RADIO INTERVIEW 101 Radio Interviews For Fiction
New for 2015: Traditional PR firms often shy away from fiction because of the perceived difficulty in obtaining mainstream press. Well I am not speaking for other mediums, only radio, and in particular, I'm not speaking of online or college radio, but instead about traditional AM or FM radio which has 300, or 3000, or 30000 people listening that instant in that one city, as traditional AM or FM radio does. And I'm glad to say, that fiction interviews can be done as well as anything else on radio! And maybe even more important is that many of the fiction techniques apply to non-fiction as well. This is because of what I've covered previously: It's not the topic that matters... It's the person.
Here's the radio technique: Instead of focusing on the work of fiction itself (presumably a book, but maybe a film), focus instead on what was in the author's head, and what happened to the author, that caused him or her to write such material. Thus, the book itself then simply serves as a reference, or as a credibility item (i.e., the author must have gone through a lot in order to put everything into a book). Also, the book can be used for the ubiquitous on-air-giveaway during or after the interview. (Not to mention, of course, that listeners that may want to purchase the book after hearing the author mention the book's website and ordering phone number).
If it seems far-fetched to focus on the person rather than the book, remember that the people who do the radio shows (the hosts) can be considered to be fictional writers themselves, albeit ones who haven't written their first book yet. These people are, however, good at speaking (regardless of the "topic") and thus the radio stations pay them to continue talking, show after show. Indeed, you may even have seen some of the more well known hosts who actually did write a book, many times going on to do quite well. Isn't radio just great!
So, what does it mean to talk about the author instead of the book? Here's an example: If the book is about a fictional business scandal, what did the author experience, or even OBSERVE, that caused him or her to write this book? Was the author a victim of a real scandal? The real-life experiences can be very interesting, but even more so can be the conclusions or opinions that the author draws from the experience itself (remember that talk-radio hosts are employed almost solely because of their opinions.) Also in this category is plain old "observation"... the writer has simply observed what everyone else has observed, and is now rendering his or her opinion about it.
Such opinions can be used even for such seemingly-impossible works of fiction as a love novel. Almost every work of fiction has some type of unique place, time, or event mixed in it. You simply take this unique item and twist it into something which "Suzy secretary" or "Joe six pack" (the typical radio listener) would care about hearing during their drive to work. Yes, it's the author's opinion about the unique time, place or event that people want to hear about. Not the book itself. Radio does not interview "books".
Lastly, how do you build your sales list with fiction? Well of course a free give-away of the book (hopefully hardcover) is always enticing, but an email-able top-10 pointers list can still be used. Make your free top-10 give-away pointers something about the unique time, place or event. They many not be the ordinary free top 10 points that you'd do for non-fiction (those are more "how-to"), but they still work great because listeners will still want to obtain the 10 free points about the topic, since that is why they listened in the first place. And once the listeners request your free top 10 list, you'll then have your fiction sales list.
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