If any of you are like me when it comes to public speaking or appearances, you know what it feels like to get “the jitters.” Yes – “the jitters.” It’s what I call the strange tightening of the gut, the chill that spreads throughout the body (starting with the temples), the warmth that claims the fingers… and, of course, the sensation of noticing every little thing goes on with your body: from every swallow to every seemingly imperceptible blink. Yet, part of the responsibility of being a published author is that one must make a presence every now and then – whether that be through conventions, signings, or, as I wish to expand upon today, television interviews. Yes, that’s right: television. Some of you must be quivering in your flip-flops and curl-rimmed fedoras at the word; though, some of you may also be perking your head up with interest, ready to make an appearance. Either way, whether you are the of the former or the latter, I am here today to assure you: interviewing on television is quick, painless, and ultimately rewarding – not only for the feeling of accomplishment that it brings, but also for the promotional benefits it delivers. And you don’t have to be on Good Morning America or Oprah in order to be featured and reap the benefits.
I’ve recently been given the opportunity to be interviewed on a local television station – KSBI: Oklahoma Live! – in order to talk about my various publications and recent novel, Empyreal Fate; and I’ve received much attention and interest from it. Not only is it more personal – catering to a local crowd who is familiar and can relate to the places or experiences you may happen to mention – but there is a greater likelihood that there will be an opening for you to make an appearance. I was first given the idea by a couple fellow authors on Facebook, who happened to have had past interviews on the very same television show as I (of course, this was before my own interview). They let me know that the news crew was very author-friendly and enjoyed featuring local talent – and they encouraged me to make an inquiry (even me, being the shy figure that I am!).
So, upon researching the KSBI site and finding out the relevant names to contact, I wrote a kindly letter (or, as is today’s common practice, an “email”), explaining who I was, what I represented (my novel, publishing credentials, publishing house, etc..), appropriate links and information for them to confirm, and, ultimately, inquiring as to whether or not I may speak with them for a time. I specifically mentioned that I was shy and didn’t want anything too long – just enough to make my promotion known and to engage the audience. To my delight, I received a confirmatory email the very next day, stating that the show would love to feature me! The lady who responded was very courteous, and she said I would be granted a five minute interview, if I chose, and all I would have to bring was a copy of my book. I was quite ecstatic, albeit a little timid.
The following Monday, I arrived at the studio, but I found that the nerves began to set in all the more as I signed in and received my badge, for Reality began to dawn: I was going on TV! Meanwhile, as my mind was going over every possible thing that I could do to make a fool of myself, I was given a spot to sit directly on-set and watch as the show was being filmed (which was amazing by the way. It’s such a different perspective seeing how the host, camera crew, and floor guides work together during filming and commercial breaks). But everyone was kind the entire time, and I was introduced to the other guests on-set, including a local band – and cooks who featured their food on the studio’s kitchen set. (As a warning for the future: if you ever go on a television set – or anywhere with hefty equipment, such as filming cameras – be sure to bring along a sweatshirt or a shawl! The studio was quite chill, and shivering didn’t help to calm the fervent storm raging within my skull). But before I knew it, the floor director was ushering me aside so that I may attach the tiny microphone to my clothing before going on-set. (Another piece of advice when in a studio… wear pants – with pockets, preferably. I was wearing leggings with a dress shirt at the time, so the art of attaching the microphone box to my clothing was… interesting. It all worked out in the end, however.).
To my relief, being on camera was not as bad as I had made it seem in my mind. Although the questions were left impromptu (and, indeed, if I had known specifically what was going to be asked, I would have had more in-depth answers to present), it went well, and I did my best to speak naturally – as if the cameras weren’t even there. (It helps if you don’t image the lens as versions of Sauron’s eye).
The five minutes went by much faster than I had anticipated (which was a good thing, given I was fearful of running out of things to say), but I was kept engaged and talking the entire time. In fact, I had so much more to say that I was even cut off during a segment due to time constraints! Fancy that. But the nerves did not prevail; once I was actually on camera and doing my thing – talking about my book and such – the nerves died down and confidence took over. Besides, when you have an entire television crew, including the host and the co-host (which was Mrs. Oklahoma), asking about your book, on and off the camera – showing true interest – how can your confidence not rise? It was a great experience, and I am stronger for it. (Not to mention, I’ve already been told I’ve made more sales from the interview, and the list of Most Popular segments on the Oklahoma Live! site claims mine is #1 in terms of views). Who can complain? The key is confidence. We all need to break out of our comfort zone now and then.
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Rachel Hunter has always been fascinated with words and the intricate way in which they combine. Through her fascination with reading, she became inspired to illuminate the creative spark of eager readers with her own words. Empyreal Fate is the first in her Llathalan Annal series. You can learn more about Rachel on her blog or website, and you can watch her appearance on Oklahoma Live! here.