Yesterday I had the honor of going down to New Haven for my first radio interview, which is focused on my book Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer and will air next Friday. The host, Faith Middleton, is simply amazing, and she made the experience just about as laid back and comfortable as it could be.
Until yesterday, I had no clue what a radio station looked like, or how an interview would go. I mean, I’ve listened to plenty of interviews in the past, but I’ve never known how much preparation everyone had, or how an interview might be scripted or anything else like that. I was nervous, to put it short.
But it was actually a really great experience, and I hope it might bring some new readers to my book. The show broadcasts to CT, parts of New York and Long Island, and to some other locales in the North East on WNPR, which means that I’m definitely targeting a wider audience than I have been lately (mostly local).
Something that writers don’t often realize is that, when you get a book published, you become its chief spokesperson. You are the face (and voice) that will be most directly responsible for the success of your tome. Yes, publishers will often have some sway with publicity — especially if it’s one of the bigger publishing houses. But even authors published by those establishments will, one way or another, wind up speaking about their book.
Radio interviews, television spots, author readings at your local bookshops — these all go such a long way in getting people to buy your book. You are giving the listeners a sample of what your book is about, and hopefully the sample will make them want more. But you’re also providing them with a sample of your personality.
People instinctively like to know more about the authors that they read. I don’t really know why, but I know that it’s true, simply by thinking about my own interest in author’s lives. I don’t know if it’s because we want to be able to find the authors’ lives in their work, if we want to be able to connect with them as fellow human beings, or what, but from a sales perspective it’s important. So for any of you authors out there who have the luck and good fortune of getting a spot on a local radio/television show: don’t sweat it. The listeners and viewers want you. You. Nothing else. You don’t need to puff yourself up for them, or make yourself out to be someone you’re not. Don’t even try it — they’ll spot a fake a mile away.
I guess that’s it for now. I’ll be posting some tips about interviews (how they tend to flow, the best way to answer tough questions, etc) over the course of the next few days. And I’ll definitely be posting a link to the interview once it airs!