Author Tips: How to Prepare for a Radio Interview

I’ve been in book publicity for many years, working in various publishing companies and I’m presently publicity director at AMACOM Books. And while the publicity landscape has changed dramatically with an ever-increasing emphasis on online and social media, radio is still an important tool in promoting books – that is if an author is savvy about the interview. How can an author prepare him or herself for radio interviews? Here are some do’s and don’ts.

  1. Do re-read your book. You’ve spent a great deal of time researching, writing, and editing your book, but that was months ago and details may have become fuzzy.
  2. Do prepare for the interview. Develop 5 or 6 sound bites; research relevant stats about your business, your industry, and trends; write a list of questions and outline your answers with bullet points; practice answering questions with a friend or spouse. Respond with more than just yes or no; expand on your answers but try to keep them to a few sentences.
  3. Do pay attention to the news and find a relevant trending topic to tie-in to your book.
  4. Do ask your publicist for details on the show, such as the market, audience, format, and host’s name. Or go to the show’s website for information.
  5. Don’t use a cell phone. If you don’t have a landline phone at home, go to the office, or ask a family member or neighbor if you can use their phone.
  6. Do get comfortable for the interview. Have a glass of water, a notebook and pen, and copy of your book at hand. Find a quiet place away from barking dogs or doorbells.
  7. Do listen to the host’s questions. Don’t assume you know what the host will ask.
  8. Don’t just provide facts, include interesting or funny stories. Not only does it help to reinforce and explain your message, it also makes for a livelier interview. But refrain from telling dicey or off-color jokes.
  9. Don’t hard sell your book. That’s a big turnoff for the host and the audience.
  10. Don’t mention your book multiple times in the interview. The host knows the deal, that you’re doing the interview to promote your book. The host will mention your book at different points during the interview.
  11. Don’t just offer one place where the book can be bought. If asked where your book can be purchased, say the book is available at bookstores across the country and online book sellers.
  12. Do email the host and the producer after the interview, thanking them for the opportunity to be on their show. Mention that you hope they will keep you in mind for future interviews.
  13. Do promote the interview on your website and blog, as well as across your social media platform such as Facebook and Twitter.
  14. Above all be yourself and have fun with the interview and the audience will hear your enthusiasm and passion for your book.

Do you have any other suggestions or funny stories to share about doing  radio interviews?

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2 responses to “Author Tips: How to Prepare for a Radio Interview

  1. Great advice for preparing for a radio interview. I particularly like the one about “re-reading your book.” Among other things it helped me:
    1. Remember where in the book certain discussions reside.
    2. What I said and how it was phrased.
    3. The flow of the argument (discussion).
    I would also add, be sure to jot down the names or key concepts you may want to bring up should the opportunity arise. Recalling important details is something difficult on the spur of the moment.

  2. Bill, I’m glad that you found the blog post helpful. And thanks for adding your tip about jotting down names/key concepts to remember during an interview. As you wrote, recalling details can be difficult during a live interview.

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