Media can breed more media
- Amy Currie, publicist for Michael Gilbert (The Disposable Male) got a call from MSNBC just days after Gilbert’s op-ed piece ran in the Christian Science Monitor.
- Vicki Courtney (Logged On and Tuned Out) was on FOX News shortly after her appearance aired on CNN Live.
- Philip Carlo (The Ice Man) was on The Montel Williams Show a few short weeks after his appearance on Larry King Live.
When our publicists begin pitching national media outlets for our clients we know the producers are going to ask for footage of previous interviews. Not only do they want to see the author's stage presence, but also whether they are entertaining and informative on the air. Previous interviews often serve as "pre-interviews" for additional opportunities.
In each of the examples mentioned above, authors were able to generate additional interest because of how well they did in their initial booking.
So, what can authors do to prepare to go on the air? How can you make the most out of each opportunity you get to interview about your book?
I always recommend that authors attend a media training workshop before their first interview. If you are working with a publicist, some firms even include media training as a required activity before they will begin pitching a client to top media contacts.
How an author does on the air reflects on the publicist as much as it reflects on the author. If a publicist recommends an unprepared author for a national television spot and they bomb on-air, who do you think that producer will blame? The publicist. Relationships between publicists and members of the media can be damaged if the publicist offers an unprepared guest or interview opportunity.
Most media training sessions involve sample interviews, sound byte development, tips for what to wear, how to prepare for an interview and variety other things. As an example of some of the nuances we cover in our media training, here are a few tips we go over:
- Bring two copies of your book with you to the interview. One to use on set as a visual during the interview, one to give to the producer. It's always a good idea to leave a signed copy of your book with the host when you leave the interview as a thank you. It's a small gesture, but shows your appreciation.
- If you have an upcoming signing or even you are promoting, bring a note card that lists the event details (who, what, when, where.) Hand it over to the producer before the interview and they might post the information on the station's website, or have the info appear on the bottom of the screen during the interview.
- To avoid slouching during the interview and to portray the best body language, try sitting in the middle of your chair verses against the back of the chair. This will help you maintain good posture and makes you look more engaged in your conversation with the host.
- Don’t wear a solid black, solid white or bright red outfit to a television interview because it will make you look either washed out or too dark, depending on your complexion.
Homework assignment: Watch at least five interviews this weekend and think about what you notice about the interviewee. What are they doing well? Where are they making mistakes?