Friday, May 8, 2020

TV Interview Tips for the Timid Writer by A. Kidd

Let me start by saying that the idea of appearing on TV, even local TV, was terrifying to me. I’m an introvert like most writers and prefer to share my thoughts on the page—end of story. But we all know how important marketing is for even the most popular writers out there. So how do you navigate the world of television?

I discovered Pages Promotions which is an organization devoted to helping indie authors like me. They were advertising Indie Reads TV which is broadcast on CMNTV. They have a contact form you can fill out to be a guest. Keep in mind, they are currently taking a break because of the stay-at-home restrictions, but you can still sign up as well as watch episodes on YouTube.

***In general, taking part in writing and book-related listservs and social media groups is the best way to find these opportunities.

How do you prepare? 

  • Ask the interviewer if they can send you a list of their questions ahead of time, but be prepared for them to say no, to keep things natural. Usually they’ll at least provide some basic questions to expect. 

  • Research common questions. Then make a list of questions you’ve been asked in written interviews. *Sometimes they will let you recommend questions you want to be asked. 

  • Make sure you have your book pitch memorized so you can say it with ease and a smile. 

  • Take your smart phone and videotape yourself practicing. Notice if you’re making enough eye contact as well as how you look and sound.

  • Have your timesaver statement ready, in case you get asked a question you weren’t expecting. Something like, “I’ve never been asked that before” or “That’s an interesting question.” *Even a few seconds will buy you some time to come up with an answer. 

What to expect when you arrive? 

When I got to the studio, it actually took me like 10 minutes to make myself get out of the car. I was excited but extremely nervous! Try these tips:

  • Listen to some soothing or upbeat music on your way there. 

  • Practice some deep-breathing if you can, just prior. 

  • Drink some calming tea ahead of time. 

The studio was actually more comforting than I expected, even with all the equipment in my face and surrounding us. *The main thing I recommend is to just focus on your interviewer and pretend you are having a conversation. I know that when I talk about something I’m really passionate about, like books, and when I know my topic well (in this case, myself and my book), then I feel more relaxed. Luckily, my interviewer was quite friendly. She was also very chatty during the interview, which allowed me time to come up with my responses.

Takeaways from my experience:

I think what went well is that I appeared genuine, and I truly enjoyed the interview. When the interviewer said we only had a few more minutes left, I was thinking, wow that went by quickly! The interviewer told me she thought I was a good conversationalist and that I seemed calm, which was great to hear and a huge surprise. She said she really enjoyed my enthusiasm too.

  • Turn those nerves into excitement, if you can. 

  • Try not to get too bogged down with how you answered questions or if you got it just right. The goal is for the general public to see authors as everyday people that they can relate to, not some perfect person on a pedestal. Just like your main character, you want to be authentic and relatable too. 

  • I will say that while I was very excited about my sparkly outfit, since my book is about stars, I discovered afterwards that I blended into the background a little bit. So you might want to consult with the station about what kind of background there will be and what colors they suggest you wear to make yourself stand out. 

  • Remember your ultimate goal is to share excitement about your book and hopefully gain some readership.

*And if all else fails, remember this. I said to my husband beforehand, what if I do something really wacky on TV? He said that was even better, because then more people would watch. More viewers means more potential readers. And who doesn’t want that? Good luck!

Watch A. Kidd's interview here:

A. Kidd is the middle child in a family of three girls. She started making up her own stories at age four. She has a B.S. in Written Communication with a minor in Language, Literature, and Writing from Eastern Michigan University and an MLIS with a specialization in children's librarianship from Wayne State University. Her poetry has been published in literary magazines. She is also an artist and a performance poet. ​​​​​​​

A. Kidd lives with her husband and daughter in a suburb of Detroit, MI. The Healing Star is her debut novel. She often wishes on stars but hasn't caught one yet.​​​​​​​

Learn more at her author page:

Find The Healing Star here:

SCBWI-MI Reminders

Monthly Shop Talks are now virtual and are open to everyone around the state. Go to events on our website to learn more: The best way to stay updated is to subscribe to our chapter listserv and social media channels. Go here to get connected:

The SCBWI-MI Nonfiction Mentorship Competition is already half-full of applicants for picture books. The submission window closes May 26th or when 30 applications are received, so don't delay! Everything you need to know for both mentorships is here:

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1 comment:

  1. Great tips! Thanks so much. Another piece I didn't realize is that unless the interview is live, the station will edit, edit, edit the tape so that run-on sentence will likely not run so long :)