In May, 2015, I was interviewed by publicist Cathy Lewis (C.S. Lewis Publicity) about whether or not radio sells book. Of course, my answer was a resounding YES! Here is that interview.
Does Radio Sell Books?
Q & A with Julia Schopick, Amazon.com bestselling author of HONEST MEDICINE: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life-Threatening Diseases.
Is TV a better platform than radio for selling books? Many of my authors ask me. So I asked Julia Schopick, bestselling author of the book HONEST MEDICINE, to talk about WHY she feels RADIO is the best way to promote and sell books. I think you’ll find her answers fascinating.
Q: You’re a huge fan of being interviewed on radio. Why?
A: Even before my book was published, I knew I wanted radio to be the main means of getting my message out there. I’m a long-time fan of talk radio, because it gives the guest time to tell a story. Stories are what make that connection to the listener, and that’s what sells books. Television, on the other hand, is more about a sound bite. Also, unless you’re a New York Times bestselling author with a very topical message and a big publishing house, it’s hard to get booked. If you do, chances are you’ve got a few minutes at most. That’s not enough time to say very much.
Q: How many books have you sold?
A: At last count, around 30,000 books, which is a lot for an independently published book. I was so fortunate that I got to be a guest—twice—on “Coast to Coast AM,” one of the best shows for selling books. The show has several hosts, including George Noory, one of my favorites. He interviewed me both times. The first time, the phones just lit up with people waiting to ask me questions—it was electric! The next day my book reached #49 out of ALL the books on Amazon.com. In that one month I got over 400 emails and at least 50 phone calls, and sold over 1,500 books. Even better was that I could reach and help hundreds of people, all the result of being on that one show. The next time I was on “Coast to Coast AM” a few years later, the same thing happened.
Q: “Coast to Coast” is a great show, to be sure — and a big one. What about smaller radio shows?
A: I love them, too. The key is consistency: go on as many radio shows, both terrestrial and Internet, as you can. Sometimes that show you think is just a minor show will sell books, too. And since shows are often archived on the station or a host’s website, there’s a shelf life: people can listen to it long after it aired, and that gives your appearance and book even more legs.
Q: And do you use social media to promote your radio appearances?
A: Absolutely. Especially Facebook: I promote an upcoming appearance both before and after the show.
Q: Interesting. And how does that work?
A: Well, often these shows are broadcast on the Internet at the same time as they are being broadcast locally on the radio. And if the show is an Internet show, it’s also being broadcast online. So I’ll post to my Facebook followers that I’m going to be on a particular show, provide a link, and tell people to click on “listen live.”
Q: Do you post on more than one Facebook page?
A. All the time. I post on both my Facebook pages: my personal page and my book’s fan page. And I’ll post on other pages too. Some of the treatments my book features have group pages: Low Dose Naltrexone, or LDN, for autoimmune diseases, has a number of them, with a total of about 30,000 members. I’m active on these pages, so if I know I’ll be discussing LDN on the show, I’ll post there. I make sure to include all the information: “I’ll be on the _____ show in 2 hours (1pm Pacific/2pm Mountain/3pm Central/4pm Eastern). Here’s the link to ‘listen live’: ______. We’ll be talking about LDN.” It’s important to give the details and not just a link.
Q: And after a show has aired, how do you promote that appearance?
A: I do the same thing for the already-aired show, along with an “in case you missed it…” and the link. Facebook is great for this purpose. It really keeps my shows in front of people.
Q: Since you sell so many books as a result of being on the radio, I imagine you’re a really good guest. Are there any “tricks” you’d like to share with our readers?
A: I love this question. Some authors tell me, “I’ve been on lots of radio shows, but I haven’t sold many books.” I wish I had the nerve to tell them, “Well, maybe you weren’t a very good guest!” I don’t say that, but it’s the truth: you have to be a good guest.
Q: What makes a good guest?
A: I’m starting to coach other authors on this, and I’ve created a tip sheet: “10 Hints for Being a Great Radio Interview Guest.” Anyone who wants it can write to me at Julia@HonestMedicine.com. Just make sure you put “10 Hints” or “tip sheet” in the subject line.
Here are a few:
• Don’t do the interview on a cell phone. Huge mistake. Hosts hate them, and they have reason to: the reception can be spotty and the call may get dropped. So always use a land line phone.
• Find a quiet spot. Again, this may seem a bit obvious, but no kids, no dogs, no fax sounds, no printers whirring in the background.
• Help your host. Ahead of time, prepare a Question & Answer sheet and a packet of information and promotional materials about the book, and get it to them ahead of time. Many authors do send some questions they want to be asked. But I think it’s the combination of questions and answers that gives the host a context to work from. Don’t expect the host to have necessarily read your book. I’ve had several hosts tell me as much. Fortunately, well-crafted questions and answers can really save the day.
• Thank them. Be sure to send a “thank you” email to the host after the interview; and if the producer has been particularly helpful, email him or her, as well.
Q: How about the radio interview itself: any hints?
A: First and foremost, remember that this is a conversation. You are talking, so never, ever read your answers by rote. That’s the one risk of having a prepared Q & A. So don’t memorize the answers. Just use them as a guide.
Second, be sure you use your host’s name several times during the interview. Don’t assume that while you’re on the air you’ll remember it, or after doing a number of shows, you’ll be able to keep all the hosts’ names straight. So write it down, and keep it visible.
Third, speak with life and inflection. Monotone answers are deadly! They’ll put the host to sleep and send your listeners into a coma — or at least to another radio show.
Q: Do you have any advice for the professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc.) who have written books?
A: Yes, I do. Drop the jargon! Physician authors often don’t realize they’re talking in doctor-speak, for instance. But laypeople may not know what a hematoma is, so instead, say “bruise.” Be clear and consider your audience.
Q: There seems to be a difference of opinion about whether you should “plug” your book on the air, or not.
A: This one is tricky, I agree. I usually mention the title of my book at least a few times, though. And I often say “In my book . . .” without naming it. An enthusiastic host will most likely do your work for you. Another way to do it is to say, “As Dr. Burt Berkson points out in my book . . .” and then, make what follows really compelling, so that the audience is so interested in the idea you just brought up that they forget you just plugged the book.
Q: So what, in your opinion, are the biggest mistakes authors make on the radio?
A: Ah. Well, don’t forget to maintain a sense of humor. Even if your book has a message you’re incredibly passionate about, don’t just be serious and somber. My book, HONEST MEDICINE, is the result of my fifteen years as caregiver for my husband, who was a brain tumor patient. That’s hardly a “fun” subject. But I still make sure to tell humorous anecdotes. That way, I always have FUN being interviewed on the radio. My host has fun, and my listeners do, too.
Q: Any last hints?
A: Yes, as I just said: Have fun on your radio interviews. This will make your host’s job easier—and it will sell books, too!
HERE ARE A FEW RADIO INTERVIEWS WITH JULIA: