8 Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make Marketing Your Book With Radio Interviews

Marketing your book is hard, especially if you’re introverted.

You’ve got to take a step and put yourself out there for the world to see.  Don’t worry, you can do this.

A great way to market your book is through radio.  Trust me, it’ll be worth getting over your dislike for hearing your own voice.

But if you’re an author going in for your first radio interview, you might be more than a little nervous.  Here is a list of what NOT to do so you can be prepared for everything to go just right.


1) Talk about yourself too much.

Yes, you’ve scored the radio interview, but chances are you’ve gotten that interview because the radio station thought you had something valuable to say to their audience.

Spend some time imaging what you’d sound like from your audience’s shoes.  Be someone that you’d want to listen to.

2) Assume the host and/or audience has read your book.  Let’s face it, people are busy.  You’re very close to your book, so this may be difficult, but you need to present your story from the ground up (especially if you write fantasy, like me.)  People probably don’t know what Alicorns are, and your average individual probably doesn’t know how horses communicate, either.  That’s a huge part of Chase’s story, so I tried to explain it like I would to someone listening who doesn’t know anything about horses.

It’s also likely that your audience is going to value nonfiction over fiction.  Which means we creative storytellers have to get even more creative.

Did you prepare your publication story for your press release?  Now’s the time to ressurect that.  YOUR story is just as important as the story behind the book.  Even if your audience doesn’t like fantasy, or romance, or sci-fi, or steam punk… (you get the idea), you could still capture their attention with who YOU are.

3) Not paying attention to the question.  Confession, this happened to me.  If it happens to you, spare yourself some humiliation and just fess up.  It’s okay to ask for clarity to help you get back on track.  Try to keep yourself as distraction free as possible, and visualize yourself staying engaged.

4) Getting defensive.  Please, don’t do it.  Hopefully your host won’t ask anything that will get under your skin, but it could happen.  Remember, you are a professional, and you’re representing this book and all your books in the future.  It’s possible to be respectful and make a stand for what you believe in at the same time.

5) Forgetting to refer listeners to a place where they can keep in touch with you.  I can’t stress this enough.  You’re getting the chance to broadcast yourself and your book to people you don’t know.  Make sure you’ve got your email list set up ahead of time so you can send your listeners there to connect with you!  Facebook and Twitter connections are worth mentioning, but the email list is truly what counts.

6) Using speakerphone on a phone interview.  Use a land line, if you can, so you don’t have to worry about sketchy cell service, either.  Make sure you’re giving the interview your full attention.  It could be incredibly embarrassing if you got distracted, especially if your phone interview is live on the air.

It’s also important to hook your “phoners” (phone interviews) with the first few words that come out of your mouth.  Think of it as the first line of your book.  Someone can tell from the first words you say (or read) whether you’re worth their time.  This is another reason to call with a great phone connection.  You don’t want to give the radio host a reason to cut your interview short.

7) Taking the first option that’s offered to you.  Don’t be afraid to explore, and make sure you take your time to listen to the radio station some before you ask for an interview.  Think of it as studying an agent before you send in your manuscript for consideration.  You should know your stuff.

8) Calling to try and get an interview.  Most radio stations function best off of email.  My first radio interview happened completely through email.  Don’t bother calling unless you’re planning to go in for an in-person interview.  It could be worth your time to be extra kind to the secretary.  That could make or break your chance for an interview.  A receptionist can also give you the exact contact information for the producer of the show you want to interview with.  After all, you’ve done your homework, right?

As a little something extra, consider perusing the Public Radio Exchange website.  It’s the podcast home for public radio, and you might find someone there you’d like to interview with.

As a little something EXTRA extra…  Here’s my first radio interview.  Yes, I warned you, I did have a moment where I forgot one of the questions. But it all worked out!


  • Shelley Wilson

    Thanks for sharing, Sydney. I’m due to appear on a radio show next week and have been stressing about it. I suddenly feel much calmer – thanks 🙂

    • Yay! Glad you found it helpful. Let me know if you get a recording of your radio spot! I’d love to hear it.

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