Radio, TV and Podcasts

Nancy J. Cohen

I haven’t ventured far into the world of podcasts, radio interviews or TV appearances. As an author, I’d rather spend my time writing the next book. Nonetheless, I’ve done a few radio spots via telephone, but I don’t seek them out. Somehow the thought of a microphone or camera aimed my way with hundreds of invisible listeners makes me nervous.

A telephone interview can be fun if done with a dynamic host who knows all the right questions to keep things flowing. The interviews I’ve done to date have gone well in this respect. But I’m wondering how these shows serve the reader and if they’re worth the time spent.

Do you listen to these shows? Have you ever bought a book based on an author interview you’ve heard/seen on the air?


Do any of you listen to podcasts? Do they influence you to follow an author’s social media sites? Buy his books? Or do you just tune in to learn what you can and then move on? Are podcasts essential to one’s media kit?

For those of you who’ve done these types of appearances, have they led to other valuable contacts? Have listeners responded? Besides the publicity, did you gain an upsurge in sales? Or did you merely enjoy the experience?

One of the speakers on “Radio for Writers” at a Florida Chapter MWA meeting recently stressed that the story isn’t about your book. It’s about you as a person and your journey as an author. Finding that unique angle or local slant is what would interest her as a reporter. See her tips for authors here:

So what’s your take on this whole live media business? Is it worth pursuing or is your time as a writer better spent working on the next book?

Speaking of radio interviews, I’ll be appearing at on Friday, October 10 at 6:00 pm EDT. I hope you will tune in!


14 thoughts on “Radio, TV and Podcasts

  1. I have followed up on radio interviews and some TV appearances and checked out some books (and music), based on what I heard and learned about the writer (s)~ and generally because the interviews did focus on their craft and process while “plugging” their respective most recent work. The show I catch these on are typically broader themed than just about books or writing (NPR’s Morning Edition & All Things Considered, Fresh Aire, Bob Edwards, and even Hugh Hewitt’s drivetime talk-radio program).
    I tend to not “do” podcasts ~ not sure why~ maybe when I’m at the keyboard I’m too focused on what I’m doing (or should be doing) to pay proper “audio” attention.
    And my one telephone interview, as a songwriter, was, interestingly enough, on a web-based radio program. While kind of a rush, I don’t think it reached a big enough audience (hence my day job in lieu of beating around the country on a media tour ~ it couldn’t’ve been MY “performance” on air, could it?)

  2. I had a flash story accepted by Every Day Fiction called “A Message” and Folly Blaine made a podcast of it. Did an excellent job. I enjoyed listening to my characters and having a podcast looked good on my writing resume but no idea if it garnered me any followers.

    I listen to CBC, love Stuart McLean, and will check out authors they highlight.

  3. I follow indie author Lindsay Buroker. She posts about her experience as an indie: what works, what doesn’t, what she’ll try in the future. She records podcasts while she’s on her daily walk. She hadn’t posted many podcasts before she got requests for transcripts from people like me who prefer to read rather than listen. She explained she didn’t have time to make transcripts (especially for an activity that she feels doesn’t make her any money), and eventually a fan volunteered to do them gratis. Based on her experience, I would have to question whether podcasts contribute to the bottom line.


    • Yes, I wonder too, although they probably help with name recognition. I suppose one should view podcasts as another tool in our promotional arsenal.

  4. Good subject, Nancy.

    First, thanks for the notification of your father’s book. I bought it. I haven’t read it yet, but am looking forward to doing so.

    I don’t listen to radio, so I haven’t heard any author interviews. I have bought books and begun following authors who’ve done guest posts on this site.

    From the other perspective, as a physician I’ve done radio interviews on an area of special interest, and only received a trickle of patients for consults on that problem. However, I do TV ads in a nearby city for another procedure, and I get a steady stream of patients driving the 45 miles to my office.

    From the feedback patients give me, I would agree with your advice “…It’s about you as a person and your journey…” People buys products and services from people they like. The more you have the opportunity to “make friends” with your listeners or viewers, the more successful you will be.

    Thanks for the post.

  5. A few years back I was a local talk-radio host with over 30k listeners here in Alaska and had an international comedy/politics podcast (think a Conservative John Stewart). I’ve interviewed several authors, even a couple from here at TKZ, and to be honest was never sure how much the interviews helped gain an audience of readers for them. I will say though that with both interviewees from TKZ (Michelle Gagnon and John Gilstrap) there were a handful of calls, IMs and emails requesting more info on the books so I assume they got at least those half-dozen customers.

    That said, getting radio and TV interviews can be a mixed bag depending on how of the particular area’s listening audience are also readers. That is dependent on the format, topic, book genre as well.

    At the moment I still host an audiobooks video podcast on Youtube, but it is primarily focused on narrators and wannabe narrators….and it helps me mentally by acting silly public on a regular basis.

    • getting radio and TV interviews can be a mixed bag depending on how of the particular area’s listening audience are also readers.

      Should read

      getting radio and TV interviews can be a mixed bag depending on how MUCH of the particular area’s listening audience are also readers.

    • Thanks, Basil, for sharing your insights. It’s hard to know what promotional activity has an impact, but you are right in that we’re better to target an audience of readers. One hopes this is who tunes in to listen to an author on the air.

  6. I have a short attention span. I get distracted (and bored) really easily. This makes me a bad listener. So I normally ignore pod casts, no matter how helpful they promise to be, when they land in mail box.
    The only thing I’m good at listening to is audiobooks. I’m addicted to audiobooks. I listen to them everyday while doing just about anything.

  7. As a former radio broadcaster, I can testify to the power of the medium. (It may not pay well, but it’s powerful.) For podcasts, I listen regularly to those posted on Art of Manliness. The other day I bought “Left of Bang” after hearing its author on one of the ‘casts.

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