P.T. Barnum once quipped, “Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing!” And without trying to be sacrilegious, even Jesus had a front man; John the Baptist prepared the way for Him. Why should you and I be any different with our own books in needing or soliciting help?

The publishing world has changed drastically since I started my first PR agency in Los Angeles in 1991. Depending on the source you use, as many as 500,000 books are published each year in the United States. And as recently as 2012, self-publishing saw triple digit growth. You are a published author so you know the often-painful process it takes to give birth to a book. I understand this process too.

Even though I am a publicist, I made mistakes along the way. I thought if I just got an interview and just answered questions that people would want to buy my book. I was wrong. That didn’t happen. Not until I had already done 300 interviews did it occur to me that maybe I needed to do something different. Today, part of what I do for new authors is to give them ideas about what works or what doesn’t in the interview process.

Here are FIVE things I have learned over twenty-five years of working with more than 1,000 authors that will help you make the most of your interview experience.

  1. Be enthusiastic. Most listeners or viewers have short attention spans. We all have more listening or viewing options than ever before. Be excited about your topic, your book, your organization’s mission.
  2. Be aware. Be relevant. Be prepared. Re-read your book. Look for specific ways to connect to the host or audience. Do research about the media before being a guest.
  3. Have a hook. Give people a compelling reason to respond and respond now. Maybe that’s a special offer. Maybe it is value-added component. Maybe it is connecting with a felt need that will help their marriage or finances.
  4. Tell stories. People care more about your stories than they do about statistics or your opinion. Jesus told parables. People remember stories.
  5. Give out your contact information. You might be surprised how many authors fail to do this even of a host does not ask for it. Let people know how to reach you, your organization, or get a copy of your book.

While it seems self evident, always be gracious to hosts or producers. Remember the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers. Just one came back to say thanks for the life-changing encounter. Be that one person.