So you wrote a book and now you want your 15 minutes of fame. You’d settle for three and a half, which is the average time of a television segment on evening news programs, morning shows, and the weekend news. How do you get yourself on television to promote your book?
As someone who has worked with authors for the past 25 years, I’ve had to answer this question many times. Of course I was the one getting them on TV – or my colleagues were – but we still had to figure out how to make the best presentable case to a television producer on behalf of an author. Here’s what I learned will increase our chances of getting on TV – in no set order:
1. You don’t have to have a great book (the TV producers won’t read it), but it needs to appear to be a great one. Have a stunning cover, a catchy headline, a few good testimonials by well-known people, and an overall good look to the book’s layout and packaging.
2. Media begets media. TV will follow other TV and will also want you if you’ve built up a buzz with other legitimizing media, such as newspaper and magazine articles, radio interviews, or major blog posts.
3. If you are perceived to have a substantial social media platform – with lots of followers on Twitter, likes on FB, or views on YouTube – that will make you appear more seductive.
4. Having a good appearance never hurts. Attractiveness is a personal opinion, but many TV shows need to determine if their viewing demographics would find you pleasing to look at.
5. Having a good voice also helps. No one wants to hear a mumbler, a low-talker, a screecher, or a thick accent.
6. Your subject matter has to be interesting, timely, and useful. If you are talking about something that impacts only a few people or doesn’t sound new or entertaining or relevant to the audience of the show, you’ll be ignored.
7. You need to be perceived as an expert on something. Not only must you sound knowledgeable, you’ll need the credentials to back it up. This can be based on your job title, professional background, personal experiences, level of education, access to certain information, or because you founded an organization.
8. TV experience counts. They want to know someone else vetted you and put you on camera. They’ll want to see a video clip to see how you come across on television. Sometimes, the producer of a local show will recommend you to a national show within the network.
9. If the book is making the news, this helps. Is it an award-winning, bestselling book? Is it being talked about by celebrities, politicians, businesses, and leaders?
10. Are you advocating for a major change in something – a government policy, a behavior, a social movement? Sometimes the timing is right for you to become the face of a campaign to revolutionize some aspect of life.
11. You need to target the right shows and the right people at those shows. You’ll need to be persistent and try multiple means to connect with them – phone, email, and messengered packages.
12. It helps if you’ve researched the media outlets that you’re trying to win over and use the knowledge about that show, host, or producer to help win them over.
13. Present not just a one-on-one interview or talking segment. Show them video or photos or props that would make for great visuals. Think of adding another person to the segment that won’t steal your thunder but serve to complement you and round out the segment.
14. Think of doing an interview from a cool location, especially if it relates to your book or subject matter.
15. Sound positive, energized and confident in your exchanges with the producer. Always be excited.
16. Timing is key. Whenever you can relate your message to what’s in the news or an upcoming anniversary, holiday or event, the better chance you have of getting on. Give enough advance notice, as many shows schedule guests way in advance.
17. Buttering up the producer can’t hurt, and saying you’re a fan is a polite thing to do.
18. Finding a third-party lead-in is another trick. If you now someone who knows a producer, have them introduce you.
19. Google the producer or host and see what public appearances they have scheduled. Maybe they’ll be at a charity event. You can seek to meet them there.
20. Offer an exclusive. Tell the producer they are getting something first, something special. It sounds good even if it seems there’s nothing exclusive to offer.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015
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