Each year, over four million new titles emerge for non-fiction personal and business development books and increased access to self-publishing means thousands of them are written by high-level entrepreneurs and business professionals. These books have the power to impact lives, share valuable insights, and establish the authors as thought leaders, but a big challenge occurs on how do they rise above the noise to reach a target audience to promote the book on TV talk shows that can lead to not only becoming a recognized expert, but ultimately increase sales.
The problem with promoting a non-fiction book is cutting through the clutter with thousands of authors who are also seeking limited interview spots on talk shows. Marianne Schwab is a former national network TV Talk Show Producer who has a deep understanding of what media decision makers look for when booking authors as guests and recently revealed her list of five blunders to avoid that can kill the results of securing interviews.
1. Focusing Solely on Self-Promotion. While promoting a book is essential, solely focusing on self-promotion is a common mistake. TV talk shows, and also podcast producers, are primarily focused on delivering value to their audience. If the pitch is solely about the book and how great it is, it will come across as self-serving. Marianne suggests, “You need to focus on one or two problems that you solve as a professional and refer to in the book. When I book an author or work with one to secure talk show interviews, I like to look at the table of contents and pick out of the best bits that I know viewers are going latch on to. By framing your pitch around the audience’s needs, you’ll be seen as a valuable guest rather than a self-promoter. I want to book an expert who has great problem solving tips and having written a book establishes their credibility.”
2. Creating a Media Alert that Simply Announces a New Book. It may seem logical to create a headline and media alert that is a new book announcement, but unless a book author is already a recognized expert or celebrity, this will not set them apart from a stack of pitches on a producer’s desk. The media alert should have a hook that grabs the producer in a way they can use it to grab viewer interest to tune in to their show or click on the interview when it’s uploaded to their website. According to Marianne, “The media alert headline should set up a problem that reading your book solves. For example, if you’re a real estate professional, the headline might be ‘Three Mistakes New Home Buyers Make that Cost Them Thousands.’ Your book may cover more, but a TV interview segment generally only has three to four minutes.”
3. Neglecting Audience Relevance. One of the most common mistakes authors make is failing to consider the relevance of their book to the show’s audience. It is a waste of time to send out hundreds of pitches to every talk show or podcast without understanding who the audience is for program. “Before reaching out to producers, take the time to research their content thoroughly. Understand their target demographic, the topics they typically cover, and the issues their audience cares about. Your pitch should clearly demonstrate how your book aligns with their audience’s interests and concerns,” Marianne says. “Your media alert should make it clear that your book offers valuable insights that their viewers or listeners will find compelling and beneficial.”
4. Lack of Personalization & Professionalism. Producers receive countless pitches daily and generic emails stand out for all the wrong reasons. To make an impact, personalize the pitch. “Definitely address the producer by name and even mention specific episodes or topics from their show that you enjoyed or found relevant, and explain why you believe your topic would benefit their viewers. This can be really helpful if the show regularly features chefs and cookbooks in the kitchen with a tasty recipe or local entrepreneurs sharing news you can use for viewers,” and Marianne adds, “I love being creative to help authors turn what would otherwise be a boring new book segment into a memorable TV interview or demo that promotes their book in a subtle way.” Building a professional and respectful relationship with producers can lead to long-term opportunities and positive referrals within the industry.
5. Overlooking Podcasts. Authors should not just focus on local TV Talk Shows to promote their book, but podcasts are often overlooked as a great opportunity to reach deep into a target audience. Many podcasts have very dedicated listeners, especially in the entrepreneur niche, and they can reach a target audience with laser focus. They don’t have to have a huge audience to make an impact especially since so many use cross platforms like YouTube, Rumble, and more to broadcast their episodes.
By avoiding these five blunders and approaching producers with a thoughtful, audience-centered pitch, it’ll be a win-win for everyone involved and the success rate of securing interviews will dramatically increase.
Marianne Schwab has worked as a talk show producer in New York and Los Angeles and is currently the Executive Producer of CMP Media Cafe. She works with professionals, high level entrepreneurs, and book authors to help them fast track their success in becoming a recognized expert in the media. Through personalized media coaching and guidance, she helps clients navigate the intricate world of media appearances. She shares broadcast public relations tips on Instagram and has created an online training that shares her insider secrets to promoting a business on TV talk shows with details for the types of experts producers love to book as guests.