You Want Me To Do WHAT? OR, Meeting Your Public

So we all know the deal these days. Whether your début novel is published by one of the Big Names and sails into the best seller charts, or whether you’re trying to sell copies of your self-published book to anyone besides your neighbour, aunt and grandma, you need to promote yourself and your work. And for most writers, the onus is on them to contact local papers and radio, tweet, set up a Facebook Page, blog, link, vlog about their writing journey, do guest posts about what their study looks like, share links to their Pinterest account, get LinkedIn… and generally put themselves about a bit.

If you want advice about how to promote your book, look no further than ‘self-confessed media tart’ Jane Wenham-Jones’ book, Wannabe A Writer We’ve Heard Of her brilliant follow up to Wannabe A Writer. You can find info about them both on the link.

But say, after urging from your publisher and/or advice from Jane W-J, you now find yourself in front of a crowd at a village hall, in front of a pile of books at your local book store, or in the studio of a local radio station wearing big headphones, with the producer counting down to your cue while sweat pools in between your shoulder blades? Few of us come purpose-built to deal with those situations gracefully and productively. That’s where Skillsstudio could come in handy. They offer corporate, group and one-to one coaching on presentation skills, public speaking, communication skills, voice training, interview skills and media training, plus e-learning, and their website offers some great tips. As radio interviews are often the first media-facing exercise writers have to endure, those are the Skillstudio tips I thought I’d summarise and share.

Tips for Radio Interviews
When you are interviewed on radio you have an incredibly short amount of time to make an impact.  So it’s important that you don’t waste a second or mess up – as you probably won’t have time to recover from a mistake.”

Definitely true. A good friend of mine was suddenly told she would be interviewed on the radio, via telephone, about the services provided by the family centre she ran. I tuned in and listened while she pelleted poor Barbara Sturgeon of Radio Kent with a super-speed burst of facts. Barbara had no chance of getting a word in edgeways and was falling about laughing by the time my hapless friend finished. It was certainly a memorable first radio interview, but not a good one. Her message wasn’t clear because she rushed – hence Studioskills golden rules:

  • use the time before an interview to focus on what the presenter is saying beforehand.  You may pick up some useful background information or context that you can use in your responses.
  • Speak in short sentences – one thought per sentence.
  • Take time over the first three words of the sentence – so that you don’t rush into the sentence.
  • Don’t rush any syllables – make sure each syllable in the word is pronounced
  • Don’t butt in to the question – wait for the presenter to finish asking the question before you respond
  • Focus on understanding the question, rather than rehearsing your response in your head
  • Buy yourself time at the start of your response with a phrase such as “that’s a very interesting question” – if you need time to think about how to start your answer
  • Tell a story – if you imagine each of your responses are a short story – this will automatically inject more energy and expression into your voice
  • Emphasise important words – these are the key words that make up the essence of your sentences and will help you to sound more convincing
  • Smile – when you smile your voice smiles and it comes across more appealing and personable to the listeners. 

If you want more tips about how to face your admiring public with confidence, pop over to Skillstudio and take a look. And next time one of your loved ones is short of a present idea, why not ask them to buy you a course? Especially as at the moment, if yours is a personal booking, you can get 25% off the advertised prices – just include the promotional code PERSONAL when completing the online booking form. You must also pay for the course within 5 days of making the booking.

Now… first question… where did you get the idea for your book? Don’t rush your answer! 😀