When I started this series I didn’t expect it to be quite so wide-ranging, but it’s made me realise how many facets there are to just ‘writing a book.’ What has touring with a rock musician husband got to do with being an author?
Over to today’s guest, Jane Risdon to find out.
Smile, breath, and sell yourself – Radio interviews make you fans
I grew up listening to radio: Radio Luxembourg, and the Pirate radio stations, Radios Caroline and London, and later BBC Radio One when it came on air in 1967. There were only two television stations and no internet. Listening to the radio was where I heard the Beatles speak for the first time as well as countless other musicians, movie stars, politicians, and others who were deemed important enough to be interviewed.
My husband’s first interviews were on Radio One and on Radio Jersey, and I can recall laying in bed one night listening to Radio Luxembourg when living in Germany in 1968, and hearing his first single played on radio and feeling such a thrill and connection.
Fast forward to when we both managed recording artists, songwriters, and record producers, touring the UK, Europe, America, Canada, and SE Asia, doing live concerts, TV/Video appearances, and radio station interviews the length and breadth of these countries. Things had changed, were much more relaxed and the interviewees were allowed more freedom to talk and have fun. Although in the USA we nearly got arrested on a few occasions and the station DJ thrown off air when our musicians became over-zealous and fruity with their language.
Doing back to back interviews with our artists, helping to prepare them for each live interview taught me a lot about interviews – the interviewers and interviewees. In addition to realising that sometimes you can only be as good as the person asking the questions, I learned to deal with whatever was thrown at our musicians and at me.
As a manager of artists, it never occurred to me that people would be interested in anything I had to say or had an opinion about, but I was wrong. I was happy to remain in the background – the puppet-master if you like, so imagine my horror when I was asked to give an interview for the BBC World Service at one time, when they were featuring ‘Women in Rock.’ It is not at all like a recording session where you can always have another take if you get it wrong. Live means live. One must focus and forget millions of people are listening to every fluffed word or stumbled answer.
Later, I went on to give many more live video show, television, and radio interviews. I’ve had weird thrown at me by American early morning radio jocks who wanted to be more outrageous and shocking than any heavy metal rock bands they ever interviewed. Shock being the desired result. I learned to cope. To appear un-shockable, not to rise to the bait when asked to comment on politically incorrect questions – goading – which could have ended my career and those of my artists.
Now – years later – all this experience is coming in very handy. Now I write. And now I find myself being interviewed for myself and not who I manage and promote, or who I married. It is a strange feeling. I have myself to blame of course. I realised that in order to reach a wider audience (readership) for my writing, I could not sit back and wait for Mohammed to come to the mountain. I had to become pro-active and get myself out there unless I wanted to sink into oblivion, in a sea of other writers who were hoping ‘someone’ or ‘something,’ would come along and promote the heck out of me. And it has been the internet which has enabled this.
We had the internet in the latter years of my management career, and we made full use of its limitations back then, but now, oh boy! Now, the world is our – your – oyster.
Being both traditionally and indie published I have experienced the frustrations both forms of publishing can inflict upon a writer. The lack of what I call ‘proper’ promotion. It has irked me greatly and I decided I’d have to do something about it.
Searching the internet for opportunities to promote myself, internet radio seemed the easiest route to take. I contacted several online stations and asked to be interviewed. I prepared my back story and thought about the key words and areas of interest where I might get their attention and subsequently appeal to these stations. I made myself my own client. I thought about how I would promote me if I were my former music manager. There is no difference to my mind between music (musicians) and books (authors) – we all have our creativity to offer. Our imagination is both our limitation and our strength.
I hit the jackpot and the first stations I contacted wanted me on air. It was nothing like the old days at all. Most radio shows and hosts are quite ‘serious,’ and they ask questions and expect straight, serious replies. I cannot do that. I need to have fun. I know the audience wants to enjoy the experience as much as the interviewee. Things have become very PC and restrictive. But that is all right, I can do whatever I need to. The idea is to get myself out there, reach a wider readership and eventually sell books. I am now a regular on globally reaching Chat and Spin Radio, The Authors Show, and The Brian (Hammer) Jackson show – much more like the old station jocks from America in that he reminds me of Howard Stern (famous US DJ), and I have done various video interviews for internet festivals and libraries such as MYVLF.com. (My Virtual Literary Festival.)
I listen to my own advice given to my young musicians and artists from back when. Be yourself, be friendly, put a smile in your voice. Breath deep, relax and take it slowly. Listen to the interviewer, try to give more than they expect and prepare your back story. By back story, I mean your life story, history, experiences, funny anecdotes and anything else which engages you with your listeners, anything which warms you to them and makes them want to know you, to meet you, and to find out what makes you tick. In creating this feeling in your audience, you create curiosity, so they want more of you. They will buy and read about you and your books. They feel connected. They are a potential fan. Like I said earlier, books or music. It is all the same. We have a product and we must create a need for it. Before we sell anything, we have to sell ourselves. Good luck.
What a fascinating insight, Jane. Thanks for opening our author eyes to a whole new aspect of promotion. With the current restrictions, an online Literary festival is a great idea. It was fun hearing your voice on the radio; a little how you must have felt hearing your husband’s record played for the first time. 😀
You can find out more about Jane here:
Jane Risdon is the co-author of ‘Only One Woman,’ with Christina Jones (Headline Accent) and ‘Undercover: Crime Shorts,’ (Plaisted Publishing), as well as having many short stories published in numerous anthologies and writing for several online and print magazines such as Writing Magazine and The Writers and Readers’ Magazine.
Undercover: Crime Shorts is the February 2020 Free Book of the Month on the virtual library and festival site, MYVLF.com and her live video interview features in their theatre. She is a regular guest on international internet radio shows such as theauthorsshow.com, chatandspinradion.com and The Brian Hammer Jackson Radio Show.
Before turning her hand to writing Jane worked in the International Music Business alongside her musician husband, working with musicians, singer/songwriters, and record producers. They also facilitated the placement of music in movies and television series.
You can find her on GoodReads, LinkedIn, BookBub, MeWe and Instagram as well as: