Tag Archives: publicity

Tips for giving a great interview

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!

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Filed under Growing your platform, media, Reputation building

Top 3 Marketing Questions Most Authors Have

Most of the authors I work with are brand new to the worlds of publishing and book selling (and make no mistake: those are two different worlds). Even though these questions are addressed in a lot of websites and blogs, they remain prevalent in the minds of authors who are trying to wrap those minds around an industry that doesn’t work at all like it seems in the movies. So I thought some pointed and concise answers to these 3 questions would be helpful.

1) Who sells books to bookstores?
The quickest answer is no one. That’s because bookstores don’t need to buy books this way anymore. They used to have to try to guess which books were going to succeed the way a mutual fund manager picks stocks. They employed buyers who showed an ability to be right more often than they were wrong, and their profits from when they were right would more than make up for when they are wrong. Now, all a bookstore has to do is look to see what is selling on their website. So they laid off all those buyers. They can carry an infinite number of books on their site and a finite number of books on their shelves. The ones that sell best on their sites make it to their shelves. Your publisher fills orders that bookstores place, but they are not out there trying to convince bookstores to guess when they have no good reason to do so. Buyers for stores now watch trends on their sites and in their stores to determine what to order.

2) Why should I buy copies of my own book?
Simple: To sell them. You don’t have to become a slick salesperson or open your own bookstore to do so. You do need to learn how to connect to the natural audience for your book. Unless you have an audience clamoring for everything you write, you will sell more books this way than any other way, you will make money per book, and you will get it faster. And if you do it right, it is the easiest way to sell books. (Ask any of the millions of authors who have tried to push their way into bookstores.) It’s also a lot of fun because you’re spending your time among like-minded people. The more time you spend among them and the more people read your book, the more you’re seen as a leader. That increases your opportunities and the cycle continues upward to greater and greater success.

3) What should a marketing consultant do for me?
There are three things a good marketing consultant does that you can’t do for yourself:
1) Get your book in distribution – Really, this is what a publisher is for. If your consultant doesn’t work with a publisher, they may still have contacts to help you. This is what makes your book available to bookstores. In all likelihood, your book will start on their website before it is physically in a store, but it can’t rise up the list if it isn’t on their site. Tate Publishing, who I work for, does all that for our authors with every major retailer and distributor.
2) Teach you how to grow your audience – You can do this yourself, but book marketing consultants have the benefit of not only our own experience, but the experience of every author that we’ve worked with. We know the most common potholes and pitfalls to avoid. We know the things that are most likely to produce positive results. Most importantly, we know how to communicate this to you.
3) Publicize your events, your release, and your achievements – Again, you can contact the media yourself, but do you know when are the appropriate times and who are the appropriate contacts to reach? We do. We also have the tools for doing so. Contacting the media and getting interest back are two different things, but you can’t get the latter without the former. If you aren’t getting media coverage, it’s not because our team is bad. It is because you, your book, your message, and your activity are not yet noteworthy enough. That’s a sign that you need to do more or give yourself more time to grow your audience.

Most authors would rather skip all this and just be a household name selling books without much effort. I wish there was a spell or an enchantment I could utter to make that happen, but I’m not a wizard or a genie. The real world doesn’t work that way.

There will be some who will interpret things I’m saying here as blaming the author or trying to escape my responsibility or some other nonsense. It is nonsense, but it is understandable, and I don’t blame you if you feel that way. However, this isn’t a judgment on the quality of your book, your message, or you as a person. It is a reality check to let you know where you stand on the track where you’re trying to run. If you haven’t seen the book sales you want to see — and getting no reports from your publisher means you’ve had no sales — then you are closer to the starting line than the finish line, and it is time to run.

If you are an author not signed to Tate Publishing, contact us and one of our acquisitions editors will be happy to talk to you.

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Filed under bookstores, Niche Marketing, Reputation building, retail marketing

Become a source for reporters and radio hosts

I’ve been doing some research the last several months finding ways to help authors find and work their niche. I’ve spoken to other marketing reps, authors who are successful, authors who are frustrated, and I’ve read articles and blogs like crazy. As I compile this research into actionable items, I will send it to you in an email like this.

Selling books in today’s environment is challenging. To be successful, you need to stand out from the crowd. If you want to sell books like Sarah Palin, you need to make a name for yourself like Sarah Palin.

Unless you’re in line to be tapped for the next VP nomination, you’ll have to start small. However, thanks to the internet, small no longer means interviews with just the East Sticks Tribune and the Hayseed Times. There are a number of communities emerging to help people with a platform find people with something to say.

The biggest and the best is www.helpareporter.com. It used to be a facebook group called Help a Reporter Out. Their daily HARO emails let you know of reporters looking for sources on certain subjects. If you can speak to the subject and help the reporter, you are establishing yourself as an expert in the field. And how does the reporter establish your credibility? By mentioning your book, of course!

Other similar sites include www.pitchrate.com and www.reporterconnection.com.

All of these are free. They make their money selling advertisements. (My suggestion regarding these? Read them. Supporting people who are helping you is a good idea.)

There is also a similar free site for radio interviews: www.radioguestlist.com.

If you’re a fiction writer, you might be thinking, “Thanks a lot, Jim, but this doesn’t apply to me.” Think a little further. You wrote your book for a reason, right? To make some sort of point, right? You’re doing with story the same thing that nonfiction authors are doing with facts. And if nothing else, you’re a source for writing stories.

The more you get your name out, the more likely the press is to start coming to you.

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