Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How Do Authors Get On TV?

Authors want to know how they can get on television, so I am going to tell you exactly how to do just that.

First, understand the TV landscape – how it works, what they look for, and how to package yourself in a timely fashion.

Second, realize that despite all of the tricks of the trade, connections that you make, and the greatness of your book, there’s still a very little chance that you’ll make it beyond local TV.  That’s just the reality of the percentages.  Too many authors – and others – are in a Hunger Gamesdeath match to get on TV.  Only a few will survive and thrive.

Let’s start by looking at television today.  The first thing you need to know is that each station and show is unique and requires a customized pitch.  What works for The View doesn’t get you onFox, MSNBC, or PBS.  Know the politics, demographics, guest history, and ownership of each show before you pitch it.

Next, differentiate, what kinds of personality the show wants. Do they want the serious expert or a talking miniskirt?  Are they looking for news, analysis, opinion or entertainment? Is it interested only in certain subjects?  How is the show slanted and who does it appeal to?  Hint:  Look at the commercials.

Break down each network or channel and list all of the different shows.  Identify the producers and bookers for each show.  Contact one person from a show before you contact others from the same show.  If you don’t get a yes or a response, move on to others.  You can pitch multiple shows simultaneously.

Shows - think in terms of scoops and competition.  They want exclusives and to be first to air a story but they mainly compete internally with other shows on their network the way siblings compete for a parent's affection, and they compete with those in their time slot on other networks.  Give them something they fear others will want.

Your pitch needs to be short, headline-centric, filled with bullet points and links to a video.  They want a visual to support the story.  They also want to see what you look and sound like.

TV wants a validated, credible voice on camera.  Make sure you have the right credentials and any third-party supporters – testimonials, links to other media, awards, etc. They want to see you are on TV before.

Give urgency to your pitch.  Answer this:  Why you – and why now?  They need to see you are a hot property and someone they need to work with.  Highlight your social media numbers if they are solid.

The general pecking order of things is authors need to get some exposure on local TV or with digital television (video on a leading site) before they can get the call up to the Big Leagues of national television.

Can you clearly, emphatically, and passionately convince a TV producer why he or she should give you a shot?  Can you speak with conviction and confidence?  Will you give them a positive and secure feeling about your on-camera presence and style?  TV doesn’t like to take chances.  It’s risk-averse.  It wants formulaic tried and true.  Attractive people, cute dogs, celebrities, and odd stories still own the airwaves. TV is just Facebook these days.

The fastest way to television is to have something newsworthy to say on a timely topic being debated in the current news cycle.  But most authors don’t have such hard news to reveal.  So you have to be creative and think like the producer you are appealing to.  Feed their concerns with something that gets them to turn a no to a yes.  

Your first place to audition is on YouTube.  Build up a strong following that a TV show would kill for.  Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be the one interviewing the media on your podcast.  You have potentially as much power as the media.

That’s right, the way to get on TV is to embrace a can-do attitude and then to showcase your talents online.  Go for it!

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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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

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