Smorgasbord Media Training for authors – Radio or Podcast Interviews.. Gold dust – Get prepared.

I have had a number of emails recently about getting interviews on local radio or the growing trend for podcasts.  So I am going to be sharing some of the posts from my booklet Media Training.  I used as part of training courses that I ran with my video production company where we would take business people, charity administrators and authors through live radio and on camera interviews.  The course also covered how to construct a press release and to create a local market for any new product including books.

Over the next few weekends I shall be sharing a number of chapters from the book.

Some of the posts first appeared in 2015.. but since I am planning on starting author interviews as podcasts in the New Year.. I thought it was time to air them again.  Put your name in the comments if you would like to be a guest

This week how to prepare for your live or recorded interview.

Wonderful news, your hard work in promoting your new book on social media and locally has paid off and you get the call or email. An invitation to do an interview on a radio station, television show or author promoting podcast.

Getting an interview on a radio show or an established author podcast is gold dust for an author and as such requires you to take a deep breath and celebrate. Millions of Indies out there would love the opportunity to get their voice heard about their work so give this serious thought.

Usually the request will come in by email rather than over the phone as it depends on what you have put down as your contact details. To be honest I do not put my phone details on any of my own press releases or social media. Even though I have been on the other side of the microphone or camera as the interviewer, I also like the opportunity to check the show, station or podcast out first.

99% of the time they are totally legit and a great place to promote your book but on the off chance that you have been invited onto the Naked Author, you might want to just take a pause before leaping in.

‘Live… You mean I have to talk to thousands of people… Live!!!!’

Not all shows are recorded and in fact my radio shows and Internet television interviews were nearly all live.

These days many stations both radio and television are nervous about the spontaneous nature of some guests in relation to expletives, non- PC remarks etc and whilst there are some filters available they are not prepared to take the risk so pre-record.

I love live interviews and whilst I might make sure my guests are well primed before the microphone is switched on there have been moments……

However, live or recorded, provided you are reassured that you will not be sitting naked on a sofa during the interview or on a podcast or show that makes you personally uncomfortable… Dive in and enjoy the experience.

And as you do so remember that every minute you are on air is FREE advertising that usually costs hundreds if not thousands for every 10 second segment.

And to make the most of this opportunity you need to prepare.

First get in the right frame of mind.

This is about you and your book. It is a chance to talk about the writing process, the research, the characters, the plot, your background, your future projects, your other writing such as your blog, how to buy the book, how to connect with you etc.

So there are nine topics for conversation already and you have an interview time of between two minutes on prime time to the luxury of fifteen to twenty minutes on local radio stations or podcasts.

Here is how it would go on one of the interviews that I would air with an author. It is a two way process and this is what I would expect from my guest to ensure that not only do the listeners get the best from the segment but that the author also achieves what they need. I was lucky as I had the luxury of around 12 minutes minimum for an interview with my guests and sometimes if we had a lot to cover I would stretch that by incremental segments of 12 minutes broken up my music.

The interview

Me on the radio  – my happy place.

I have always enjoyed doing my own research on my guests so that I know who I am going to be talking to and the topics that I feel are important to cover during the interview. However, bless the guest who has given the matter some considerable thought and come up with key points that they feel should be discussed.

This is important as you have a small window of opportunity and if you are to get the full value from it you need to contribute to the process.

When you are invited for an interview on radio you will need to establish how long your interview will be for.

Depending on the length of time you are allotted you should focus on three to five key points for discussion about you and your book.

I like to be as prepared as my guests and if they are an author I always read their book in advance of the interview and prepare my questions. Some presenters have their own researchers and so will be working from questions prepared by them. Do not be afraid to ask if they might let you have the questions in advance. Then if they do not cover what you consider to be the key points about your book or yourself you can return to them with the addition of further questions.

I usually ask my guests to submit their key points to me by email the week before the interview and this gives me a chance to incorporate into my own research.

I have always believed that a well prepared interview is good for me, my guest and the audience. I am not an investigative journalist and my aim is not to ambush my guests but make sure that they are as comfortable as possible about the process and that they are not sitting there waiting for some horrendous question from left field.

When my guests arrive I always have a brief chat beforehand and outline the topics I will be covering – theirs and my own so that even if there are some further additional items to be included they have a chance to prepare for them.

If the person who is your interviewer does not offer this, then do ask if you might spend a couple of minutes before you sit down to ensure that THEY have everything THEY need for the programme!

People buy People first, I will always do a brief introduction to my guest but will also ask some general, personal and informational questions to both put them at ease and to also build a connection with either the listeners or viewers. Be prepared by putting together a short bio at the beginning of your topics that you do not mind other people knowing – where you were born – being local or living in the area a long time can be important – what you do for a living – etc. I would then introduce the topic of the book – the title and a brief sentence about the contents.

Then into questions about you and your book.

Of course every book will have specific key questions and that is for you the author to identify and communicate before the interview. It also gives you an opportunity to prepare the answers. Not that it comes across well if you sound as though you are reading them off, but practice them in advance and you can always give yourself some key words written down that you want to make sure you include for each question.

You will have had my questions about your book as well and this should provide ample content for a well thought out and informative interview.

Something to think about.

  1. Before going on the specific show listen to it several times to get a feel of the type of interview, length and also the presenter’s questioning style.
  2. Bring some index cards with your key points highlighted and any questions that you have practiced with.
  3. If given the choice of telephone interview or in the studio opt for the studio. The interview is likely to be longer and you will find you can be more relaxed and are more likely to make an impression on your presenter. Also in my experience it is harder for the presenter to ask you really tough questions when you are not at the end of the telephone and are looking them squarely in the eye.
  4. You would never send out an email or a manuscript without editing and spell checking (one hopes) and similarly you can rehearse and record your interview if you are really interested in hearing what you sound like in advance. Whilst there are no visual clues on the radio as to your personality you will be surprised what a difference it makes to your delivery if you are smiling. Of course if you are talking about death and destruction a certain amount of solemnity is required but generally sounding upbeat and lively will win over the hearts and minds of your listeners.
  5. When in the studio do remember that sometimes the microphone may stay live. There will be a red light by the door which will confirm that one microphone is up at any given time and as you will be sitting close to the presenter you need to be careful of asides that might be inappropriate.
  6. Always ask where the best place to sit is in relation to the microphone, some are very sensitive and you need to remember this if you are going to emphasis a point by raising your voice.
  7. You will be asked to do a sound check if the microphone has not already been set. It is customary to do a quick introduction to yourself and keep talking until told to stop. I usually ask my guests what they had for dinner last night….
  8. The one letter of the alphabet that might catch you out is the “P” – it can pop. Practice any words that start with it.
  9. Make sure that you give a point of contact, most presenters will ask you for a website or a place that people can contact you or ask for listeners to do so through the station. Give those on a card to the interviewer before you start and keep a copy for yourself.
  10. As an author you might consider giving a copy or even three as a prize – radio stations love freebies to give away. If in E-version then free downloads.
  11. If you are doing a telephone interview externally, make sure that you have turned off your own radio – use a landline and switch off your mobile phone. Have the number of the studio to hand in case you are cut off.
  12. Most stations and podcasts will put the interview online and you can ask for that link to be sent to you when it is uploaded. A very valuable addition to your marketing portfolio and should be networked through your blog and social media sites.
  13. Most important.. Where can the listeners buy your book, after all that is why you are here.. YES

Next Saturday – an interview live on camera! Oh my..

©SallyGeorginaCronin – Media Training 2012

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have found useful… I look forward to your feedback.. Don’t forget if you would like to be a guest on my interviews in the New Year please leave your name in the comments.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Book Reading and Interview – Join the Guest List

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

It is hard to believe that we are now four months into the year and the book reading and interview at the cafe has been going very well. I am delighted that so many people are interested in answering their own questions instead of just leaving it to me.

You can find all the previous book readings here from some wonderful authors.

I am now booking a month ahead and getting ready to send out the next phase of interview questions. If you are in the Cafe and Bookstore then please just email me on and let me know that you are interested.

If you are not already on the shelves of the bookstore you will find details below on what I need to provide you with the promotion to get you there.

Author Book Reading and Interview.

If this was a real cafe and bookstore I would set up regular book readings and interviews with the authors on the shelves.. But they is no reason why we cannot do that here.. The only thing missing of course is the customers who would be listening to the reading and asking questions of the author.

But I have that covered.

Here is how it works…

The author will answer three of my general questions. They will also select a short extract from their book to share in the post. I will then ask three personalised questions.

I will then do the introduction, the book blurb, about the author and the book links.

Then I will ask those who read the interview to add their questions to the comments section of the post for the author to answer.

This way we do manage to get some interaction, a wide range of questions and a chance to meet the author is a slightly different way.  So far this theme has proved very popular

First and foremost — the authors must be willing and able to be around on the day or next day of the interview to answer the questions. Most authors pop in once or twice during the evening for the next couple of days to respond to questions and comments. B

For those of you who are not already in the bookstore.


If you are not on the shelves then that is easy to fix.. I will do an individual promotion for you first and the details are in this post.

Look forward to hearing from you… Thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Open House – Meet author Christoph Fischer

Smorgasbord Open House

Welcome to the Open House and I am sure that many of you will already be familiar with my guest today, author and blogger Christoph Fischer


I will of course be showcasing Christoph’s latest book Ludwika – A Polish Woman’s Struggle To Survive In Nazi Germany, but first a brief overview of Christoph’s life, his books and his blog here on WordPress.

Christoph Fischer is the best-selling author of many books that have received outstanding reviews. These include The Luck of the Weissensteiners, The Healer, Conditions and the sequel Conditioned.

Christoph relocated to Wales last year and has taken to the culture and his new surroundings like a duck to water.. Well it is Wales and if I remember rightly from my years there… It has quite a bit of rain. This year sees the start of a brand new project for Christoph and one I am sure will be very popular with Welsh authors. The Llandeilo Book Fair with details later in the post.

Christoph was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives with his partner and beloved labradoodles in a small town in West Wales.

He enjoyed a fascinating career which involved working for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. Christoph is now firmly established as an author with books such as ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ which was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013 and ‘The Black Eagle Inn’ in October 2013 – which completes his ‘Three Nations Trilogy’. “Time to Let Go”, his first contemporary work was published in May 2014, and “Conditions”, another contemporary novel, in October 2014. His medical thriller “The Healer” was released in January 2015, his latest historical novel “In Search of a Revolution” in March 2015 and the thriller “The Gamblers” in June 2015 and Conditioned in October 2015.


With the move to Wales comes the opportunity to celebrate the amazing scenery and the literary talent that has always been a part of this countries proud heritage.

Christoph’s love of history is also celebrated on Saturdays with his interviews of historical novelists and here is this week’s post.

You will also find book reviews:

About Christoph’s latest book. Ludwika – A Polish Woman’s Struggle To Survive In Nazi Germany

51fcNSoEH7L._UY250_It’s World War II and Ludwika Gierz, a young Polish woman, is forced to leave her family and go to Nazi Germany to work for an SS officer. There, she must walk a tightrope, learning to live as a second-class citizen in a world where one wrong word could spell disaster and every day could be her last. Based on real events, this is a story of hope amid despair, of love amid loss . . . ultimately, it’s one woman’s story of survival.

What the readers are saying:

It’s so important for us to all be reminded of the horrible events of WW2 and this story made one feel … By Beverly Couch on February 4, 2016

I was totally captivated by this story and couldn’t put it down. It’s so important for us to all be reminded of the horrible events of WW2 and this story made one feel like you were right there! Very awesome story!!!

Intriguing perspective By Sarah on February 1, 2016

I’ve read a lot of historical fiction books and I’ve never read one from the non Jew Polish perspective. It really makes you realize just how many peoples lives were affected and the aftermath. People just didn’t go back to living their lives normally when it was over. Very good read.

Polish point of view during the war was very interesting By beach gooses on January 31, 2016

Could not put this book down. It had me crying then smiling. Since I am from Polish decent, it was very interesting to see the war from the Polish side of things. Most books only give the Jewish side.

A selection of other books by Christoph Fischer

lrg poster horiz (1)

Buy all of Christoph’s books: Amazon:

Now time to hand over to Christoph for his answers to the four questions he has chosen and some news of his latest work in progress.

What genre do you read and your favourite authors?
You’ll regret asking a book lover that question:

I love reading historical fiction or novels set in different cultures the most. Books are a great way to learn and to glimpse into another world. For that I like them to be based in reality. Novels by Khaled Hosseini, Tan Twan Eng, Judith Barrow, Gregory David Roberts, Miriam Drori and Mary Smith had all a huge impact on me because they showed me lives so different to my own, yet they made me feel I was living in those times and places.
For a similar reason biographies can be really fascinating. Some of my favourite writers are Sarah Jane Butfield and Frank Kusy, who wrote about their lives in various countries and professions.

Serious writers, such as Lionel Shriver, Uvi Poznansky, Tom Winton, Lesley Hayes, Dermot Davis, Brett Easton Ellis, Richard Yates and Christos Tsiolkas also keep me hooked. I love their great characters with bite and contradictions.

I’ve taken the odd plunge into fantasy, horror or science fiction but prefer action and comedies when it comes to light-hearted entertainment. I can recommend Tom Sharpe, Ian Hutson and Aaron David for that.

Sorry for this long answer. You see, I’m very passionate about books.

Which is your favourite leisure pastime?


Spending so much time in front of the computer, I would have to say it is running or hiking in the countryside, preferably with my dogs. There is nothing better than a complete break from IT and networks and being part of unspoilt nature. I’m very lucky to live in sparsely populated West Wales, where you have an abundance of hills and wonderfully green landscape.

As an author and if one of your books was selected to be made into a film; who would you like to play your main character and why?

I currently have a soft spot for Ruth Wilson, who was phenomenal in both, “The Affair” and “Luther”. I could see her easily as Greta in “The Luck of the Weissensteiners”, where she would play an idealistic, warm-hearted woman coming to terms with the harsh reality of being Jewish in Slovakia during WW2.

Ruth Wilson can appear naïve and cunning and express much without having to say anything. In fact, she would also be perfect for “Ludwika”, a young Polish woman who struggles to survive as slave worker in Nazi Germany. Although quite different in character to Greta, the two roles would have some similar traits.

I’d give Ruth even one more part: that of Erica Whittaker in my thriller “The Healer” where she would have to play a sceptic approaching a faith healer as last attempt to beat cancer. She could carry off the despair and effortlessly deliver the cynical and biting dialogue.

Which four famous guests would you ask to a dinner party and why?

I’m very torn between a dinner party where I can meet very interesting people and one that would bring politicians together to solve a concrete problem, such as the Syrian refugee crisis or Tibet. If the latter, it would be Hilary Clinton, Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin for the power and The Dalai Lama for the right spirit.

For a good conversation I would like to invite Keanu Reeves (he’s posted some pretty inspiring stuff on social media), Susan Sarandon (very intelligent and charming), Tristram Hunt (UK politician whom I admire for his eloquence and education) and Lionel Shriver (I met her at an author event and she had excellent answers to all questions)…
…the list could go on and on….

What are your current projects?:

I’ve just completed a large giveaway for my newest novel, Ludwika and am still in the middle of the initial publicity rush.

Halina and Ludwika

                        Halina and Ludwika

The story is based on a real person and we’re trying to re-connect separated branches of Ludwika’s family in the Uk and Poland. Beyond that, I’m currently organising a book fair in Llandeilo on April 30th.

images (27)It’s time that we come away from the all-in-one concept of London- and Amazon-centricity and return to the real world and our local ambience.

I’ve invited a broad selection of Welsh authors to come together and showcase their talent. Llandeilo has a rich art scene and frequently hosts Jazz and other festivals. It’s an inviting and beautiful location and the residents have responded with great enthusiasm to my plans so far.

images (26)The line-up of authors includes some fabulous talent and I can’t wait to meet them in person after having interviewed so many of them on my blog.

The Facebook Page for the Fair is

My thanks to Christoph for such a great response and we all look forward to hearing reports of the Llandeilo Book Fair which I am sure will become a very popular annual fixture.

Links to connect with Christoph and buy his books.

Google +:

Thank you so much for dropping in to the Open House and if you would like to be a guest and showcase your books, art, music here then please contact me on and I will send you the link to the questions.

I would be very grateful for your feedback and of course if you could share on your own networks.. Have a great Sunday.. thanks again Sally