Pleasantly Persistent PR Blog
How to Sell a Book in an Interview
June 24, 2021
Authors understandably get excited when they land an interview on a media outlet to discuss their book. This gives them recognition for their expertise and a chance to talk about their passion. That said, the media interview is not the goal itself. Rather, the interview is the means to reach the goal, which is to sell more books.

I've watched countless author interviews and coached scores of clients on interview best practices. All too often uncoached authors don't know how to use their coveted interview time to their advantage and sell their book. To help out authors embarking on the media circuit, here are my top 10 tips on how to sell a book in an interview.
#1 The Show Is About the Audience
Here's a mistake many first-time interviewees make: they think they are the star of the show. In fact, the audience is. You are a vehicle to deliver to the audience what they want - information and entertainment. To do this, you'll need to be upbeat and provide relevant, brief and interesting answers.
#2 Know the Audience
It goes without saying that you can't give the audience what they want unless you understand them and speak their language. Each television, radio or internet-based program will have audience demographics. Ask the show producer for this information. This way you can tailor your answers to the viewers.

For example, if you are on a show with a 35-and-under demographic, you can throw in some pop culture references and vernacular the kids will know, if it feels right. On a local broadcast with a 55-and-up audience? Stick to topics and language that older viewers understand.

For bonus points, ask the producer if there is anything in particular you should know about the audience before the broadcast begins.
As an interviewer, you are there to entertain the audience. Give them what they want by being informative and interesting - or "info-taining."
#3 Think Info-tainment
When selling a book during an interview, think of it as an info-tainment segment. You are there to share advice, provide trivia, bust myths, or solve a problem - all while entertaining the audience.

Not convinced yet that you are there to entertain the audience? Time and again, when my clients make an interview less about themselves and more about their audience, they see an uptick in book sales.
#4 Expect the Interviewer to Have Not Read Your Book
This can throw first-time authors off their interview game since they expect the interviewer to have read their book. Actually, nine out of ten times the interviewer will not have read your book.

Go into the interview assuming the interviewer hasn't read your book to avoid frustration. You may want to provide potential interview questions to the producer in advance to help the interviewer out. Whatever you do, don't ask if the interviewer has read the book.
#5 Prepare for the Interview
Identify the questions you might be asked and write 3–4 talking points in response to each question. Also, prepare a briefing book with relevant talking points and statistics for each chapter in your book.

Know your talking points and briefing book well enough to recall relevant information during the interview, but avoid spouting out memorized answers verbatim. You will be more trusted by the audience if you are informed, prepared and confident - all of which will help you sell your book during the interview.
#6 Listen Carefully to the Questions
Always let the interviewer finish asking the question. Never interrupt the interviewer since this can come across as rude.

Consider affirming or repeating the question before answering. If you are disagreeing with a point, acknowledge it and then pivot, saying something like, "I had that same concern when I began writing this book, but..."
#7 Give Brief, To-the-Point Answers
Nothing turns an audience off like a rambling author. You will be more compelling if you answer the questions directly and succinctly.

Think of it like a ping pong match. The interviewer lobs a question to you and you return quickly with an answer. Keep it short, sweet and to the point and you'll be rewarded with an interested audience more likely to buy your book.
#8 Explain Your Book in a Couple of Sentences
Create a 2-3 sentence description about your book. It should give a general overview of the plot and be compelling. Also known as an "elevator pitch," this short description of your book can be used during any conversation - a media interview or otherwise.
#9 Repeat the Title, Repeat the Title, Repeat the Title
Repeat your book title throughout the interview. Don't just say, "In my book, the theme…." Instead, say "In my book, The Greatest Story Ever Told, the theme…"

The more you say your book title, the more likely it is for your audience to remember it and purchase your book.
#10 Be Patient
Interviews on national shows like Good Morning America typically yield instant increases in book sales. With less visible broadcasts, expect a rise in book sales to occur over time. You are building yourself as an authority on a subject with each interview. This can have a compounding publicity effect with book sales increasing as your publicity does.
I've been in the book publicity game for two decades and know what works and doesn't when it comes to author interviews. If you would like to learn more about how to sell a book in an interview - or have other publicity questions - reach out to me today.
Feel free to contact me
Julia Brown
Book publicist
Phone: +1 619-888-7956
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