Being on the radio recently with three different, affable talk show hosts gave me a wonderful opportunity to speak about e-publishing and my recent e-book release, Designed for Death. I was lucky. They asked the right questions—ones I could answer without stumbling or fumbling for words.
My first host asked why more and more people are turning to electronic books, which was a perfect launching pad for me to say, “Instant gratification.” I went on to say with a digital reader, a device no larger than a slice of bread, you have a library at your fingertips. It boggles the mind, thousands of books only a click away. And with no heavy weight to carry. Oh I had my ducks in a row that day.
“But some people like the experience of holding a paper book,” he said.. Uh-oh. Smooth as silk, honest, I segued into, “True, with a Nook or a Kindle or an iPad, you don’t have pages to turn, just a pad to touch. But—voila!—touch that pad and the next page of Designed for Death (I had to squeeze that in on the air) pops up effortlessly.”
Then I went on to tell about an e-book fan who said she could read her digital book and rock her baby to sleep at the same time. Try doing that with a hard cover copy of War and Peace.” He laughed. What a relief.
Oh, I had all kinds of good stuff to say about e-books in those interviews. Not the least of which was that e-books, by and large, are priced lower than printed versions, because production costs for the publisher are lower, and they have no returns to worry about, no trucks on the road, no postage to pay.
Overall that first interview went swimmingly, and I offer it to you as an example of one way to go—relax and be yourself. Just as in there are two schools of thought about how to write a book—as a plotter or a panster--there are also differing schools of thought about how to be a radio talk show guest—plan your interview out carefully, or throw caution to the airwaves and innovate as you go along. I recommend a little of both.
The problem with having a written set of answers to a series of prearranged questions is that your interview may strike the listening audience as wooden. You risk losing spontaneity. On the other hand, it’s good to know ahead of time what the host expects. To start the conversational juices flowing in the direction you want them to, ask if you can submit the opening question ahead of show time. This will give you some control as to the direction of your talk and help reduce unwanted surprises. Though should you be asked a question you can’t answer, simply say so. The host wants the interview to go well. He wants your chat to be a success and will quickly move on to another question.
An “I don’t know” honestly stated is fine. What is deadly is a guest who gives one or two word answers. Chat it up. Be lively. Be informative. If you have a gift for humor, now is the time to display it.
Detractors will tell you they’ve gone on radio shows and saw no spike in book sales. Maybe we shouldn’t expect miracles. But add a radio show to your social networking, talks around town, book reviews. Add a second radio show. Maybe an interview on TV, a contest on your website. A blog. Appear on another radio show. On every one, be sure to mention your web site. Now people begin to recognize your name. And writer’s name is his brand. So of course you want it to be recognized. Though you might walk around with a leather patch on your butt that says Levi, chances are good it doesn’t say Jean Harrington, Marcelle Dube or Toni Anderson.
So my advice is talk, baby, talk!
So my advice is talk, baby, talk!