Don't forget, tomorrow is P.J. Coldren's third guest blog, this time on favorite books. Trust me, she's got a lot of them, and she does a great job with the topic.
At 7:00 am I was interviewed by a reporter for an upcoming presentation. The thought struck me that it helps to prepare. Now isn't that profound?
Yes, I prepare for my presentations. I practice, I check my bag of supplies three times (at least) to be sure everything I might need is in there. I plan my route and check with the host a few days before to confirm we're on the same page as to times and such. I update the speech, dropping things that were awkward or blah and adding new tidbits: websites I've discovered or tricks of the trade.
It took me a while, however, to get into the habit of preparing for publicity. As writers we want it, but we also need to think about what we want to get out of it. Of course you know there are two types of publicity: the kind you pay for and the kind you hope for. When you pay, you choose what is said and you have time to think about what it will say. When you send out information in a press release, you also have time to consider its content, although you have less control over how much of it get into the publication. However, in interviews, you usually aren't told ahead of time what the reporter will ask, so you need to think about time what might be asked, how you will answer, and how you can slide in what you want to say.
I watched Ann Coulter being interviewed the other night, and her method was to simply ignore what the reporter asked and talk about her book. Not my style, but I can (sweetly, I hope) add details to my responses that I'd like the public to know. Generally I make a list of what I'd like people to know and then as the reporter asks questions, I work those things in. Where can a person buy my book? What's the book about? How much fun will you have if you show up for my events? You'd be surprised how often reporters don't ask what the interviewee would like included. A reporter's focus might be the single event I'm presenting in their town, like my Mystery Talk. Yes, I want to pull people in to that event, but I also want those who aren't going to be there to learn about MACBETH'S NIECE, which doesn't happen to be a mystery. It's up to me to know where I want the interview to go so that I'm not a passive (and therefore rather dull) interview subject. Thinking ahead, interviewing yourself and figuring out what image you'd like to present and what details you want (and don't want) revealed is a valuable exercise for any writer. If you can do it without steamrolling the poor reporter, that's even better.