Be your own best advocate. ~~Michael J. Coffino
via the Audio Interview
By Michael J. Coffino
Book promotion is relentlessly exhausting. That is especially true when it comes to a campaign of radio interviews and podcasts. Whether the return on book sales from audio interviews is worth the time and money they command is often debated. But that aside, they are exciting and intrinsically rewarding. If you are tempted to do them, here is a ten-point blueprint to consider.
First, don’t fear the host! They’ve agreed to interview you because they like what you’ve written or what they’ve read about you and your work. They want to promote your book. It promotes their show as well.
Second, unless told otherwise, assume your host has not read all or any of your book.
Third, you won’t generally receive questions in advance. While most questions will be in your sweet spot—about you and your book—prepare with anticipated questions and answers. For fiction at least, here are common queries:
- How did you get started as a writer?
- Is your writing art or craft or a combination?
- What inspired you to write the book?
- What process did you follow, including research?
- How did you select the title and what does it mean to you?
- How did you personally relate to the main character(s)?
- How much of the book is autobiographical?
- What were the difficult and fun parts of writing the book?
- What key take away do you hope readers have?
- What did you learn from writing the book?
- What were your goals for the book did you achieve them?
- What is your writing routine?
- How do you find inspiration to write?
- Who are your favorite writers—and why?
- What advice do you have for beginning writers?
- How can readers keep up with your writing?
- What are you working on now or what is next for you?
Fourth, prepare for questions you don’t except but have anxiety about, e.g., anything arguably controversial. You may not get any, but if you do, have a sense of how to handle.
Fifth, be armed with promotional sound bites to intersperse into the dialogue when the moment strikes you. Be your own best advocate.
Sixth, be yourself, using a conversationalist style. Having the host and their audience like you is a form of promotion and brand building.
Seventh, without being mawkish, compliment your interviewer when possible, e.g., “That is such a provocative question.”
Eighth, be open to new nuances about your work. Interviewers might surprise you with different angles, e.g., about a subtext you haven’t paid much mind to. Don’t fight it; affirm and run with it.
Ninth, have a ready social media plan for exploiting interview content, e.g., pull quotes from the Q&A. Don’t rely entirely on the program’s audience reach for impact.
Tenth, most of all, have fun. While you should generally be mindful of how you phrase things, enjoy the give and take. Delightful banter will render the experience worthwhile of itself.
Michael Coffino is the Author of the Month for August at Koehler Books. Michael became a professional writer and editor after decades as a trial attorney and legal writing instructor and high school basketball coach. His legal and coaching careers put him in numerous leadership and management roles, including sitting on and giving advice to boards of directors.
A reader suggested I share these two links. The first, from the Author’s Guild, is about economic relief.
The second is about freelancing opportunities. There are many of these available on the web and I am providing the information but do not know enough about the site to recommend it. If you find either of these useful, please let me know. If you don’t think they belong here, please tell me why. Many thanks.
Short Stories as Promotion?
Valerie Allen Provides Case Study
for Promoting Creative Writing
Interview by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
The word “influencer” may be overused so I tend to avoid it. But my online friend Valerie Allen embodies the truest meaning of the word. I know her from her work producing writers’ conferences and book fairs in Florida, but I recently noticed that she is doing a lot for creative writing, specifically short stories. I saw that she is creating her own anthologies and short story collections and help other writers do the same.
I once published under a now-defunct Amazon program called “shorts” and loved it, so I wondered how these single-story were doing. I wondered if she found them effective. So, I bombarded her with questions and here are some things she told me.
I’ve written 50+ short stories (all under 2000 words). I have five short story anthologies , about 150 pgs. each, and have published them as books retailing at $7.99. The ebooks are $2.99. I issue many in large print. Three are in audio. They are:
- . ‘Tis Herself: Short Story Collection Volume One .
- . ‘Tis Herself: Short Story Collection Volume Two.
- . ‘Tis Herself: Short Story Collection Volume Three
- . A Gift for Mom
- . Stories for the Man in Your Life
The last two are individual stories just for moms and men. I pulled them from the first three anthologies listed above.
Valerie knows I believe in many aspects of recycling to maximize our effectiveness as authors!)
I Indie publish all of my work via KDP as books, large print books, ebooks, and I use ACX. I hate initialism so I am going to tell you what that is, even if you already know. It is the audiobook production service and rights marketplace owned and controlled by Audible, Inc. and available at www.acx.com.
I also publish all my short stories separately as ebooks for only .99 cents each.
I like FREE and use it to build readership, fans, and followers which leads to sales. I post a single short story for FREE for various holidays, especially Christmas. I also have a Big Birthday Book Bash for my July 20th birthday each year when all my books and short stories are FREE for the five days allowed by Amazon’s Select program. I also post a different short story once a month FREE on StoryStar.com, I now have over 1000 readers and have won Story Star of the Week and of the Day several times.
I post a short story each Friday as “Your weekend quick short story, read” with the link to buy from Amazon. Amazon lists these short stories as “Single Authors Short Stories” and “15-Minute Literature & Fiction Short Reads.” I do not offer my short stories in anthologies that are published by others but if one with a following like Chicken Soup worked for a story, I’d do it for the credibility.
I’ve built a big following via my short stories and this has lead to an increase in sales of all of my work. It has also increased traffic to my authors organization, AuthorsForAuthors.com. GoDaddy notified me that we are consistently at a 96% contact rate, which is one of their highest ever. My AuthorsforAuthors partners and I have built a Facebook group for Authors with folks from all over the US and some from other countries
I’ve received many offers to speak at various book/author events but I decline due to many obligations I have – but still find it flattering! I’ve connected via networking with many other “influencers,” though I resist the concept.
I promote using Facebook and Twitter; I also have my own contact list of almost 1000 direct emails addresses from people I know personally or have done business with in the book/author community. I often am contacted and asked to do book reviews; if it is something I’m interested in I accept but they must send a real book; I am also willing to read and review children’s picture books.
Can Valerie answer questions any other questions for you? If so, please put them in the Contact Box on Writer Advice’s Home Page, and I’ll forward the e-mails until both of you ask for each other’s e-mails. You can also learn more about her at ValerieAllenWriter.com and Amazon.com/author/valerieallen.
MORE ABOUT THE INTERVIEWEE:
Valerie Allen is a prolific writers of fiction but she also writes nonfiction to help writers, books like Write, Publish, Sell! 2 ed. Her other books include Amazing Grace,
Sins of the Father, Suffer The Little Children, and The Prodigal Son, among others.
Learn more at ValerieAllenWriter.com and Amazon.com/author/valerieallen.
Her email is VAllenWriter@gmail.com
MORE ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER:
Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, editor, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books published by Modern History Press include the third edition of The Frugal Book Promoter. Her The Frugal Editor which won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and the coveted Irwin award and others on topics for writing as varied as writing book proposals and making the magic of Twitter work for you will soon be published by that same press. Find more in her #HowToDoItFrugally Series at https://howtodoitfrugally.com.
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.