• Radio Publicity For an Author

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    On Radio InterviewsIn August 2008 I published my first memoir, Freedom’s Just Another Word, and it was time to get the word out about my book.  I did what I usually do – I went to the library and did some homework on publicity.  Sure, we’d all love to be on Oprah, and we’d all love to win the lottery, and the odds on both are about the same.  My research confirmed that TV was hard to get and came along rarely.

    So I looked at radio.  There were a lot of advantages to it.  You could do an interview from home, and there was potential for a lot of exposure.  How to get a radio interview?  As I studied, there were a lot of options suggested.   You could take out an ad in a magazine read by the industry,  or you could hire a service to book interviews for you.  I gave them all a serious look.

    Then my first radio interview happened by surprise.  I sent out emails to a lot of friends telling them my book had been published.  One wrote back and said he was now living in Palm Springs California, had a radio show, and wondered if I’d like to join he and a co-host to talk about my book?  Well of course!  We set up an interview.

    It was great practice, since I knew one of the hosts well, and we had a great discussion for about 35 minutes.  It was the beginning of my learning curve.  First, radio hosts are of varying quality.  Some good, some not so much.  It helps to have talking points before the show.  What am I there for? To interest people in my book enough to have them want to read it.  So it is important to pick a couple of key points in the book and be prepared to discuss them.  But you don’t want to give away the whole book, so it’s helpful to know what not to share.

    I first tried to get interviews by taking out an ad in a magazine for the industry called Radio and TV Interview Report (RTIR).  It was moderately successful, but I had to follow up on the contacts and schedule the interviews.  I did most of the work myself.  I did have one man who interviewed me offer his services to help me craft my pitch.  We spent several hours on the phone as he worked through the key elements of my book.  However, the pitch points he suggested were so analytical and sounded so artificial that I never used them on air.

    Next I tried an interview service.  Sad to say it was a huge disappointment, and a big part of my learning curve.  They took over six months to secure me the guaranteed six interviews, and the reach of the stations I interviewed with was poor.  What I did get was time with a marketing expert to help me craft how I presented my book! That session was vital in helping me determine the key points of my book and how to present them effectively.

    As I have developed a network of author friends through the social media, I’ve gotten a number of interviews through referrals. I also branched out and recorded some inspirational radio segments, and am currently a co-host of a radio show.

    Radio is a lot of fun! You never know what you might get asked.  The best question for me was from a guy in upstate New York.  “I’ve always wanted to ask someone from Texas about this. How do you think the Dallas police handled the Kennedy assassination?”  Talk about fielding a question from out of left field!  I replied, “Since I was 13 years old at the time, and living in New Mexico, I don’t know much about that.  About my book …”

    The best curve I got during an interview was so good I ended up recording a video about the experience. A very good interviewer helped me see an aspect of my memoir I’d never fully appreciated:




    Once you publish a book, you have to let people know about it.  Interviews force you to think on your feet, hone your presentation of the book you’ve written, and gain exposure for you as a writer.  Radio is a great and effective way to accomplish that.



    Lost creativity and the effects of family alcoholism are just two of the elements of the story Dan L. Hays explores in his first published book, Freedom’s Just Another Word, which chronicles events around the time of his father’s death. It is the first of a cycle of seven books about healing old wounds with his father. That cycle will culminate with Nothing Left to Lose, written in 1993, about a critical turning point in his father’s life, depicted from a perspective of forgiveness and admiration.

    Dan has been pursuing his craft for more than 25 years. His passion has always been writing, but he had a writing block that he could not understand for many years. He wrote two books that publishers were interested in, but he backed away and the books were never published.

    Read more of Dan’s work on his blog and at Life as a Human, or follow his various radio features.  You can also catch him on Twitter and Facebook.


    Discussion Question: Do you listen to radio interviews with writers? Let us know about some of your favorite writing-related radio shows below.


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