A lot of authors become unnecessarily stressed at the prospect of a radio interview. Maybe you hate the sound of your own voice. Maybe you think you’ll be asked a question for which you were not prepared and you’ll stutter and stammer and come off sounding like an idiot.
Well, you can relax. Those are the least of the things you ought to be worried about. The good news is that with radio, you have a lot of things working in your favor. For instance:
1. You don’t have to worry about shoveling out your Unabomber-type shack;
2. You don’t have to worry about your appearance. Go ahead, skip the shower. Do the interview in your bathrobe.
3. The only people listening to radio are behind the wheel of their automobiles, and they have other things to worry about—like texting friends.
There are basically two categories of radio interviews. The first (and most common) is where the interviewer has no idea who you are, has never read or even heard of your book and will likely ask you questions that have no bearing on anything remotely connected to you or your work.
The second type is where the interviewer has skimmed or actually read your book, completely misunderstood it and will likely ask you questions that have no bearing on anything remotely connected to you or your work.
Let’s run through a couple of scenarios so you can see what you are up against. I’ll use K.S. Brooks for purposes of illustration. Brooks is a veteran radio interviewee, so she knows how to get around this stuff, but that came through experience. Now she comes off polished, composed and professional. Still, her early interviews might have gone something like this:
INTERVIEWER: Welcome to BFD Radio and Author At Large with Bob Hammond. I’m your host, Bob Hammond. With me today is noted author T.S. Brooks to talk about her book, Colonel Fish’s Wonderland Adventure. Good Morning, T.S.”
BROOKS: Um, it’s not T, it’s K, and the book…
INTERVIEWER:Thanks Kay. Now let’s talk about your book. I haven’t read it, but I understand this is a book for children.
BROOKS: Yes, but the title of the book is…
INTERVIEWER: Now, why show a dog on the cover when the book is about a fish? Talk about that for a moment.
BROOKS: The book doesn’t have anything to do with fish, and the correct title is…
INTERVIEWER: Uh huh, uh huh…fascinating. We’ll be back with author G.S. Books to talk more about her children’s book about a magical fish after these words from our sponsor.
Now, you might think being interviewed by someone who knows nothing about you or your book is a worse-case scenario. You would be wrong. Let’s work through what it is like to be interviewed by someone who read your book and completely misunderstood it.
INTERVIEWER: Welcome to BFD Radio and Author At Large with Bob Hammond. I’m your host, Bob Hammond. With me today is author and radical environmentalist K.S. Brooks to talk about her book, Mr. Pish’s Woodland Adventure. Good Morning, K.S.”
BROOKS: Radical environmentalist? I don’t know where you…
INTERVIEWER:Let’s cut right to the chase, Ms. Brooks. It’s hard to deny that your book is just one more tired attempt to inculcate our children in the message of radical environmentalism.
BROOKS: It’s a kid’s book about nature and…
INTERVIEWER: Well, isn’t that typical? You won’t even use the term “radical environmentalism.” You people don’t want to tip your hand, do you? I am stunned by the audacity of this left-wing diatribe dressed up in diapers with its hard-core anticapitalist undertones being sold to our children in the guise of some form of education. Let me ask you a question Ms. Brooks—where does the money go? To the Socialist Party? Or are you just another hypocrite pocketing the money for yourself while railing against so-called profiteering?
BROOKS: Oh my god! The funds go to the Arbor Day Foundation. The book…
INTERVIEWER: Sure they do. We’ll be back with author K.S. Books to talk more about her seedy communist connections and why she uses a white dog in her plot to brainwash our children after these words from our sponsor.
As as you can see, there is really nothing to fear from a simple radio interview. As they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Of course, that was probably just a publicity firm slogan.