Seven Tips for Writers – How to Survive Author Interviews

An invitation to discuss your work on a local radio or TV is a win-win-win opportunity. As the writer, you get exposure, your publisher/editor generates increased sales (or at least increased buzz), and the show gets free content. While thrilling and validating, the idea of talking to an audience about your work can trigger a panic attack. Here’s how to prepare for the task and combat your insecurities:

1. Have a strategy: What message do you want to deliver? What is the focus of this talk? How will you keep bringing the interview back to your message?

2. Ask the producer for a list of questions you may be asked. If you’re lucky enough to be given one, prepare sample answers and practice them aloud. Try not to sound canned, but al least memorize key phrases or points.

3. If the host prefers “off the hip” interviews, listen to the show in advance to gauge the style/tone.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask to the interviewer for their opinion – try to create a natural interplay to simulate a conversation between friends.

5. Prior to the show, reward yourself by adding a section for “writer’s guest appearances” on your resume. You can always remove it later for any reason.

6. Positive self-talk. Monitor your negative thoughts and counteract them with affirmative messages. “I wrote about it, I can easily talk about it.” “This is my chance to shine”.

7. Post-interview, ask for a copy of your segment and sit through multiple playbacks. Don’t bother cringing. That’s too easy, and you’re a writerâÂ?¦you like hard things. Analyze what you did well and what you need to improve. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, there will be a next time.

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