Arrive at interviews early. Check that they have your name and the name of your book right. Make sure that they spell your name and title correctly, and that they know how to pronounce your name and any difficult words in your book’s title. As soon as you arrive, ask to see exactly what will be shown on the screen because mistakes frequently occur. Fortunately, they can easily be corrected if caught early
If you have any special agendas, discuss how they should be handled. Clarify who will give contact or other information. For example, ask,
“Will you be giving my website address or should I?”
“Will you give the phone number to order my book or should I?”
“Will you give the address of the charity so viewers can donate?”
Plan exactly what you want to say and how you plan to say it. Submit a list of questions that you want to answer. More often than not, the media will ask you those exact questions. Be prepared to make your key points in response to each of those questions.
Producers, hosts, and interviewers will be supportive, usually. Most of them simply want entertaining interviews. They really don’t care why you wrote your book or what direction you want to take in the interview as long as it pleases their audience.
Assume the attitude that it’s your interview and take charge, but don’t upstage the interviewer. Be direct and assertive, but polite. Most interviewers want you to look good and will usually help by asking the questions you submitted or other easy stuff.
Avoid coffee before an interview; it dries your mouth. Instead, drink water-even when the camera is on you; it’s acceptable. If you’re not dry, still drink water during interviews because it prevents dryness and will enable you to keep speaking smoothly.
Use water as a prop. For example, if you need time to decide how to an answer a tough question, stop and take a sip of water. As you do, think about what would be best to say. After you finish your drink, put down the water, smile softly, and give your response.
Publicist, speaker, and best-selling author Jill Lublin offers the following interviewing advice:
1. Remember that interviewers have a job and their job is to entertain and give their audiences information, so help them. If you make them look good, they will usually reciprocate by making you look good.
Over-prepare for your interview. Keep in mind that your job is to share your information and deliver an entertaining and informative interview. To begin, it’s important, even if you only have a minute, to successfully interact with the host. When you greet him or her, be sure to pronounce your name. Say, “Hello, I am Robyn Spizman, which rhymes with wise-man. I’m the co-author of the Author 101 series.” This will increase the odds that your name is pronounced correctly and that the host knows that you wrote your book.
Immediately thank the host for having you on, and, if you watch the show regularly, say so. “Jill. You’re a credit to television. I have been your fan since you started on the morning news.” Create a connection.
2. Never give interviews from a cell phone. Landlines are clearer and provide better recording quality. Cell phones can go down, be dropped, and incur interference-usually at the most critical part of the interview, and you frequently won’t sound your best. Once an interview opportunity is lost, it may never come again. Find a quiet place and use a landline for the best possible results. Also, be sure to get the studio back line; just in case you are disconnected, you have their telephone number.
3. When you book an interview, don’t cancel it unless you’re actually dying or dead, and even then try to keep it. Cancelled interviews are murder to reschedule because something newer, sexier, more immediate always seems to pop up. If you are a hassle to work with or hard to schedule, they’ll remember that. Also, know when a show airs, if it is live or taped, and listen to it ahead of time, which will give you an edge.
4. Before every interview, study the local media. Check out the top stories and, when possible, work them into your answers. Don’t refer to your book. Don’t say, “As I said in Chapter 12″ or “In Chapter 5, I wrote . . .” It should never be about the book, but it should always be about the readers and the value they will get from your knowledge. Instead of saying, “In Guerrilla Publicity we recommend _______,” rephrase it as, “A great guerrilla publicity tactic is to ________.” Or “A wonderful Author 101 rule is ______________.” Weave the title of your book into the interview by referring to it as a method, tactic, secret, or tip.
The key is not to sound so overly promotional that you turn off the media. Also, be aware of what’s going on in the news that day. Consider making reference to topical items that tie into your topic because it will increase your chances of being kept on longer and invited back!
5. Stand up for every interview, even if you’re on the phone at home; it will help you sound more energized and alert. Smile. Listeners can hear your smile over the phone and the airwaves. When giving an interview on the phone or even on television, watch your posture and hold your head up, slightly lifting your neck so that you are not slumping. This will allow the air to move through your vocal chords more efficiently and your voice will sound clearer and stronger. Try it both ways for practice . . . slump and talk and then sit up and try it. Which voice sounds best to you? Hands down, you’ll discover your most effective voice.
6. Match the interviewer’s energy and pace. Everyone operates at a different speed, so know your interviewer’s style beforehand. If she’s a fast-talking morning DJ, be upbeat and lively. If it’s an academic who wants in-depth answers, go that route. Joel Roberts advises, “Feel the beat; get the rhythm. Think of it like a Ping-Pong game in which you have to step up to the pace of the match and jump in.”
Reflect the tonal quality of your interview, but to still be yourself. News formats have a more serious tone, so give statistics and references to current news events when you get the chance. Morning and afternoon DJs are usually energetic. They generally want great topics a steady stream of talk and lively guests. Reflect the show’s tone, but be yourself. Never compromise your message, even if the host goes go down a different path or becomes silly or adversarial.
7. Part of being a great guest is being who you are, but be yourself in a way that complements interviewers and hosts and helps them do their jobs. “Remember, at all times,” my colleague Robyn Spizman warns, “that you are a guest and they can cut you off as easily as they booked you. Connect with the host, follow the producers requests, and fully understand the show’s format. Listen carefully to the questions asked, but don’t be afraid to bring up topics and your message. Say, ‘That’s a great question, but it may be even more relevant to ask, What should an author do when they don’t hear back from publishers after they submitted their book proposals?’”
Get more teaching at http://www.author101university.com on May 28