When you get a media opportunity, you certainly don’t want to blow it. I know that saying that alone is enough to make you nervous, but do not fear! I’ve been an interviewer, and I’ve been interviewed. Follow my tips here, and you’ll approach your interview with confidence!
1) Remember first and foremost that you already know the answers to everything they’re going to ask. It’s all about you and your book, and nobody knows those things better than you do. Unless your book is controversial (or your interviewer is young and dumb), it is very unlikely that you’re walking into a “gotcha journalism” trap. Most interviewers are primarily concerned with putting best feet forward–yours and theirs.
2) Be yourself, but be the most engaging and personable version of yourself you can be. If you are normally reserved, sit down with the closest person in your life who is outgoing and get some tips from them on how to be more engaging. Tell them to be brutally honest with you, and put your feelings on the shelf. You can cry after the interview is over. If you are normally outgoing, remember that this is a timed event. Be careful not to over-talk. You can tell your mom all about it after the interview is over. In either case, know ahead of time what you want to cover and how much time you have so you can stay on pace. Go to YouTube and search “great interview” and “bad interview”. Watch a few videos of each. Emulate the former and avoid being like the latter. Watch them with a trusted friend who can tell you truthfully which you are most likely to be. Again, put your feelings on the shelf.
3) Prepare 5-8 questions that you want to answer most. Some interviewers will ask you for sample questions. Some will take them if you have them. Some will be offended at the notion. The best way to offer is to let them know you have sample questions if they would like to have them. Then leave it at that.
5) Don’t expect too much of the interviewer. You are not entitled to this interview, and they owe you absolutely nothing. Treat them like an acquaintance who is doing you a huge favor. They are going to be very friendly with you during the interview, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to ask you to lunch. Be gracious and kind and most of all, thankful for whatever you get, even if it is disappointing. Exposure is always helpful.
6) If you are nervous, say so to the interviewer before you go on the air. Saying it will help make it go away, and the interviewer will likely respond by putting you at ease.
7) MOST IMPORTANT: Be sure to mention the title of your book and where people can get it. If you are a Tate Publishing author, the best answer is “tatepublishing.com or anywhere books are sold”. You can put your own website in there if you prefer. Don’t assume the interviewer will do it for you. It’s a good idea before the interview to tell them you’d like to make sure to get that information out. You can ask if they prefer to ask you at the end of the interview or if they’d rather you bring it up. Sometimes you’ll get to do both. Mentioning the book more than once is very important, especially with radio interviews.
Don’t stress out over these tips. They are intended to help you relax. Yes, this is very important and should be taken seriously, but it works best if you relax and have fun!