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Notes for the Perfect Book Tour

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The Book Tour. You’ve spent a long time getting to this point. There’s a lot riding on the tour, namely, increasing sales of your book. We know that writing is a solitary process, and the book tour is the antithesis of that. However you can conquer the dreaded tour, just as you have conquered the writing process. With preparation! Whether it’s for a three to five minute TV interview, or 20 minutes on the radio, the following are steps you can take to create a good media interview.
Presenting Yourself

  1. Pay attention; don’t look for the camera, it will find you. Keep your eyes on the interviewer.
  2. Relate to others; bring the audience and the interviewer into your answers to the questions. Relate your responses to them with phrases such as “Most people have (done, been, tried to, etc.)… and “I think everybody has experienced the following…,” or (to the interviewer) “Haven’t you ever done, or experienced…?”
  3. Be enthusiastic and passionate; excitement about your subject will be contagious. Remember, you wrote the book, you are the expert.
  4. Wear something that makes you feel comfortable. For TV interviews, wear pastels, grays, browns, or blues. Avoid bright reds, bright blues or loud prints and stripes. Avoid whites, too harsh, or blacks, too dead.

Make Your Answers Interesting

  1. Prepare three to five points you want to get across; use these points in every interview. You will never walk away worried that you didn’t say what you came to say. Remember each audience will be listening for the first time.
  2. Enumerate your points; your audience will pay closer attention if they can easily follow your reasoning. A phrase such as “The three most important things to remember are: one…, two…, three…” will keep them listening.
  3. Keep answers short; answer questions fully but succinctly. Begin responses with phrases such as “The biggest mistake,””The most interesting aspect,” or “The most startling idea.”
  4. Use facts; have a fact (as differentiated from an opinion) in at least half of your answers.
  5. Avoid simple yes or no answers; use exciting words such as “Certainly,””Absolutely,””Never,” and “Absolutely not.” These words convey greater conviction.
  6. Be realistic; most interviewers won’t have read your book-they can’t possibly read everything that is presented to them. Therefore they may ask basic questions such as “What is your book about?” and “Why did you write this book?” Have a smashing 30-45 second answer to each of these questions. It will get you off to a great start.

Practice, Practice, Practice
If you follow the preceding advice, and practice the steps we have laid out, you will have a successful book tour. You’ve written a great book, so make the best of your time while you are out there selling it. Don’t forget, that’s what a book tour is all about. You have prepared and practiced, now be passionate about what you have to say. What a great opportunity!

Bill Applebaum and Kim Dower prepare authors for media tours and interviews. Their work has been endorsed by the producers of NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,””Politically Incorrect,” and “Leeza”. Reach them at 704 N. Gardner St., Suite 4, Los Angeles,. California 90046; phone 323/55-6023; e-mail perfectpitch@earthlink.net.

This article is from thePMA Newsletterfor April, 2000, and is reprinted with permission of Publishers Marketing Association.

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