September 26, 2007
Radio Interviews = Poor Book Sales for Authors? By Angela Hoy | printable version
In last week's missive, I discussed disappointing book sales resulting from authors appearing as guests on radio shows. I inquired if readers have had similar or different experiences and asked you to to share your experiences. All but one of you reported poor book sales. The one positive email I received wasn't actually sent by the author himself, but by the radio host who interviewed him. However, some of you did report other good things that resulted from your radio interviews. Here's what you said:
Enjoyed your article Can Radio Interviews Still Sell Books?
I have been interviewed on five radio shows and although my book is selling well, I can not attribute any sales to these radio interviews. You hear and read a great deal about how important it is to get radio interviews to increase your book sales. Until I read your article, I was wonder what I was doing wrong. Given your welcome advice, I will cut back on my efforts to get radio interviews - if they approach me great - and focus my energies to online promotion activities such as articles and blogs.
Live Your Dreams Let Reality Catch Up
I also liked your article about radio interviews. Mine didn't do much good except re-acquaint me with a friend I hadn't talked to in decades. Like you, I've found online sales to be the best, particularly to people likely to buy books related to the topic.
Bruce Atchison - author of When a Man Loves a Rabbit
I agree with you about traditional radio shows - I've done a couple and they really didn't move books. However, I started a weekly radio show at NowLive.com called Elemental Musings for writers and creatives, and although I've only broadcasted a couple of times, I've ended up selling books after every broadcast.
I'm not sure if it's beginner's luck or what, but I do think that while Internet broadcasts are not as effective as other kinds of marketing, archived shows and weekly broadcasts may eventually lead to more sales.Time will tell.
Thanks for the excellent advice and newsletter, as always!
May you be blessed in your life and your work!
Author, Sun Signs for Writers (Writer's Digest Books)
Author, Mending Fences (Whiskey Creek Press)
Co-author, The Complete Writer: A Guide To Tapping Your Full Potential (Red Engine Press)
My selling experience (From the Teacher's Desk)via radio and television interviews has been the same as yours - crappy. It ranks right down there withsome book signings. I sell most of my booksat mypublic speaking venues (conferences, service clubs, senior groups, etc.) and through my Web site at http://www.theteachersdesk.com.
I've been interviewed on two radio talk shows. One was a liveInternet show, and one was a taped interview. Neither interview resulted in a single book sale. I did enjoy the interview experience and list it on myauthor's bio. I agree with your comments regarding being creative in using different mediums to try and market a book, but in general, I don't think radio is effective.
I listen to NPR and will occasionally remember the author or title of a book I hear discussed, but I am more likely to purchase a book based on a written article or review.
Forgotten Tears A Grandmother's Journey Through Grief
I agree with you. Selling a book via radio interview is a poor way to sell it. A writer is lucky if he sells one book that way. I've had a couple of radio interviews. No books sold to my knowledge.
The greatest "success" was when two women came to a book reading at a book store after hearing one of the interviews. They listened, they applauded, but neither bought a book.
Joseph P. Ritz, author of I NEVER LOOKED FOR MY MOTHER and Other Regrets of a Journalist
I found this week's WritersWeeklyarticle of interest since Iwas recentlyinterviewedby apopular local radiohost about my book. Like yourself, I have not seen any increase in book sales but I found it interesting to note that it did help metoline upspeaking engagements and workshops at local businesses, which then gives me another avenue to sell my books.
All my best to you and the family.
Author of Reflections On The Art Of Balance
Lessons In Mind, Body, and Spirit
In response to your article about whether radio interviews help sell books, I've enclosed (below) a letter from an author I interviewed last fall on KDNK Community Radio in Carbondale, CO. Dr. Don Hoglund wrote a fabulous book, Nobody's Horses: The Dramatic Rescue of the Wild Herd of the White Sands. I hope you will see the power of public radio. Thanks.
Amy Hadden Marsh
To whom it may concern:
I completed an on air interview with Amy Hadden Marsh for my book - Nobody's Horses: The Dramatic Rescue of the Wild Herd of White Sands. Not only was the setup for the call and the call itself professional, Amy was the best interviewer I worked with for the more than 30 radio calls. She knew the subject of wild horses as well as anyone I've ever talked to. I was treated with respect, had no negative or trick questions asked of me, and Amy's follow-up continued until all of my questions were answered. It could not have been done better. Book sales skyrocketed for me within 12 hours, at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The follow-up card that Amy sent me of Colorado, fall aspens is still front and center on my desk. It will always remain there. In fact, I think Amy's interview helped me sell the dramatic rights for the book to a major studio in Hollywood.
I do have another book coming out in fall 2008 about DVMs and animal communication, Simon and Schuster, and I will call Amy personally for a request that she interview us again.
Don Hoglund MS, DVM
I agree completely with your assessment and have had similar experiences doing radio interviews both online and off-line. Even though the Internet radio shows can be archived, I doubt that anyone has bought my book that way, although I do occasionally notice on my website that people have visited from the archived radio site, so I don't consider that particular interview to be a total waste of time. Also, because the show that Iwas on previously featured big-time people like Deepak Chopra and Andrew Weil, I can always brag about it, which makes my book sound important :-)
Regular network radio has been a complete waste of time for me whereas I have had great success with network TV. Strangely, I've sold more books by doing interviews with little local papers than I have with large regional ones.
Like you, I tend to sell best when I'm interacting one-on-one with people on a message board, chat room or on My Space.com. I have two books -- one is a novel and the other is nonfiction. The novel sells best on My Space but the nonfiction book, related to hip replacement, sells by people finding it on Amazon or going to Amazon directly from a link that I placed on my hip replacement website.
I also have a guestbook on my websites and leave my e-mail address. I strongly encourage people to contact me and I answer all of my mail. I know that's hard to do but I answer and chat with people even when they don't buy books and often times, down the line they will buy a book or tell a friend. People seem to want that one-on-one connection.
Oh, and I write articles, blog frequently and chat with folks who leave comments so as to establish a strong Internet presence. I have about five or six different blogs and at least 20 or 30 articles up on various websites, some of which have reciprocal links to mine and others that don't. The reciprocal linking has been critical to my sales and Google ranking.
Thanks for your article!
I agree with you 100% about radio interviews not translating into
sales. It's crossing mediums. It's like putting your website URL on
a TV show, it takes a lot for people to remember it, then go do it.
Even in a car, they have to acknowledge they want your book, and
remember the 1-800 number, after usually only hearing it once. Some
people say "but I say the number once at the start of the show too!"
but no one calls or takes down the number, since they don't know
anything about your book yet. I can't count how many times I've been
interviewed and had little or no sales results from them. I see them
mostly now as position "items" and promo recordings I can send out,
not sales drivers.
There is nothing wrong with having the phone number, especially on
your website, since you might have some people that are still
paranoid about ordering things online, but the radio sales
expectations always get let down.
When I had my first book published by another POD publisher in
2002 my publisher didn't do any promotion for me and since I had
been recently widowed had no way of publicizing my book, so I
jumped at the chance to do an Internet radio interview but, while
it was good experience, I got zilch out of it as far as book
sales were concerned.