Media Coaching is Critical to Book Marketing and Book Publicity

Landing an interview is great, but authors must keep sight of the goal, which is not to get interviewed but to sell books. The skills needed to generate sales from interviews are best obtained through media coaching or media training.

Book marketing experts know that authors who get excited about landing an interview may lose sight of the goal, which is not to gain media interviews but to sell books. And it’s sad but true that an interview does not automatically generate sales. Effective interviews generate sales; ineffective interviews merely produce idle talk.

The author who can generate sales from a television or radio interview is the author who knows how to relate to the specific audience listening to that show. A book is sold when one listener “clicks” with an author because there is recognition of a common need or experience. Multiply those clicks of recognition, and you multiply sales.

The challenge for all book marketers is that authors are skilled in interviewing other people; they are not skilled in being interviewed themselves. The skills needed to generate sales from interviews are best obtained through media coaching or media training.

Media coaching will give authors the skills to learn how to use the media, not just to convey your message but to compel people to buy your book. As a book marketing expert, I can pitch an author’s story and line up a TV or Radio interview. But most authors won’t be able to amaze listeners and compel them to buy without being trained by a media coach.

A media coach will show authors how to leverage interviews to create book sales, how to feel more comfortable on air and how to relieve the stress and anxiety that can come with interviews. A good media coach also will teach the secrets behind creating effective sound bites conveying the benefits they would get by buying the book.

Specifically, a media coach will reveal tips and let you practice these tried and true techniques, including:

  •   →How to control the interview
  •   →How to insure your message will be effective
  •   →How to employ bridging techniques to get back on track
  •   →How to deal with pitfalls that come up during an interview
  •   →How to answer the tough questions
  •   →How to look your best on camera
  •   →How to sound your best on radio
  •   →How to pitch your message to the host and listener
  •   →How to pitch without sounding like you are
  •   →How to compel the media to discuss your book
  •   →How producers and media people think and how to use that knowledge to your advantage
  •   →How to relate to a specific audience
  •   →How to leverage an interview into book sales
  •   →How to get free publicity on TV and Radio
  •   →How to get the media to hate you (by not returning their phone calls)
  •   →And, how to get invited back

Media coach Jess Todtfeld, who is a former producer for Bill O’Reilly of FOX-TV’s The O’Reilly Factor, says that every interview is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to connect with an audience, to get your point of view to the masses. Most people don’t realize that it must go beyond that. You must motivate the audience to take an interest in you and “do something.” Whether it’s buying your book, going to your web site, or just finding out about you, you must compel them to take that next step. Todtfeld has seen many people use to media to get what they want, but many authors and amateurs make some of the common mistakes. He should know, he’s booked more that 4,000 TV segments with politicians, celebrities and actors on two networks.

Radio Interviews provide a tremendous opportunity for authors or anyone with a story to tell. Radio interviews are great because they can be done anytime out of your home, office or automobile (if you aren’t driving). But like any successful marketing venture, radio interviews don’t just happen. Here are some very useful suggestions:

  •   →Be on time. Call the station exactly at the time they tell you, and be at your phone waiting if the station is going to call you.
  •   →Disable call waiting: dial *70 and then call the number. This disables call waiting for the duration of the phone call. As soon as you hang up, it will be reactivated.
  •   →Be self-assured. Remember you know your topic inside and out. Be confident in your ability.
  •   →Smile, smile, smile, whether on radio or TV – SMILE. You’ll feel better, and for TV you’ll look better too.
  •   →Research the show and tailor your message accordingly. Just Google the host’s name and station. Is it a national audience or a small town in Ohio? You need to know.
  •   →Practice your sound bites. Communicate your main points succinctly.
  •   →Be prepared for negative comments, from the host or listeners.
  •   →Be informative and entertaining without directly pushing your book. Make the audience “want more.”
  •   →A kind word about the host can go a long way. It’s good manners and good business.
  •   →A persons name is sweet music to them so commit to memory the name of the host and use it throughout the interview. When taking calls, use the names of callers too.

The last time I talked with Michael Dresser, a well-known media coach Michael told me that there are some realities he makes sure all of his clients know about the media. Dresser says "an interview is an acquired skill. It is a process with a strategy working toward a fixed finish line. Bring your message to the audience in a way that is real for them. Do this by using stories and anecdotes that allow your audience to see themselves in your interview message. Interact with your audience on a one to one basis. Think of a radio interview as an intimate conversation with a friend and not a conversation with thousands. If you stay with the process, the influence and effect of your message will match the intent you had going in. It’s important to go into the interview with a positive attitude and energetic manner. You must be entertaining, informative and persuasive, or you will talking to an empty microphone.”

I pay attention to Michael Dresser because he has been a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for 23 years, and has interviewed thousands of guests. He understands what it takes to be a great guest and understands what prevents someone from achieving that level of success in the interview process. Dresser helps people he coaches to keep their answers short, to stay focused, and to develop a message that will produce results. If you invest in a media coach, use someone like Dresser who was in the game and knows how it’s played.

Media coach and speech trainer TJ Walker says that because talking to the media is like no other conversation you will ever have, it requires your full concentration and all the skills you can muster. Because of that demand, Walker puts his students through a live interview that he videotapes for instructional purposes. “The camera doesn’t lie,” stresses Walker. “You will learn how to look your best on TV -- if not on the first take, then by the 20th take. There is no way to ‘fake it’ in my one-on-one training course. You will be in the hot seat, the lights will be shining in your eyes, and the microphone will be stuck in your face. Although not always relaxing, the videotaping will turn students into a media pro, ready for any type of media situation.”

Among the types of opportunities an author should be trained to face, says Walker, are live television and radio, ambush interviews, TV and radio talk shows, celebrity appearances, in-studio interviews, newspaper interviews, editorial board meetings, radio talk shows, Internet interviews, edited news programs, training videos, phone interviews, infomercials, press conferences, spokesperson training, and book tours.

Walker’s views are based on 22 years of training CEOs, Prime Ministers and Nobel Peace Prize winners in addition to training managers and staff in client companies such as Microsoft, Bank of America, Unilever, and McDonalds. TJ is the most widely published and produced media trainer in the globe, with more than 50 books, training videos, CDs, and software programs to his credit. I consider TJ Walker’s book, Presentation Training A-Z, to be a must-read.

I’ve heard TJ Walker say many times, and I agree with him that the successful author will carefully analyze what radio or TV shows to book. In book marketing, a book cannot be promoted without first identifying who the readers are in advance of a single sale. Find the reasons why that reader will read that book and then craft a message to be conveyed to information sources that reader relies upon.

Don’t bombard the market with propaganda but send out promotional information to selected streams that reach specific persons. That approach has always worked and always will. Salesmen know that you can’t sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo because he has no need of one, but you’d have a shot at selling him thermal underwear. So follow Walker’s advice -- know your niche and then select the TV or Radio Show that your niche audience listens to or watches.

To successfully market a book, determine who will read it and then target that media directly. By way of example, one of my clients has published a book of poetry. Now the average person won’t buy a collection of poetry. However, certain people love poetry, so we aim our book marketing efforts for this client to poetry magazines, poetry web sites and poetry societies.

Scott Lorenz

Book marketing expert Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a marketing and public relations firm that specializes in book marketing and author promotion. For more information contact him at or by phone at 734-667-2090 or visit:

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