Using Radio to Promote Book Signings

M. K. Albus By M. K. Albus, 30th Jun 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Writing>Blogging

If you have published a book and are planning book signings, there are ways to use radio to promote your book signings for free. It is easier than you think.

You Can Get on the Radio For Free

In my 35-year career in the book industry I set up hundreds and hundreds of book signings. When it comes to promoting a book signing I've learned a lot about what works and what does not. I have found that the most successful way to promote a book signing involves zero money. I am talking about radio but I am not talking about radio advertising. Personally, I never listen to the radio (can't stand the noise) but apparently a whole lot of people do. Many popular radio stations will have a morning talk show and do interviews. They are always looking for ways to eat time, so to speak, so they will gladly agree to do a radio interview with you promoting your new book and your book signing. And it costs nothing!

One time I was approached by two female authors who asked me to set up book signings for them. They were friends and both wrote in the same fiction genre so I suggested that they do a book signing together. They came to me together in a spirit of mutual support but for some reason they did not want to do a signing together so I scheduled a signing for each of them on consecutive weekends.

I told them what I told just about every author and that was to contact the local radio station and set up an interview the morning of, or the day before, their book signing. I told them it was free and they would not have to talk for more than about 15 minutes. Both women were utterly terrified of this and I was not surprised by this. Most authors are.

Despite my reassuring and encouraging words, the first woman absolutely refused to do this. She was just too terrified of public speaking, even though it was strictly audio and there was no visual audience present. Although we did some other promotion she only ended up selling four books at her book signing.

The other woman was just as terrified of doing an interview but she bit the bullet, so to speak, and decided to try to overcome her fears. She did the interview and she ended up selling 39 books at her book signing. These numbers are fairly representative of the impact of free radio interviews in promoting a book signing. (Both book signings took place in a small town with a population under 10,000 people.)

I heard the second woman's interview and she stumbled and fumbled and stuttered but her signing was still successful. She obviously was not a confident, professional speaker. She was not a cunning linguist. But that is a good thing! People like to hear that you are a normal human being. It is actually more effective than being a trained speaker. People could relate to her so they felt comfortable coming down to meet her in person.

You can spend all sorts of money on advertising but I have never seen that be more effective than a simple and free 10 or 15 minute radio interview. It is very easy to set up. Just ask to speak with someone at the radio station who arranges those things. Most radio DJ's are very helpful in setting you at ease and making you feel comfortable. Make a short list of some of the things you want to talk about. Talk more about the book than yourself. And most importantly, just be yourself and speak just like you would speak to a friend. If you are an absolute newbie do not be afraid to point that out. You would be amazed how supportive people can be.

Short radio interviews are most effective in medium to small markets but I have found that they are always effective anywhere. For personal reasons I no longer do book signings for my own books but back when I did I found that book signings that were preceded by a short radio interview were three to thirty times more successful than signings using only other promotional methods. Give it a try.

One more thing that I learned is that multi-author book signings can be even more successful. Some authors have said to me that they are afraid that more than one author dilutes the number of books sold between authors but all the numbers I have ever seen refute this. A multi-author book signing is more of an event and draws more people and it increases sales for all authors involved. So get together with your author friends and do it together. it is also a good idea to do the radio interview together.

Those are my helpful hints for writers for today.


Book Marketing, Books, Bookselling, Booksigning, Marketing, Promotion, Radio, Writing

Meet the author

author avatar M. K. Albus
M. K. Albus is a freelance writer, editor and publisher who writes both opinion columns and informative non-fiction articles on food, environment and sustainability.

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