Radio Interviews = Poor Book Sales for Authors?

Good morning:

I’m not surprised so many of your correspondents, yourself included, report getting very few sales from doing radio interviews. Radio is a frequency medium–doing one five-minute interview (or even a whole hour) is like buying one commercial. It simply isn’t going to work. Radio advertising works because it gets inside listeners’ heads through repetition, so when they’re at the point of making a purchase, they remember a place where they can make that purchase.

No self-respecting radio sales rep would sell a client one spot and be done with it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been around the sales end of the radio biz, but as I recall, it’s typical to put together a package for a new advertiser that has their ad on five or ten times a day (depending on the station’s format) for a week or two—only then can an advertiser start to expect results.

James A. Bartlett


I think a lot of people miss one of the big reasons why radio interviews are duds compared to TV or newspaper. I would bet a large percentage of radio listeners are listening while driving. I did during my road-warrior traveling teacher days. I’d hear a great review or interview while going down some Texas highway, and mean to get the book, but by the time I stopped I had forgotten the title — or the author — or the interview.

No one drives while watching TV (if they do, it is like putting chlorine in the gene pool). You see something interesting while you are watching, you jot it down. Newspapers are permanent. So both motivate people to buy. But if you really want a book to soar to the top of the best-seller lists, get it plugged on Instapundit, National Review’s “The Corner,” or some other big blog.

Mark Lardas
League City, TX


Hello Angela,

A brief follow-up to my note to you re: Can Radio Interviews Still Sell Books.

In my note, I agreed with you that radio interviews generate few book sales. You may be interested to know that my comments (featured in WritersWeekly), which included a link to my website, generated a larger spike in traffic over the past two days than any of the radio interviews. This supports your point that it is better to participate in on-line discussions and publications.

Best wishes.
Roger Ellerton PhD, CMC
Author of Live Your Dreams Let Reality Catch Up