#5onFri: Five Steps to Giving an Awesome Podcast Interview

by Marielle Orff
published in Community

A lot of you Word Nerds out there have the goal of writing and publishing a book. After you’ve accomplished that goal (and after the mandatory celebration of your awesomeness) you would also probably like someone (other than your mom) to read it, right?

Of course, no one is going to read your book if they don’t know about your book. But with the hundreds of thousands of books that get published how do you, one author, break through the white noise and be heard?

One of the best ways is through getting yourself some podcast interviews. These are great because they get you right into the ears of your potential readers from anywhere in the world without even leaving your house.  

As the producer of DIY MFA Radio, I hear a lot of author interviews. The raw, unedited kind. Some interviews are better than others, and a good audio editor can clean up a recording to make the author shine, but you still want to put your best foot forward.

With that in mind here are five steps to give the best most awesome podcast interview you can.

Please note this article assumes you have already been accepted as a guest on a podcast, and  is not about pitching to be one (that’s a whole other kettle of fish).

1) Send the host/producer a copy of your book

It is of vital importance to giving an awesome interview that you send the host a copy of your book well in advance of your recording date. You are wanting to be on this interview to promote your book, so the host will need to have time to read said book.

You can be all set to discuss your book, but if the host has no idea what it’s is even about, they are not going to be able to ask you many questions, which would make for a very boring interview. And no one wants to listen to a boring interview.

2) Stop. Breathe. Relax.

Here’s the hard truth: When you are on your interview you will be nervous. There’s no way to fight that clammy, chest-constricting, anxiety that comes with public speaking. So don’t. Accept that you will be nervous, and that that’s okay because everyone gets nervous. Even some of the most seasoned authors, who have been on countless interviews, still get nervous when they have to speak. But they do it, and so can you.

Right before the interview starts, take a few deep breaths and relax your whole body as much as possible. Ask the host questions if you are confused about anything or have certain concerns you would like to address. Remember: the host wants your interview to sound awesome, too. And while it doesn’t stop you from being nervous, knowing that this interview is pre-recorded and there’s an audio editor that’s got your back if you have a major blooper does help to ease some of the tension. Especially after you make said major blooper.

3) Pause and collect your thoughts

At some point in your interview your train of thought will become derailed and you will begin to stumble over the words to that perfect answer you were giving a second ago.

The temptation will be there to simply push through all the uh’s and um’s until you find the right words again. But that only serves to make you more nervous the longer you can’t find them. It’s a vicious cycle, so don’t start it in the first place.

When you begin to fumble for words, stop talking. Pause for a minute to give your missing train of thought a chance to get back on track. Then start your answer over. The host doesn’t want to rush you, and if you repeat words when you start again, that’s okay. Remember, podcast interviews are pre-recorded, so an audio editor will be coming in to clean up any bloopers and make you sound as awesome as you are.

4) Watch your language

Using curse words may not seem like a big concern, but shows can get shut down for using certain not-so-PG language without transparency. For example, iTunes (the biggest syndication network for podcasts) will remove a podcast if certain words are used and not noted according to their guidelines.

Some shows don’t mind explicit language, but others do. When people see a podcast episode with either an “e” for explicit or a “c” for clean (meaning the curse words are bleeped out) it may deter them from downloading and listening to the episode. This is not to say that you can never use a curse word during your interview. If you let one or two slip out you won’t get flagged (plus an audio editor can edit those out), but if you start dropping f-bombs or your language affects the interview’s quality that could be a problem. If the show you are on doesn’t want to mark their episodes as explicit they may decide to not air your episode even after recording it.

You don’t want to go through all the effort of giving an interview, only for no one to hear it. So when it comes to your language be on the safe side and keep it clean unless the word holds a particular artistic significance to your book. To see an example of what I mean by this check out this DIY MFA Radio episode with author NoNieqa Ramos.

5) Be courteous

You want to give a good interview, but you also want to be remembered as a good interviewee. Make sure you show up on time, and if you must reschedule do so as far in advance as you can. Showing up late or, worse, not all, is very unprofessional. Emergencies do happen, but at least shoot the host a quick email saying that you have had an emergency and will not be able to make your scheduled interview time.

Also, be nice when you’re on the interview, and remember to thank the host for having you on their show. You do not want to be remembered as the guest that showed up late and then was rude. Because people talk. The podcaster community is smaller than you think, and everyone knows the interviewees to avoid. Don’t be one of them by forgetting your manners.

Giving a good podcast interview can really set you apart from all the other authors out there. You create connections with people in a similar way to doing in-person events but on a much larger scale. And it’s that feeling of connection that will get people interested in your book.

Just be your honest awesome self and you can’t go wrong!

Marielle Orff is a freelance writer, content strategist, and podcast producer who strives to help authors manage their online presence so they can put their best foot forward. As a content strategist she takes the stress of content marketing off authors and streamlines their process so they can focus their attention on what really matters: their writing. She is the producer of DIY MFA Radio, has worked as the audio editor for the Writer’s Digest Podcast, and is the Content Strategist for DIYMFA.com. She is currently hard at work on a YA science fiction novel (with just a touch of fantasy) about the strong, intimate bonds between siblings, and conquering evil through sheer awesomeness. To connect with Marielle check out her website at marielleorff.com.

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