Book Marketing On the Air: Radio and #Podcast Tips for Writers #WriteTip #Indie #IAN

Writing Novels That Sell with Adrienne deWolfe

I just completed several rounds of podcast interviews to promote my Lady Law & The Gunslinger series of Western Romantic Suspense novels, so I’m offering these book marketing tips for writers who want to be “heard.” The following ideas come from 20 years of experience as a professional publicist.

Write a Pitch Letter

Unless your phone's ringing off the hook, you must begin your book marketing venture by contacting the show's staff. A pitch letter is a lot like the query that you wrote to your publisher.

In your pitch, demonstrate that:


You’ve Done Your Research

You know what the radio broadcast or podcast’s general focus is, what the host’s interests are, and how your topic is relevant.


You Have Something Interesting to Say

Just because you’ve written a novel doesn’t make you newsworthy. What else can you bring to the broadcast’s listeners that is entertaining, interesting, inspirational, or topical?


You’re a Good Communicator

If you’re comfortable in front of a microphone, tell the host. If you’ve been a guest on other podcasts or radio shows, include a link.


Your Book Is Interesting

As in any book marketing venture, send your media kit, complete with your bio, photo, cover art, book description, writing achievements, and professional reviews. Think in terms of establishing your credibility.

Don’t forget to include links to your blog (where the host might glean questions to ask you later) and a list of “Talking Points” (1-line sentences in a bulleted format that highlight interesting facts about your book and your writing career.)

Prepping for the Interview:


Ask for a list of interview questions.

You may not receive one, and the host may not stick to the ones he sends, but at least you’ll have a place to start rehearsing.


Think in terms of “sound bytes.”

Savvy book marketing pros speak in 10-second to 15-second sentences, so keep your answers short and pithy. When you open your mouth, the most important things should come out first.

This strategy is especially true if the show is recorded. The host has the power to edit your interview, concentrating the lion’s share of air time (for instance) on your humorous anecdotes about Fluffy’s fight with Fido.  Won’t you feel silly if the recording doesn’t have you speaking about your book?

Writing Novels That Sell with Adrienne deWolfe3)

Rehearse with a recording device.

Do you squeak and giggle when you’re nervous? Do you punctuate every sentence with “you know” or “um?” Do you repeat yourself? Cure these impediments before your book marketing venture. The goal is to entertain while communicating intelligibly (in other words, speak in sentences that follow your point to a logical conclusion.)


Be prepared for a short audition.

Not every podcast or radio show will take the time to contact you in advance. However, if you are contacted in response to your book marketing efforts, rest assured that you’re being auditioned. To determine that you’re a lively communicator, the caller may profess he has a question about your media kit.

On the Air:


DO NOT Read Written Answers into the Microphone

Unless you’re an award-winning Thespian, your speech will sound stilted and rehearsed.


Avoid Rambling

Most hosts will offer open-ended questions like, “Tell me about your book.” Keep your answers to-the-point. You should have practiced enough that you're not stammering, rambling, or repeating yourself.


Focus on Your Agenda

If the host isn’t a “take charge” personality – and leaves the direction of the interview to your discretion – concentrate on the top 2-3 points you want to make. Broach these subjects first. You’d be surprised how fast 15 minutes fly by. If you don’t start talking about your agenda at the top of the hour, you may run out of air time before you get to your book.


Use the Bridging Technique

If the host is a “take charge” personality – and neglects to ask questions that pertain to your agenda – then you have to “bridge” to those topics. For example, “That’s a great question, Bob. I don’t know anything about alternatives to tree pulp for paperbacks. But I do know that ebooks are on the rise. For instance, my #1 best-selling novel, Scoundrel for Hire … “


Act Natural

Don’t be afraid to laugh, show warmth, demonstrate your sense of humor, etc.


Opt for Diplomacy

Unless you thoroughly enjoy conflict (and don’t mind sounding like a jerk,) opt for diplomacy over controversy. Hosts who want to attract advertising sponsors and therefore, who want to increase their audience, may try to push your buttons. Controversy makes their shows more interesting.

Do not get angry. Avoid putting yourself in a position where you have to defend (for instance) something your publisher does or does not do. Take a deep breath and bridge to a less controversial topic.


Never Lie On the Air

Don’t invent answers. You’ll look worse for spewing Urban Myth than for admitting that you don’t know. Handle the situation by bridging. For instance: “Unfortunately, that’s not my area of expertise, Bob. But what I do know, is that Western Romance is one of the hottest-selling categories in ebook right now … “


Audience Questions

Handle them the same way you'd handle questions from the host.


Be Your Book’s Best Sales Person

When it comes to book marketing, don’t rely on your host to mention your title, where it can be purchased, or your website’s URL. Be prepared to say these things clearly and succinctly at least once – preferably at the end of the interview, so that you're leaving your audience with this information. You might want to say these things twice.

But be judicious: repeating this information over and over again can backfire, making you look like a barracuda of a sales person. (Of course, if the HOST says these things, your image remains stellar!)

Have more radio or podcast tips for writers engaged in book marketing? Please share your comments, below.