Authors know that they need media interviews as part of their public relations campaign to promote their books. Yet many authors approach these interviews with a great degree of trepidation. Two questions often cause authors the most difficulty, yet they should be the easiest to answer.
What are the two questions that cause authors such issues? They are “tell me about your book” and “tell me what led you to write the book”. These two simple questions often cause many authors to stumble during an interview.
So how should they be answered?
- The tell me about your book question. This is usually the first question many interviewers ask an author. What they are not looking for is a synopsis off of Amazon about your book or an answer that some authors have given, “you will need to buy it to find out.” This latter answer will actually lead some interviewers to end the interview. So now that you know how not answer it, how should you answer it? By giving a 30 to 45 second elevator pitch describing the book in general terms. What you are seeking to do is generate interest in the book without giving away the whole story; and cause the audience to want to rush out and purchase your book. In your answer, you should describe what genre the book is, what are some overlying themes in the book, and who might be interested in purchasing the book.
- The tell me what led you to write this book question. This is the ‘why’ question. It is the very essence of your author brand. Often this answer motivates readers to purchase the book as much as the first question. People like to hear about the inspirational reasons that led a person to write the book. Many times, this will generate more reader interest than any other facet about the book. For example, we once represented a romance author whose story was so compelling that it led to several national media appearances, a jump in book sales, and an option for the book to be made into a film. Her reason of why she wrote the book was that she had been a high-profile Wall Street trader and one day was in a car accident that nearly killed her. As she was recovering she decided to pursue her dream of writing a romance book and gave up her career to pursue this dream. Stories like this generate a reader response. The audience wants an inspirational reason for the author brand that they can buy into.
If you are promoting your book, you will be asked these two questions at some point. Rather than stumble when answering, be prepared and hit it out of the ballpark with strong answers that will make readers want to rush out and buy your book.