Give a Great Author Interview

You’ve probably seen them: those author interviews where there is no energy and the guest is as placid as the polar ice cap. Or worse: the author is talkative—too talkative—and  runs over the host with wanton disregard. Guests like these are rarely invited back. The key to becoming a media darling and keeping the publicity coming is to be a great interviewee. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:

  • Keep it short and sweet: Whether your appearance is in print, radio, television, or otherwise, the publication or broadcast program will have a limited amount of space and airtime allotted for each item. Be respectful and keep your answers brief.
  • Develop your talking points: Though questions may vary from interview to interview, there will be some basic questions asked over and over again (e.g., what is your book about, why did you start writing, what advice do you have for writers, etc.). So, develop a few key talking points that you can easily integrate into every interview. Also, customize a few for each venue. This means doing your research before you show up to the interview.
  • Mention your book often!: The point of publicity is to get your name and the name of your book out there. Mention your book, website, and contact information often. Here is a short video demonstrating how to easily work that information in to the conversation.
  • Dress and act professionally: The majority of a person’s impression of you is formulated before you even open your mouth. To make the best first impression, dress like you care about the interview. If it’s an online or phone interview, make sure your website and social media are professional and clean; be on time and courteous; and don’t tie up the long-distance line any longer than necessary.
  • Tempo: Speak quickly enough to finish your talking point, but don’t speak so fast that no one can understand you. Take deep breaths, wait for the host to complete his or her question before answering, and actively listen to yourself so you can catch any acceleration in pace.
  • Be gracious: Especially if you are a first-time author, don’t continually correct the host or editor, don’t constantly nag, and by all means say thank you!

Being polite, brief, and professional will take you far with the media. And remember to prepare beforehand so you can work in all of your talking points and sell more books!

Shennandoah Diaz is the Business Development Assistant at Greenleaf Book Group, a publisher and distributor supporting independent authors and small presses. Diaz develops educational materials for authors in addition to managing Greenleaf’s social media, writing case studies and white papers on the publishing industry, and coordinating Austin Publishing University.