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TV Interview Tips For Authors

As a C-SPAN BookTV watcher, observing the mistakes of on-air authors and a one-time seminar leader and corporate video department manager:

1. Have your talk well prepared and rehearsed, try writing it out and rehearsing in a mirror.

2. Have your top 20 likely audience questions and answers well prepared and rehearsed.

3. Have your book displayed behind you, multiple copies, so the TV can pick up the cover.

4. Better yet go to Kinko's and get a blow up of your book mounted on foam board and at Office Depot buy an inexpensive easel; have the book blow up next to you, on your left. The camera will like to have something other than a "talking head" to shoot.

5. Dress appropriately, but avoid solid bright colors and very fine patterns, cameras don't like them, get a hair cut, wear make up to cover pimples, etc.

6. Bring a few friends and have them ask the first questions.

7. Watch your time, better to talk less with more impact, than too long and be boring. Get to Q&A soon, the give and take is more interesting.

8. If you can be funny in this situation, do it. It humanizes you.

9. Smile.

10. Have your opening sentence or paragraph down cold; delivering this right will give you confidence for the rest.

11. Don't talk fast.

12. Connect with you audience; you know how, you do this already with people in your life.

13. People in the audience likely won't know that you are nervous.

14. Have a supportive friend sit in the middle of the audience and nod when he or she understands your point, smile when you say something amusing, look intently when you say something serious or important; focus on him or her if you are having trouble.

15. If you are given a difficult or unexpected question, take your time before answering it, don't make up an answer, consider giving one of your prepared stock answers and moving on -- you are not obligated to answer the question posed; politicians on TV often answer with the message they want to communicate not what they are asked.

16. Get a copy of the tape, if you can. Use for improvement and PR and your web site. Ask well before the day of the event if you can get a copy, perhaps by buying and bringing a blank tape; ask them what video tape format.

17. Remember why you wrote this book, the message that you are trying to communicate to the world; hold that closest to your heart.

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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