Smorgasbord Media Training for Authors – Introduction and Opening the Door – Don’t be shy!

I have been an Indie Author for 20 years and without a massive budget behind me to get noticed, I had to push open a few doors myself. For most of it is very hard to self-promote, even for someone like myself, who have a background in public speaking at conferences and major events.

We have a tendency to think global with our marketing because we have access to the world via the Internet. But I have always sold more books, especially print books by creating a market in my local environment. When I first began marketing my books there was no Amazon, worldwide web or global readership to the same extent and we relied on local media picking up the story. This sometimes led to nationals then taking an interest. That is how it worked with my first book Size Matters and I enjoyed both local and national coverage. The same applied to my family health book – Just Food for Health that sold well at book fairs, health events and summer fetes.

Most authors that I speak to are seeking international recognition for their work and to become a bestseller. But, there is no harm in getting some much needed experience locally first, before stepping onto the worldwide stage. One reason being, that most national radio stations and media, will be looking to interview authors who have had some experience of being behind a microphone or in front of a camera.

I have interviewed hundreds of people from all walks of life on both local radio and Internet television and the vast majority of my guests have had very little experience of being in front of a microphone or a camera.  But I know that several have gone on to be interviewed on major radio stations regularly such as the BBC.

If you want to market your book you have to get over your modesty!

I have heard the expression “Oh I couldn’t possibly” almost as many times as I have had guests. Very often from people who are heading companies or organisations and who seem unaware that this is a fantastic opportunity to promote either themselves or their business.

It is a bit like a rabbit in the headlights. Position a microphone or a camera directly in front of a normally confident individual and they will freeze and become monosyllabic.

Today, if you want to succeed you need to embrace the media, develop a relationship with it and learn how to use to your best advantage.

On the other side of the coin, I find it fascinating that all the media training advice out there implies that the onus is on the interviewee to be prepared and to make sure that they have their message straight. The talk is about ‘soundbites’ and keep coming back to your message. Actually the most important aspect of this is not to bore the pants off the people listening or watching you. Yes, you need to treat this as a selling opportunity and it can be great for business but remember that ‘people buy people first’ and if that initial reaction is not there then however carefully you have prepared your ‘soundbites’ your audience will have either switched off or taken a dislike to you and therefore your product.

With mainstream radio and television your interview is likely to be because you are an expert in your field or have accomplished something significant that is worth a mention to the nation or to a large localised area. You are unlikely to get more than 2 minutes 40 seconds on television or 5 to 7 minutes on radio. However, as the number of Internet television stations grows and with the excellent service provided by community radio you may find yourself as a regular guest for longer interviews providing an ongoing marketing opportunity.

The best length for an author interview is ten minutes and needs to be well prepared to make sure that your message is conveyed effectively… Which is; my book is well written, well researched, has great characters and story and is definitely worth you buying it. With time to get the where and how in at the end.

This media training programme is about developing your particular media style that can be adapted for radio or television and it also develops another skill which is essential if you are to win over the hearts and minds of journalists and presenters – the ability to edit whatever you are talking about into articulate, interesting and succinct information that keeps the audience riveted to their seats.

First though – how to you come to the attention of the media?

Kelli Brett – The Main Ingredient and also Editor Cuisine Magazine in New Zealand –


My radio career began because I had written a book and took it into the local English speaking station in Marbella intending to drop it off with a note asking if they might like to interview me at some stage. The lead presenter and producer Kelli Brett had come out of the studio because her next guest had not turned up, and when she heard me talking to the receptionist she whisked me away to take the vacant slot.

I never looked back and in fact I ended up not only with a weekly health segment but also was able to utilise my writing talents as producer of the short story series that ran for three years.  Kelli taught me a great deal about radio presenting and I have a great deal to thank her for.  Not only that, because I was on radio, I was able to promote Moyhill Publishing, that was just coming into being at that time and it brought several local authors to our doors.

It was the same in the UK – I had just published Just Food for Health, and posted it out to the local stations. Adrian Knight who was then presenting Drive Time on Expressfm in Portsmouth called me up and asked me on as a guest. Before I could say I was not that sort of girl I was co-presenting Drive Time twice a week – had my own Thursday afternoon show and the Sunday morning show.

You may also have a specialist knowledge that a radio station in particular would consider worth using on a regular basis such as a lawyer, doctor, alternative health practitioner, teacher, drama critic, astrologer.  And if you have written a book on the subject this an excellent way to market it.. Regular presenters get their own page on a radio station’s website and is another opportunity to present your book or books.

This applies in not just Ireland and the UK but where you live… Radio stations in your area will include a number of online productions that are looking for good content.

The key to getting their attention is in using a method that will not be dismissed, binned or deleted and you will need to do some homework in advance to make sure you are directing your approach to the right person and that when they receive it they feel that they want to take it further.

If you are an author with a new book, then you will be sending out a press release to all media in the area, but you need to remember that radio and television stations receive hundreds of emails with requests for coverage and this first point of contact is vitally important.

Remember what I said in the introduction – People buy people first and this is a sales pitch. As such it needs an opening – middle information piece and a close. I was a sales trainer for many years and you will be pleased to hear that the philosophy behind selling has not changed one iota despite the fact that we have so many new delivery methods for the pitch.

This is where sending an email containing a professional looking press release addressed to the most appropriate contacts at the radio station will help. But probably the most effective is dropping off a copy of your book with a well written biography to the reception desk of a station addressed to either the prestent to interviews authors or the station director.


Tomorrow I will be covering the press release that you can send out to your local newspapers to create news about your new book. And also a copy of my writing and broadcast CV which is different from my work orientated version.

Thanks for dropping by and look forward to your feedback. Sally

©Media Training the Manual 2009

45 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Media Training for Authors – Introduction and Opening the Door – Don’t be shy!

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  2. This was quite an eye-opener to me, Sally. when people appear confident, then that instils
    others to have confidence in them and their work. It cannot be easy though, and must take quite a bit of practice! I am looking forward to learning more from tomorrow’s post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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  5. Sal, this is fabulous! Thanks for sharing your expertise with us! What serendipity to be dropping off your book and be whisked right into an interview! An author’s dream for sure. I’m looking forward to more on this! ❤ xo

    Liked by 1 person

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