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Whether you’re doing your first interview or your fiftieth, you can never prepare enough for a radio or TV appearance. If you’ve never been media trained or coached before and you’re seeking a steady stream of broadcast media, then you might want to consider this valuable component.

            AME talks with producers across the US regularly, and they reveal that authors are not typically the best interviewees. Usually they are timid, shy, even less than forthcoming with the information they are asked to present. What’s more, some novice authors lack one big thing: enthusiasm!

Who’s kidding whom? If you’re not enthusiastic about your book, how can you expect the audience to give one iota of their attention to you? Passion sells. Exhibit your passion for your book or topic and your book will fly off the shelves. But, sit back, shy and somewhat indifferent, and even with the best book in world, chances are no one will be intrigued enough to buy it. This is true no matter how big the show or how great your book. Even an appearance on Oprah has been known to bring dismal sales when the author is a sleeper. You invested enough time to craft your story, and now is the time to share your zeal, joy, and message with the world. The fun is just beginning. Boast a little; be proud! 

            Next, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions. Your own questions that is–you know the ones you included in your media kit. Do these questions make sense? Are they still relevant today and for this audience/show? Are they fresh and interesting? Think “Tom Brokaw” if you have a topic with the potential for controversy you can bet the interviewer is going to tap into this. Be prepared, or be prepared to be taken by surprise.

            During the interview, the interviewer may or may not follow your questions. Often, they’ll flex their own interviewing skills and throw you a curve-ball or a sinker. We’re not talking controversy here, but just enough of a curve ball to get you off-track. Before you start any interview, make sure you know your three most important points-cold, backwards and forwards. What’s your mission/Why did you write your book? These are the points that, in the absence of anything else, you want to make sure you make-the points that are designed to make the audience remember you and [hopefully] buy your book. Also, keeping your end goals in mind will help you stay on track and realign an interview that’s been derailed. 

            Never expect that the interviewer has read your book. In fact, you’ll be lucky if they even received their copy even a half hour prior to the interview. Still, it will be your job to make the interviewer look good, it’s the host’s show and it’s your job #1 to be a good guest and make the host look like a hero for inviting you to appear on the air. Even if the host asks you a question completely unrelated to your topic, acknowledge it, answer it if you can and get them back on track without “showing them up.” If you can’t answer the question, say, “I don’t know but I can certainly check on this and get back to you.”

            Finally remember that you’re going to make mistakes-everyone does, even the pros. Just smile right through them, and promise yourself to do better next time. Keep in mind when you’re planning your media campaign to get your feet wet regionally first before dipping your toe into the national media pool. Why? No self-respecting producer will feature a “green” author. In other words, if you haven’t paid your dues regionally or spent some serious money getting media-trained you won’t attract the attention of a major show. Media draws media. The more you do, the more you’ll do.  

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