Working With Producers

I work with producers every day and I was inspired by Mike Hyatt's recent blog on getting ready for a media interview. Just as he has seen his share of book failures and successes, I, too, as the public relations director for Brown Books Publishing Group, am an astute observer of all things book. His recent posting "What Every Author Should Know about Radio and Television Interviews" captures what I refer to as standard operating procedure (SOP).

The most important message producers consistently convey is steering clear of turning an on-air segment into an advertisement. Even though in essence, an on-air appearance is just that, the key to a good interview is the ability to discuss the message of your book without sounding like you are selling something. In addition, visuals play a significant role in avoiding sounding like another talking head. They help enhance the segment and the topic being discussed.

Responding to interview questions with sound bites is equally essential to a successful interview. I always create a list of ten practice questions for the author to answer as a component of our press kit, and this helps the author prepare for a real interview. In most cases, the host will refer to these questions, and this preemptive preparation will make answering them less stressful. I always remind the author that they know their material better than anyone else and to remain confident. The key to a successful interview is getting your message out as briefly and as quickly as possible.

To ensure a successful interview, the author must be prepared, be dressed well and camera-ready, confident, remember to remain calm, speak slowly, and keep in mind that nobody knows their book better than they do.

The interviewer will mention the author's website at the end of the segment and let viewers know where books are available. In addition, this information is usually posted on the network or station website immediately following the show.

Are you ready for your interview?