Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 25, 2009

Marketing Yourself on Radio and TV

radioMarketing Yourself on Radio and TV

By Kathy Temean 

Many authors think, “Whew, I wrote, I revised, and I managed to get a contract.  Now my job is done.”  Wrong!  Your job is just beginning.  Even if you aren’t a person who likes the limelight, you have an obligation to yourself and your publisher to do everything you can to make your book a success.  You do want another contract, right? 

That’s not going to happen unless you put every effort into making your book a success.  I guess once you get to the Richard Peck or Jerry Spinelli level, you can sit back and relax with the security of knowing that your fans will automatically flock to the bookstores the day your new book comes out.  The rest of us need to work to push our way up to that position.

You should already be developing a database of potential readers by attending conferences, joining associations and volunteering.  But if you haven’t, now’s the time to start. You need to start creating your own noise. 

Every writer thinks of getting postcards, flyers, bookmarks, and a well designed website made up to help market themselves.  Those are all good tools, but they are only a good start.  You need to go further.  In order to go beyond the basic marketing tools, authors should consider radio and TV. The trouble is most feel they’d never be able to get on air, so they never try. 

I say, go for it.  They’re both possible.

A guest spot on a local radio or TV show can get the word out about your book to thousands of consumers.  That’s definitely worth your effort. 

The question is:  What steps do you take to make it happen?

First, stay up on the news. Listen to the radio, read newspapers, watch TV. Has something happened that could tie in with your book?  Example:  Trains play a big role in your story and a big train crash occurs in your area.  You may be able to pique the interest of a radio broadcaster by pitching how your story ties in and how his or her listeners would be interested in the things you learned about trains while researching your book.  

Maybe your main character pole dances and there’s a new study out about the risks of heart disease for Americans who gain too much weight.  Pole dancing is great exercise.  That could open the door for you to talk about the health benefits of pole dancing and your book.  Once you have an angle or tie-in to a current news story, put together a press release that positions you as an expert on this issue and sells them on why they should have you as a guest.  You need to pitch your expertise as a solution to a problem that’s making news.

Local radio shows on the 250-watt or 1,000-watt AM stations are a great place to start. Internet radio is becoming more popular and is another venue to try.  Weekend radio shows are usually looking for guests. 

For TV, go after your local morning news programs or weekend lifestyle segments.  Community-access cable can be relatively easy to appear on and will provide you with experience.  This would be a good way to build your on-camera confidence.  A New Jersey SCBWI member, Johan Dahan, landed her own local TV show by pitching herself and her dog to a cable TV director who was running between studio buildings.

Most TV interviews are going to be very short — three to five minutes at most — so you must know your message before you go on the air. 

            PRACTICE!  The more interviews you do, the more buzz you will build. 

Talk radio interviews are typically done from your home or office, so that part’s easy.  You’ll want to make yourself available at a moment’s notice, day or night, because anytime you’re on the air, you’re going to boost your book’s visibility and sales.

Media is all about entertainment, so remember you need to sparkle on air. Enthusiasm speaks loud and clear, so in order to keep the audience attentive, you need to maintain a high level of interest throughout the interview.  You want to be both informative and entertaining, not boring. Do that and you’ll find the host jumping in to help you promote your message. 

So when you do have an interview, close your office door, turn off your cell phone, then relax and be yourself. After your first appearance, don’t be too hard on yourself. No one bats a home run the first time at the plate. Just try to be as comfortable as possible and as prepared as you can be, then enjoy yourself.


  1. Cool! That’s what Jack Canfield does! But, it’s not the only one. If you have power to create buzz, social media is the best.


  2. Thanks for commenting. I agree that you can’t forget about social media. I just did a conference workshop on that subject. Radio and TV can sell a lot of books, so we can’t forget about trying to add that to the marketing plan.

    Hope you’ll visit again,



  3. Often after a radio interview, you can get a cd of the broadcast. If the station doesn’t offer, ask for it. You can then, with their permission, copy and send this interview to prospective stations. This may increase your chances of getting on the air.


  4. Laurie,

    Good advice.



  5. This is awesome, Kathy–thanks! Doing TV/radio interviews would be so much fun! You know what would be a blast? Doing the interview AS one of your characters! That would rock! 🙂


  6. Would you be Bot?



    • Sure, I could do that! (I’ll have to stock up on tinfoil again–used it all to make my hat…)


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