Writing: Be Your Best in Interviews

Whether you snagged a cool book deal or you self-published, the thrill of holding your book wears off quickly. Then, you face the real test: How do I promote? If you can line up some interviews—online, on radio or TV—you’ll need to brush up on your interviewing skills from an author’s standpoint.

Writing Tip for Today: Here are a few tips for conducting yourself during interviews about your book:

Know Your Audience

You already know there’s interest in your book—otherwise you might not have been selected for interview. But what about the listeners/viewers/readers? Understand who’ll be receiving the info  before the interview.

If you write fiction, try to find some aspect of your book that relates to the area or population that tunes in. For example, if your audience lives in the deep South, research a trivia fact or two ahead of time.  If your book is nonfiction, relate your topic to the audience specifically.

Avoid generalizations. You have knowledge the audience is curious to know, so make the most of it by having a few facts/conclusions from your book at hand.

Be Yourself

Interviews can be scary for those without a lot of speaking or public experience. Don’t try to be someone you’re not—remember, you wrote the book on this.

Your audience will benefit if you keep the same tone as in your book. If you wrote on a sad or challenging subject, you might be a little more serious. If your book is humorous or light, let your tone reflect that in the interview.

If you suffer from performance anxiety, it can lead to dry mouth and make it harder to speak in a radio or other media interview. Keep water and some small mints handy for those moments of cottonmouth. Remember to breathe—your voice will sound more at ease if you aren’t tense.

Remember to breathe–and try to have fun.

Have Fun

Any interview will be more successful if you can relax and have fun. I usually keep a funny anecdote at hand to loosen myself up. No matter what book you’ve published, you can’t take yourself too seriously.

You’ll have a lot more fun if you set things up before the interview. Make sure things such as mic checks, ring-light setups and backgrounds are tested well before the host contacts you. Practice making sure you’re not muted and remember to look directly into the camera. You’ll want to make eye contact with your audience.

Becoming a published author is far more than simply producing a book. It’s never too soon to learn the ins and outs of good interviewing. And if the audience thinks you’re having a great time while promoting your book, you’ll reap the benefits.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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