Writing takes a community, sharing ideas, and supporting one another. So, when we get approached with an article that shares hard-earned knowledge, we couldn't be happier to pass that information.
Today's post is written by Jessica Sanders — host of Jessie's Coffee Shop on KLRNRadio.
Radio Interviews with Kitty and Fido
Hi, let me introduce myself. My name is Jessica or Jessie for short. I host an internet radio show (podcast) where I invite authors to talk — yes, verbally talk — about their books and writing style. I give each author 50 minutes, more or less, to discuss their book.Now, what do I feel makes an interview?
- Have your book blurb handy. You'd be amazed how many authors can't tell me their book blurb off the top of their heads.
- Have your social media contact information printed out and ready to reference.
- RELAX! Most author interviews aren't hard hitting and filled with gotcha questions (at least mine aren't).
- Have a bottle of water next to you.
- Listen to an episode of the show you've been invited to participate in.
- Yes, it's your episode, but leave room for comment from the host, so listeners don't wonder if the host fell asleep at the microphone.
- Be in a quiet environment. I can work with many things, but you sitting in the local cafe at lunch time won't make for good audio.
Now to elaborate...
The Nightmare Guest
Let's take author Kitty the Cat.
Kitty has never listened to an episode of my show; however, she sends an email asking to be a guest anyway. There's only one criteria to be on my show: you have to be a published author or an industry professional.
I ask Kitty for a book blurb, author bio, and her cover art. It takes me 15 emails to get this information out of Kitty. Then she tells me that she's free anytime. I set a date and time that fits my schedule, but Kitty tells me that's the same night has her Catnip club. (She could have told me this upfront.)
We finally set a date and time. I call Kitty. She's a few minutes late. This is fine as no one's watch is set to the same time.
I mention that I need to do a soundcheck, and Kitty decides to wander away from her computer to get a drink of milk. Sound checks are important, it take two people to do a soundcheck.
Then Kitty decides she doesn't like her headset and unplugs it. This causes a multitude of audio issues, not the least of which is the dreaded echo of everything that's said.
She's nervous and not sure what to say. I ask Kitty about her book, and she tells me "it's published." I was looking for your book blurb or something insightful.
Kitty decides to start crunching on potato chips, crackers, or smacking her gum during the interview. The microphone can hear everything you do. I do my best to limit the background noise, but chomping on chips really isn't something I can block — especially since your microphone is hopefully near your mouth. I'm more than happy to edit out the toddler that ran into the room, provided you stopped talking and didn't talk over them.
I finally get Kitty to put her headset back on and put the chips away. Hope blossoms in my heart that we may yet get a usable interview.
I ask Kitty about the plot in her book, and she starts talking about a book she has recently read. Yes, we can discuss the authors that inspired you, but let's focus on your writing first please.
I steer Kitty back to her book, and she can't even pronounce the name of her main character. (Insert face-palm here.)
Now that I think I have Kitty on a roll, she starts moving things on her desk and shuffling papers. Really? You're doing an interview, not writing a scene. This isn't the time to be pounding on the keyboard.
Once again, we get back to Kitty's book, and her cell phone rings. Her friend Sweetheart wants to go get her claws done. Please silence your phone. If an urgent call comes through, I'm more than happy to pause the interview, or even reschedule.
Finally, we struggle through to the end of the interview, and I ask Kitty for her social media information. She gives out a private Facebook profile, then says that she can't accept new friend requests.
By this point, I'm speechless and don't know how Kitty has even managed to find me, but I ask if she tweets out her meows. Finally, I get a Twitter handle from her.
Needless to say, at the end of this interview, I NEED Chocolate, or maybe something stronger. However, I most likely have another show or interview to prepare for.
The Ideal Guest
Let's look at the well organized author — Fido the Hound.
Fido sends me an email asking to be on my show, even mentioning a recent episode. I respond asking for a book blurb, author bio and cover art. Fido replies promptly with all of the needed information, and tells me the best days for a interview are on Tuesdays or Thursdays between 2pm and 4pm. We set up a date and time.
Fido is attentive and listens as I explain the technical process. Fido asks what to do if the local police elephant sounds the alarm, since there's no way to avoid it. I inform Fido that he can stop talking and let the noise pass — I can edit it at out later.
During the soundcheck, I notice a rustling noise resulting from fabric rustling against the microphone as he moved. As such, Fido happily clips his ear buds to his shirt to eliminate the noise.
I introduce Fido and ask about his book. His blurb flows flawlessly from his lips. We move on to his characters. Not only can he name them, he can tell me bits and pieces of their development that never made it into the book — like their favorite dog bone flavor.
During the commercial break, which in reality is a pause, Fido goes to get a drink to keep Mr. Frog from joining us on air.
I ask Fido about topics we have not brought up, and Fido wants to mention his local writing group. Awesome! I even ask Fido to give out the writing group's website. I get listeners from all over the world, so you never know who may benefit.
We reach the end of the interview, and Fido give out his website, Twitter handle, and public Facebook page.
As you can imagine, Fido was a joy to talk to. I'll still sit down and enjoy the chocolate after the show, but with a smile on my face.
The biggest key to radio interviews is to be prepared. The host will not let you sound like a fool (I certainly won't). We're there to help you through it.
About Jessie Sanders and Jessie's Coffee Shop
Jessie Sanders is a radio talk show host on KLRNRadio, with shows on current events and international news. However, there is always two sides to a person. On one side, she shares her unique perspective on the world with all. On the other side, one needs to slow down and remember the simple pleasures in life: good coffee, good books and good company.
If you would like to be a guest on Jessie's Coffee Shop, drop Jessie a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest Blogging for Black Wolf
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