier than my last name!) ha!

  13. I want to say be relaxed and be yourself, but those heebie jeebies talk another language so the best advice I can give you on this being as I have been on several radio shows (online and public) is to listen to a few radio shows beforehand. Notice what sounds like the author is nervous and notice what sounds like the author is confident. Listen to the confident one closely and a couple of times to get into that professional mode and by the time yours comes on, it'll be in the bag. This helped me tremendously.


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