Tuesday, November 14, 2023

9 Steps To Authors Having Great Media Interviews



Getting interview opportunities with the news media can be quite challenging for most authors. But once you are fortunate enough to land a chance to get the word out, the next step is to make sure you do everything possible to have a great interview.  

First, set goals. What do you hope to accomplish with this interview? Is it to purely lead people to buy your book? Is it to get a branding message out there? Is it to encourage people to attend an event or to take some other action step? Do you have a call-out, such as encouraging people to follow you on a specific social media platform or to visit your website? Think of what you want to happen and then devise a plan to say the things that will trigger listeners, readers, or viewers to act as you wish.   

Second, be aware of the interview parameters. For instance, how long will it be? Will it follow a certain format or style? Will there be more than one interviewer? Is this a panel discussion with other authors/experts, and if so with whom? Will it be conducted in-person, zoom, phone, or by email? Will it be live or recorded?   

Third, supply them with your core tools -- a copy of the book, your press kit, your website address, your social media links, and any other extras ---photos, videos, or items that they need or like in order to help present the story/ interview.  

Fourth, map out your five or six most important messages, themes or points. If time permits, list an example, statistic, or story that supports each of your points. Be aware of things in the news or trends that you can comment on if it seems relevant and timely.  

Fifth, practice. Come up with a list of 15-20 possible interview questions. Anticipate what they could ask you -- and figure out how you’d respond. Have a friend ask you these questions. Get their feedback and have them time your answers. See if you get your points across without taking too long, being repetitive, lacking energy, or getting off point.  

Sixth, send a list of suggested questions to the interviewer. You’ll be surprised at how often they ask those very same questions (assuming they are good ones). The other questions they tend to ask are either ones based on your answers, or they have an agenda, or they have personal connections to your topic and ask questions out of curiosity and passion.  

Seventh, don’t overly research the news outlet or interviewer. This may sound contradictory to your instincts or what you may have heard about doing interviews. It can be good to know of any extreme or quirky stuff about an interviewer, but other than that, you might want to know the general demographics of the media outlets.  

Listener. Reader. Viewer. What you really want is not so much to cater your message to the show’s audience, but rather to focus on whom you think is your targeted reader and to only say things that you believe would resonate with that reader. The real key here is for you to acknowledge and understand that the vast majority of people will never hear about your book, and of those that do, the overwhelming majority will not be interested in it. Just about all authors with a miniscule number of exceptions, will not be purchased by 99.9% of Americans. But don’t worry, if you win over that .1%, that still means as many as 337,000 copies of your bool could be sold.  

So, don’t look to win over most of the media outlet’s audience, because you won’t but do look to state a message that your target reader would love to hear if only he or she knew your book existed.  

Eight, have a useful digital download giveaway on your site that you can mention in the interview. Share free books, helpful tips, useful resources, meaningful advice, or other content that people should value.  

Nine, just have fun and use this moment to have your voice heard. It’s your chance to finally appeal directly to your potential readers. Don’t put any added pressures, burdens, or expectations on yourself. Just talk, be yourself, and speak with conviction, hope and passion -- not with insecurity, hype, or low energy.

Need Book Marketing Help?

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at brianfeinblum@gmail.com  He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has over 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres. Let him be your advocate, teacher, and motivator!


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on LinkedIn. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.4 million pageviews. With 4,600+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by www.WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: www.linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.  

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