Saturday, May 2, 2015

Books And Authors On The Radio: Notes Toward My Presentation for the American Society of Journalists and Authors 2015

ASJA 2015 Conference - The American Society of Journalist and Authors



Panelists: Author John Rosengren, Lee Mason - The John Batchelor Show, Sarah Russo - Literary Publicist, Susannah Greenberg - Susannah Greenberg Public Relations

May 2, 2015, Roosevelt Hotel, NY, NY

These are my notes for my presentation



Talk radio is convenient, especially radio interview by phone, as it is in the title of this panel, with the radio book tour, you promote your book without leaving home.

National and local markets can be reached. Both national and local markets are important. National, local, syndicated, terrestrial, AM, FM, Satellite, or Internet, all radio helps you reach your readers with relative ease.

Talk radio has an educated audience of readers and potential book buyers.  One could argue that an NPR booking is more valuable than a Today show booking because it has more readers in its audience and because it allows the author to have a more intelligent, in-depth conversation about his or her book.

  • Talk radio audiences are educated and engaged.  According to the most recent Talkers magazine Talk Radio Research Project in News Talk Radio:
    • 72 percent of listeners are ages 35 to 64.
    • 70 percent are college graduates or have attended college or graduate school.
    • Men comprise 58 percent; women 42 percent.
    • Almost three-fourths of listeners earn $30,000 to $79,000 a year.
    • 79 percent of those eligible to vote do.

Talk radio now has an extended life and reach by virtue of the Internet. Most radio interviews are now shared and archived indefinitely online reaching a global audience. In addition, links to your interviews can be shared across your own social media sites. VERY IMPORTANT.

MEDIA is MEDIA.  Radio is part of the media landscape and exists on social media and online as well. We no longer need to distinguish between “legacy” media and internet and social media. They are all interconnected and they all spell opportunity for authors and journalists to get media exposure.

ON RADIO TOURS: Leave no stone unturned. Do not ignore the “small” markets or show. There is much to be said for bookings on local radio done by telephone. Indeed an ENTIRE CAMPAIGN can consist of local radio done by telephone. You can reach all the markets in all the cities in all the country that way. and get long, attentive interviews. And, circling back to an earlier point, because of the internet, radio shows now have global reach and long lives and can be circulated via posting of links on all your social media. A marvelous benefit.


POSITIONING - Identify what your subjects are and all its related subjects too. Specificity.

MESSAGE - Plan your message. Know how to answer these questions. What is your book about? Who is it for? What will readers take away from reading it?

TRENDS - Leverage trends to increase your chances of getting booked. Follow what is: In the News; Trending in Social Media.

MILESTONES - A surefire PR tactic. Connect your story to: anniversary dates, birthdays, celebrations, seasonal, national days, weeks and months.  

Examples: My co-panelist, John Rosengren and his book Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes. Positioning: Sports, Baseball, American History, Culture, Religion, Judaism, Books, Authors, News Talk. Trends and in the News - watch for stories relating and be prepared with talking points and to be a pundit, Opening Day for example. Milestone Marketing: World Series, All Star Game, Baseball Career Statistics, Jewish Heritage Month (May), Jewish Book Month (November), Greenberg’s Birthday, January 1, 1911,  Regional interest - played for Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates, born in New York City.

Even poetry, and April is National Poetry Month could be a milestone, because Greenberg was famous for not playing the World Series on Rosh haShana, the Jewish New Year, because of his religious observance.  It was memorialized in the lines of columnist and poet Edgar Guest: in a poem titled "Speaking of Greenberg." The poem ends with the lines "We shall miss him on the infield and shall miss him at the bat / But he's true to his religion—and I honor him for that."

I was the launch publicist for National Poetry Month and can testify to the success in raising awareness, media coverage and sales of poetry books every April because of National Poetry Month.

General Examples of Milestone Marketing: For example, in May, you have Mother’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day. So, if you can establish and articulate a clear relationship between your book or expertise to a particular date or commemoration, and make that your pitch to the media,  in a timely manner, that is in advance of the date, you're very likely to get booked. 

May is national observance month for dozens of causes and issues, to name a few:

Google, Wikipedia and Twitter are all free ways to research trends, milestones, and events.

You can also purchase the book or e-book:

Chase's Calendar of Events 2016

The Ultimate Go-to Guide for Special Days, Weeks and Months, 59th Edition

KNOW YOUR MEDIA - Matching your content to the right media outlet is key. Tune in and listen. Microtarget with specificity. Use Google and Google Alerts to research which media contacts, journalists and producers are covering your topics.

You must create a pitch letter, press release, online press materials. Press materials should  include a book description, author biography, sample Q&A, list of and links to previous interviews, reviews and articles. Create an online audio sample interview if you have never been interviewed, using or other similar site. Upload a short YouTube video of yourself talking about your book. Create social media sites where you can post your press materials. Then, email and call media contacts, journalists, producers, general managers, news directors, bookers, by show or by beat as is appropriate.  

Pitch letters by email are your foot in the door. They must be concise and to the point. Link out to your online press materials and further information. That information is best housed on your web site.

While it important to reach a wide swath of media contacts, it is still best to hand sell to individual producers and show who are a good match and fit for your topic and book.

A subjective and hardly exhaustive list, there are so many shows! So many opportunities for authors to reach readers.

Any show on National Public Radio or its affiliates: AWESOME FOR AUTHORS!
NPR Morning Edition, and Saturday and Sunday Morning Editions
Studio 360 (NY, books, authors, the arts)
Diane Rehm Show (Washington, DC)
Invisibilia (science, behavior, psychology, new show on NPR)
Rush Limbaugh Show (conservative politics)
Hannity and the Hannity Book Club (conservative politics)
The Dave Ramsey Show Real Talk About Life and Money - Nationally Syndicated,  8.5 Million listeners and 550+ affiliates
Dr. Joy Browne - the number one host in relationships shows, with 19 consecutive years in the Talkers Heavy Hundred.
The John Batchelor Show, great for authors! 770 WABC-AM in New York City, 630 WMAL-AM in Washington, D.C., 630 WPRO-AM in Providence, and streaming on iTunes.

Note: Shows sometimes lean to the right or the left, politically. A liberal can appear on a conservative show and vice versa, but if you do this, you need to be prepared to stand the heat, or don’t go in the kitchen.

Note that this subjective list of top radio shows is by no means exhaustive, and more importantly, these are some of the most difficult and competitive shows to get booked on, so it would be wise to cast your net wider and pursue shows with smaller audiences too.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: If you simply do not have the time or the inclination to do all or any of the above, outsource, meaning hire a publicist.  If you are an author, hire a book publicist, specifically a book publicist, that is important.   Book-specific publicists are attuned to communicate complex information concisely.

If you can’t remember my name, just remember


Greenberg’s clients include publishers, authors, and book industry organizations. She was the launch publicist for the bestselling business book WHO MOVED MY CHEESE?, worked with bestselling author Alan Dershowitz, publicized BIRD SONGS, an illustrated bestselling book from Chronicle Books, and helped launch April is National Poetry Month. She is a member of the Women’s Media Group, past president of the Women’s National Book Association - NYC, and is slated to speak in May 2015 at Bookexpo America, the largest book trade show in North America.  She has also served as a publicist for the Book Industry Study Group, a judge for the Audies (audiobooks awards), and helped select the BookExpo America Young Adult “Buzz Picks.”

Some Tips My Distinguished Co-Panelists Shared:

Lee Mason of the John Batchelor Show:

  • They plan months or weeks in advance for reviews, and as little as a few days for short segments.
  • They need the topic of your book to have a clear relation to the news.
  • She recommends you never say no to any interview opportunity.
  • It is always best to email your pitch, include links, and send a finished book.
  • They actually read books and books must be well copyedited.
  • Emails should be brief and elegant, written with “lucidity and brevity.”
  • Frame the discussion.
  • Have a beginning, middle and end to your show idea.
  • Always use a landline.

Lee Mason

John Rosengren, author of numerous sports books including Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes:

  • He thinks hiring a radio specific book publicist is the best bang for the buck.
  • Be personal, persistent and polite when pitching yourself.
  • Tailor your pitch to the interests of each show, be it national or regional or a particular kind of show.
  • Warm up your voice before going on air.
  • Have a glass of water on hand.
  • Have anecdotes ready.
  • Let the host guide the show.
  • Expect most hosts will not have read the book.

John Rosengren

Sarah Russo, Literary Publicist:

  • Strongly advocates active engagement on Twitter as a way to get booked on radio.
  • Referenced working with Harvey J. Kaye @harveyjkaye and Roxane Gay @rgay as examples of authors leveraging Twitter to get bookings on radio and other media

Sarah Russo

A trailer for The John Batchelor Radio Show which does author interviews and book reviews:

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