This is a post by Nanci Arvizu
As a host on a radio show where I interview authors about their work, I’ve interviewed authors of many different genres, from business to science fiction to romance to health. I’ve talked with people who live in the same state as I do and others as far away as Australia. All of these wonderful authors have taken their time to be a guest on Page Readers, so I have always tried to make their experience as pleasant as possible.
In the wonderful age of the Internet, technology has made it possible for anyone to create just about anything in this virtual world. In 2008 I created Page Readers because I saw a need for authors to have their “15 minutes of fame” where their work could be discussed in a focused and positive interview.
Now, 100+ shows and 22,000+ listens later, I have learned how to help anyone from the first-time author to the experienced publisher or publicist enjoy talking about themselves – which in reality can be a little nerve-racking!
So I’ve created this 10-point “Relax, you’ve got this under control” report, which will help you sound like a pro!
Find a quiet place to talk.
Since you will probably be doing this interview on the phone or from your computer, you will want your background noise to be as minimal as possible. And padded! When Page Readers was still in development, I tested different places around my house while recording. I found my office to be too empty; I sounded like I was in a cave. Since my office is all tile, wood furniture, and walls, it’s no wonder I got this effect. I ended up in the closet in my guest bedroom. It’s small, carpeted, has “stuff” in there hanging, and I even have a queen-sized mattress and box spring against one wall. No echo – and I can close off my dogs behind two doors!
Have something to drink with you.
Because you will be talking for 20 plus minutes, your throat will get dry. Be ready to take small sips during your interview to keep from sounding like a frog. If you feel your voice going, say “excuse me”, take a sip of water, and pull the phone away from your face to clear your throat. Don’t be embarrassed. Everyone talks; everyone has experienced a dry throat. Handle the situation like a professional. We want to hear you talk, not croak!
Be on time!
As the host of the show, I’ve organized my day around your interview. While I understand that things come up in life and this isn’t Oprah, it is still a moment when someone is doing something for you. If you are unable to make the show, do your best to let your host know as soon as possible. Then, try to be on the call 5-10 minutes before going “live.” This gives you and the host a moment to talk and to shake off any last nerves.
Know how you will introduce yourself.
Yes we will talk about your book, but this is your moment to introduce yourself to your fans. Where do you live, how do you live, are you married, single, a mom, dad or grandparent? What did you do before you became an author? If you are still working that full time job, or run a business, let us know! This lets your fans know that you are a real person with outside pressures and responsibilities just like them, and it gives everyone the opportunity to “meet” you.
Know your book.
Even though it may have been months or even years since you wrote it, know your story. This is why people are listening to you; they want to know what you’ve created. How much detail you go into at this point depends on what kind of book you’ve written. All books deserve at least a short synopsis, and if the book is fiction then add in a little character description and/or a good description of a few plot twists. For nonfiction, again a short synopsis is good. But in both cases don’t just read what’s on the back cover–you are the AUTHOR; you should know more about it than that!
Do your best to keep focused.
A good way to stay focused on the questions that have been asked is to repeat them, in a non-question-like way of course. Answer first with “What a great question,” “Good question,” or “Hmm, how did I come up with…”
Do your best to not ramble on.
It’s an interview, a two way conversation. If you know your book and are prepared to listen to questions and answer one at a time, the interview will go a lot better. No one wants to listen to anyone, for any reason, ramble on and on…
Know your website and sales avenues.
Is your book available in print or electronic versions, or both? Where can it be purchased? What URL do you want to share with listeners? Can they buy a signed copy?
Where else can you be found online?
So many authors now have Facebook fan pages or are on twitter. Be ready to share your fan page names, URLs and twitter name(s). Does a character from your book have a twitter account? (You’d be surprised how many do – and how much fun they can be!) Or, be able to direct listeners to the page on your main website where they can find links to you on social media.
Thank your host for having you!
At the end of my show I always try to ask my guests for “any last words.” Of course sometimes time is running out, so we don’t always get it in. But if asked, be ready to thank your host, your listeners, your support group, family, friends, and anyone else who has helped you reach your goals. Don’t go on like it’s the Grammys or something, but 30 seconds is good. And if you have them, share a few words of wisdom like, “If you have a dream of being an author, don’t give up!”
And one final tip – the most important step in any interview:
BE YOURSELF and ENJOY THE MOMENT!
About this post’s author:
As the host and founder of Page Readers on Blog Talk Radio, Nanci Arvizu offers authors of all genres the opportunity to talk about their work in a positive, focused interview. “I developed Page Readers to work as a partner with authors to help them grow their own fan base, bring recognition to their work and help them on their journey to become what they dream of becoming – a bestselling author.”