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May 26, 2021

            I’ve talked about interviews in 2017 and 2018 but since I just rolled through one on the 15th of May, I got inspired to revisit this subject.

            As a writer an especially an author, when it comes to marketing, doing interviews is an integral part of the marketing side of “the bidness.”

            An interview can be either intimidating or fun, depending on how you approach it. It’s not quite the same as speaking in front of a crowd.


            While speaking in front of a crowd usually involves a live audience staring back at you, more than likely an interview is going to be over the net or over the radio, so the audience is somewhere else. They may be listening live, but this interview may also be pre-recorded, or just an exchange of questions to be posted on a site.


            Q&A CHAT – The Q&A chat is where the interviewer will either send you a set of predetermined questions, or will open up a free-form discussion through a chat window or e-mail exchange. This is probably the least intimidating form and gives the author the best chance to form and edit their answers.

            The caveats to this style is what the interviewer does with the material. How do they edit not only the questions, but your responses? What does the final product look like? Next, who is the audience and what reach is this interview going to have? Since it’s not live, the audience doesn’t get to see you or hear your voice. They don’t necessarily get a feeling for your personality. While it may be the less intimidating, it’s also the coldest.

            LIVE RADIO – The live radio interview is where you go live on the air, whether it be on an actual radio station or maybe on a live podcast. The questions may be predetermined, or it may be a free-form or combination, depending on the time allowed by the interviewer’s staff. This is where you’re speaking in front of a crowd. The difference is that they’re not staring at you and you can’t stare back at them. It’s only slightly less intimidating if you have a problem speaking in public. There are plusses for shy people as you may not have to stare at anyone, especially if it’s on the phone or maybe on Zoom without video.

            The caveats are that your audience gets to hear you and get a feel for who you are. They get a chance to gauge your enthusiasm for what you write and your current book. The downside is it can also highlight your insecurities. Plus, there is the possibility the interviewer can throw a monkeywrench into the proceedings with off-the wall questions. Or, you can sabotage things by being a lousy guest. Then there are the technical issues that can blow the interview like audio or connectivity issues. However, if things go well, the radio interview can be a huge boost.

            If you can do the interview in the studio, that can be a huge plus as well as a minus. It all depends on if you’re the solo guest, or if there are others, it’s a panel discussion, and if you’re an active participant. If you’re unaware of what’s involved beforehand, that can make pitching your book that much harder.

            PRE-RECORDED RADIO – This method is almost the same as live radio, except it’s a little less intimidating as any issues or glitches or flubs can be fixed before the episode airs. Also, if things go bad, the entire interview can be scrapped, if the interviewer allows that. Sometimes, they even allow for retakes.

            LIVE VIDEO – I’m including pre-taped and live TV into this. This is by far, the most intimidating and also the most challenging. There’s nothing more compelling than for an author to reach a wide audience through live TV or video. The issue is how the author comes off in front of a camera. Some people are just not meant to be on camera for whatever reason. It should not be that way, but the sad fact is that to sell yourself and your books, while it’s perfectly fine at a book signing or in any number of ways, to be interviewed live on TV, people tend to pick you apart from the armchair a lot more.

            If you don’t fit a certain “demographic,” for instance, it doesn’t matter what you write. If you don’t look a certain way, when you come on for your interview, certain audience members will take one look and drift away or change the channel. They won’t even look at the book cover or subject matter.

            Those are huge caveats. At the same time, if you happen to fit the demographic and come off as visually appealing, this can mean a huge boost in book sales. You must be able to speak to a huge audience. The difference is that you’re going to be speaking to a camera. Your immediate audience is going to be a bored camera crew and a few staff wandering around in the background (if they aren’t chased off the set). That’s it. What you need to do is concentrate on the interviewer and hope he or she sticks with the pre-screened questions. They’re more likely to stick with the script since they don’t want to look bad on camera either. Unless your book is controversial, and they have a rep for stirring the pot. Usually, the interviewer is the least of your worries. YOU need to be confident and be able to speak without stumbling over your words. Don’t think that thousands of people may be watching you.


            As a writer with a small publisher, I would take anything I can get. On the other hand, live TV or video is probably not my best bet because I’m one of those that doesn’t fit the correct demographic. Then again, that wouldn’t stop me either. I don’t care, personally.

            I’d do any interview, the more the merrier.

            I just did an interview with a podcast live radio station over in Jolly Olde’ Englande’ and it was a hoot. It was short and sweet, and I’d do it again.

            No telling if it’ll sell any books, but I’d do it again if the opportunity arises.

            If I were you, stage fright or fear of speaking in public, I’d suck it up and get out there. Your books aren’t going to sell on their own!

            Happy writing!

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