In a previous post I discussed eight ways to use social media for success. Here at Writestream Publishing, our nearly two-and-one-half year-old internet radio network, Writestream Radio, supports our authors and their marketing efforts by providing an opportunity to discuss their books in a non-threatening environment. Listeners cannot see us, nor can guests see them, making it (hopefully) a lot easier to breathe, relax, and converse.
Lisa and I, along with all of our hosts, make a conscious effort to make our shows conversational, fun, and most importantly, helpful to our guests and listeners. While there is no one “magic bullet” to selling books, every effort you make to engage your audience is critical.
But how to prepare for an internet radio show, especially if you’re a newcomer?
1. Remember, No One Knows Your Material Like You – Years ago, a former boss helped me overcome my public speaking fears during a performance review when she stated “Don’t be nervous. You have the information they need.”
This holds true for authors of fiction and nonfiction. You, the author, have something of value to offer the listeners. Having spent countless hours writing, researching, editing, and revising, YOU are the authority on your work. Let that fill you with confidence as you step behind the microphone, so to speak.
2. Distill Your Book Into Talking Points – This was a tough one for me back in 2008 because my book has a seemingly endless list of themes to convey. But when I participated in Blurb! Talk Radio back in 2009, I was forced to boil it all down into a two-minute commercial, which felt like a drag at the time. But I realized the value of the experience, especially when I won the Book of the Week Award. Even if I hadn’t, I’d learned an important skill.
In your case, come up with 10-15 major takeaways (supported by examples) from your book. These are the most important points you want readers to ponder. To make this process easier, Lisa and I send all of our guests a confirmation form which requests up to 15 questions we should pose on the air. Remember, this is all about YOU. Help us place you — and your work — in the best possible light.
3. Elaborate On Your Answers to Questions – As a radio host I can tell you there is nothing worse than a guest who gives short, one-sentence answers. Not only is it exhausting trying to keep a 50-minute interview entertaining when the guest cannot articulate thoughtful answers, it’s boring for the listeners. I once interviewed a highly successful, award-winning author who simply could not discuss her work comfortably and allow her personality to shine through. If it felt like a chore to me, I can only imagine how the listeners felt. If you follow suggestions one and two above, this one should be much easier to accomplish.
4. Be You – Since your book is a reflection of who you are, listeners want to get to know you on some level. During the interview, just be yourself. Don’t take this too seriously; view it as an opportunity to practice communicating your ideas, reach a broader readership, and yes, have a good time.
5. Dial In Early – With Blog Talk Radio, our hosting platform, we can dial in 15 minutes prior to going live. Doing so gives us a chance to perform a sound-check and help an author loosen up before a show. On the day of your interview, call in early to ensure the best possibly quality and your peace of mind.
6. Have Fun – Finally, just enjoy it. No one expects perfection from internet radio — and Lord knows we have our fair share of technical snafus during any given broadcast. Don’t take it all too seriously. If your call drops, just dial back in; if you mess up an answer, be willing to laugh about it.