Writing your book is just the beginning of your journey as an author. The next step you need to take is learning how to promote yourself and your book. We’re talking about Public Relations (PR) for authors.
From TV to radio to print interviews, PR can help you build exposure and increase book sales. You may not see overnight results, but if you keep at it—getting as many people to hear about your book as possible—book sales will rise!
Here are our actionable tips on how to promote yourself, earn publicity, and drive books sales through TV, radio, and press interviews.
1. TV Interviews
Scoring a TV spot can boost your reputation, enhance your credibility, and increase your book sales. The best part is that the PR machine can stay moving even after your interview. Post a link to the interview and add the TV station logo on your website to pump up your credibility and continue the exposure.
Tips for How to Get a TV Interview
As you can imagine, it’s not easy to score a TV spot. TV stations are often overwhelmed with PR and interview requests. Here are some tips on how to stand out from the masses.
A successful pitch shows your hosts that you’ll add value to their show. Everyone has something to sell. So stand out by connecting with the host(s) and producer(s) by showing them why your book will add value to their show.
Know your facts
Draft your pitch to acknowledge their audience. If your book is about elder care and their demographics are retirees, then pitch that connection. If the topic of your book is of relevance to their fans, then make that point for them—don’t force them to connect the dots.
Keep it short
Everyone’s busy in the media world. Producers aren’t going to wade through pages of pitch. Make your pitch short and sweet. Try to hook them in the first ten sentences.
Tips for How to Shine During Your TV Interview
Congrats, you got a TV spot! Now the prep begins. Here are some tips for giving a stellar on-air performance.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
Write down and practice your talking points ahead of time, so that you don’t freeze when the cameras are on. Don’t worry about answering verbatim; your goal is a natural dialogue with the host. Rehearsing talking points gives you a jumping off spot for a give-and-take conversation.
Do your research
Your goal is to understand your audience. Your show will have detailed demographic information available. Ask the producers to provide you a summary of that information. Also, ask the producers ahead of time if there’s anything you need to know about their particular audience. By understanding who’s watching, you’ll be able to forge a natural connection with viewers.
Respond to the questions
Sometimes when we’re nervous, our natural inclination is to interrupt. Avoid hijacking the conservation. Wait your turn, and then respond to what the host is asking you. Taking your time will make you seem confident and put together, rather than full of nerves (even if you are!).
2. Radio Interviews
Radio interviews, much like TV spots, can be challenging to get, especially if you’re promoting your first book. However, radio is a rich PR resource, so you should make the effort to lock down interviews. Don’t get discouraged if you have to make several pitches before you’re offered a spot. The effort will pay off.
How to Get a Radio Interview
Radio is a terrific way to share your voice (literally) with your potential readers. And with over 90% of Americans regularly listening to radio, it’s well worth the effort you’re going to invest in pitching. Here are some tips on how to pitch radio stations.
Radio shows are always looking for new content to share with their audience. Start out with your local radio stations, letting them know not only about your book, but also that you live in the community. If you can tie your book to the community, even better!
Tailor Your Pitch
When you’re pitching your book, don’t use a blanket pitch for each TV or radio station you go after. Customize each pitch to reflect why your book and your personal story will be of interest to their fans. Showing how your interview can add value to their program will result in more replies and a better chance of scoring an interview.
Tips for How to Shine on the Radio
Congrats, you got a radio spot! Here are some tips on how to give a killer on-air performance.
Be authentic and enthusiastic
Even though you’re on the radio and obviously listeners can’t see you, they’ll hear your energy. Smile, sit up straight, and walk around if you need to. By acting energized and engaged, you’ll peak listeners’ interest.
Help the host
Don’t get discouraged if your host hasn’t read your book. With busy PR schedules, it happens more than you might assume. Your job is to make your host look smart. Tell them about your book and don’t quiz them. If you make their job easy for them, the odds are good they’ll ask you back again.
Prepare a list of questions
It’s perfectly acceptable to provide your own list of questions for the host. Some busy radio hosts and producers will appreciate your extra effort and may even work from that list of questions.
3. Print Interviews or Guest Posts
Print interviews and guest blog posts are terrific for search engine optimization (SEO) of your website. Improving your SEO means you’ll rank higher in search, so more people are likely to find your website and read about you and your book. Print is a great SEO strategy for any new author; so cast your net far and wide to score an interview or a guest post.
How to Get a Print Interview
Publications are still alive and well, and many of them have super successful digital platforms; so make sure you don’t skip over this form of media when creating your PR strategy.
Find publications and blogs that are frequent reads for your target audience and reach out (for example, if women are your primary target audience, you’re not going to want to pitch GQ). Even if you’ve never had a print interview before, local publications and blogs will often be happy to share the great news of your new book.
Tips for How to Shine in Your Print Interview
Congrats on scoring a press interview. Here are tips to make you sound like a pro author (even if your voice is cracking from nerves)!
Print interviews are a little more relaxed than TV or radio spots, but you still have a finite amount of time to get your message across. You’re your own PR machine, so get ready to sing your own praises.
Plan your hooks
You need to have some print-friendly “sound bites” to intrigue your audience. What makes your book special? Important? Entertaining? Useful? Get to the heart of why your audience needs your book, and talk about it.
Don’t get thrown
Don’t let unanticipated or sticky questions throw you. The nature of interviews is that there’s always going be something which you’re not 100% prepped for. Roll with the question, answer as positively as you can, then get back to your talking points. Remember, unlike an on-air or audio-recorded interview, you can take as much time as you need to think before you answer. Don’t be afraid to do so.
Now that you know some PR tricks and tips, it’s time to tackle the job of becoming your own PR machine. Driving publicity through TV, radio, and print media means increased exposure for both you and your book, which will eventually translate into greater sales. Remember, PR is a slow burn—you may get a lot of no’s and no responses before you get a yes, but patience and perseverance in this game pays off! Stay confident and don’t give up!
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