Rusty Shelton and the publicists at Phenix & Phenix take a whole day to train new authors for their media interviews and publicity opportunities at the start of every campaign they run. At Harvard, he squeezed much of that media training know-how into an hour, focusing on how to give a great media interview.
Tips included everything from how to create soundbytes to using a land line for radio interviews (no cell phones) to avoiding milk (which coats your throat), alcohol (’nuff said) and coffee (combined with nerves, it makes you jittery). I can attest to the importance of watching what you drink and eat, as I noticed myself how a hunk of cheese or cup of yogurt can make you stuffy before an interview.
Rusty also talked with the audience about how preparation trumps media experience, and gave tips for preparing before your interviews. A few of his preparation tools included listening to or watching past shows, having bullet points ready on a note card [not for TV, of course, but radio and print] and having a good feel for the host’s style.
Rusty also went over some of the latest platform building and pr strategies that authors are using to promote their books–from facebook to twitter to blog tours. With social media, you want to add value for people and be seen as a contributor–not just someone constantly hawking their wares. Social media is all about earning trust from a tribe (the tribe is formed by shared interests and passions). You want to be part of the conversation in a meaningful way.
To me, Rusty’s most important message was that it’s all about building authentic relationships–and you can do that across all forms of media with the right approach.
Did you miss the course this year? Get it on your calendar for next year. We heard over and over again from past participants and agents that this course exceeds other book writing events for its in depth information, support for the writing and publishing process, feedback on one’s writing and book concept, and the quality of agents and time spent with them. From the agents’ point of view, they love the quality and potential of the books being pitched, and the participants who attend. You, too, can be part of this elite crowd! Get the scoop on next year’s course.
One of the most powerful testimonies to the efficacy of the course is the sheer number of participants who become published authors–authors like Daniel Tomasulo, author the highly acclaimed (and contagiously funny) Confessions of a Former Child, Dr. Ellen Weber Libby, whose book, The Favorite Child is being published by Prometheus Books (January 2010), and Dr. Seth Eichler, whose book, Beginnings in Psychotherapy, is being published by Karnac Books in 2010, to mention a few.
The biggest news Rusty shared with me was behind the scenes: his wife, Paige, is expecting a baby and their son, Luke, is about to become a big brother. Congratulations!