Eight essential radio interview tips for self-published authors

If you’re considering how to market your self published book, you are no doubt thinking of approaching radio stations. This is a great option, especially for authors of nonfiction self published work, as radio programs vary from broad interest talk shows to those targeting very specialized niches. So even if you’ve written on a narrow topic, you may well find the perfect audience on the airwaves. But what happens when you finally land that interview? If you don’t have on-air experience, the thought of doing a radio interview can be daunting. Below, media trainer Rich Zeoli weighs in with some tips for on-air interviews for self published authors facing their first radio appearances.

By Rich Zeoli

1. While on radio, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that thousands of people might be listening to you speak, but ignore that and speak directly to the host. Have a conversation with the host, and approach it no differently than if the conversation were over a cup of coffee at your local diner. In other words, get over the idea that you are “on radio.”

2. Don’t be afraid to use the host’s first name. This will give a more natural feel to the interview. Try answering a question about your book like “Well Jim, that’s a good question and I would say…”

3. Offer something of value. Remember that nobody is really interested in you — they are interested in what you can do for them. So offer them something of value during the interview. Give away a tip or a story found in the book to let your audience in on the secret. The less an audience thinks of you as an author looking to sell something and more as an expert with something to offer, the more successful you will be.

4. Be yourself. So many people go on radio trying to sound like a “radio personality,” whatever that means. But the audience can spot a phony a mile away. Just be yourself. Use your own voice, and speak from the heart. Don’t try to use big words to impress anyone, and don’t try to be unusually friendly or energetic unless that is part of your natural personality.

5. When you make a mistake on the air (notice I didn’t say if), just keep going. The beauty of doing a radio interview is that it is in the moment. It’s basic human conversation at its best without the flashing lights and pictures of TV. So if you trip on a word or use the wrong word, don’t let it throw you off. Chances are the audience didn’t even notice (unless you are running for national political office, of course!).

6. Use a landline if at all possible. I keep an old-fashioned landline in my house even though I rarely use it. It’s there for my radio interviews. Cell phones lose reception and VOIP service will go out in the case of a power outage. So if you think you are going to be doing more than one or two radio interviews, invest in a good old landline.

7. Get a copy of the show. Ask the host or producer if they can provide you a copy of the program. Then post that podcast on your website, tweet it, Facebook it, LinkedIn it, the whole nine yards!

8. Have fun. If you aren’t having fun, what’s the point? So enjoy the moment and be in the moment. Good luck!

Rich Zeoli is Founder and President of RZC Impact, an executive communications firm with areas of expertise in media training and author of is the author of “The Seven Principles of Public Speaking: Proven Methods From a PR Professional.” He is the official media trainer for Smith Publicity, a leading book promotion firm with offices in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles and London.

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