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My top five radio interview tips for not sounding like a halfwit

A few weeks back I chatted with Samantha and Gordon Napier from Book, Stage & Screen about The Royal Companion and indie publishing. I was incredibly lucky to have such warm and funny hosts, because it turns out that I get nervous during interviews. Not just ‘ooh my heartbeat has increased’ kind of nervous, but the ‘I have forgotten what my book is about and sweat is pouring from my hands’ kind of nervous. I learned a few valuable lessons for next time which I thought I would share in hope that it might help someone else on their marketing journey.

  1. Take a copy of your book description with you. Yep, I probably would have felt ridiculous referring to a piece of paper when asked the question: ‘What is your book about?’ But I tell you, it felt much more ridiculous rabbiting on about an unnamed girl that was sold to some royal family in an alternate-world that I forgot to mention.
  2. Breathe. I think I took about three breaths in the twenty minutes I was there, which in hindsight was not ideal. I am fairly confident that had I oxygenated my brain, it would have improved my ability to produce coherent thoughts. This also caused me to swallow at awkward intervals – because I was literally gulping for air.
  3. Practice answering questions about yourself out loud. It never occurred to me to practice talking about myself out loud. In hindsight this probably would have helped a lot.
  4. Prepare for an abrupt start. Your hosts do not have time to coax you out of your blanket fort. When you hear, ‘Our next guest is…’, the first question will land shortly after – so find your tongue.
  5. Do not fill silences with verbal diarrhoea. Like when someone asks you how to spell you name, just spell it and then shut-up. Don’t go on to make bird noises. I realised as I listened to the interview that I often rambled through silences that were probably necessary for transitioning between questions and speakers. Next time I know to answer the question and then let the host fill the silences with intelligent input.

I’m sure I could pick the interview apart and find weeks worth of blog content, but I’m also aware that I tend to scrutinise myself rather harshly with these type of things, and it probably wasn’t as bad as I told myself.

If anyone wants to have a listen, here it is…


For any locals interested, Book, Stage and Screen airs Thursdays 12-2pm on 88.9 Wyn FM. Samantha and Gordon discuss the world of book, stage and screen in Melbourne’s west and beyond. Previously recorded shows can be found here.

For those that were playing ‘Count the Awkward Swallows’ at home, the correct answer is 7529 unnecessary gulpy-swallows.

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