By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Book Marketing
Authors seeking to become a TV talk show guest must learn to master the fine art of using sound bites. Local and national television thrives on sound bites, those brief, quotable remarks that will be repeated again and again on television news and talk shows. Sound bites are the pearls that flow out of our mouths into the ears of TV producers and onto the airways.
If you want to be quoted, you must convert the message points in your book into sound bites. To do this remember that analogies, bold action words, emotions and personal examples, attacks and absolutes make good quotes and sound bites. The highly personal, classic sound bite has action, emotion, and attacks; all of these elements will work to make reporters swoon.
My experience as a book publicist and book marketing expert has taught me to compare an author’s book with something else that is better known. For example, one of my clients’ books is a time travel, sci-fi. Here’s the sound bite: “BAD LOVE STRIKES is like Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Goonies.” See how that paints a picture? Another client’s book is about sci-fi alien romance. So we came up with, “If you like the movies ‘Shape of Water’ and ‘Avatar’ you’ll love KAIRN, Mates of the Alliance.”
The sound bite serves the purpose of telling a long story in a few words.
You can tell people who the book is for. “This book is for recent college graduates looking for a job in TECH.” Or, “This is the perfect book for people who want to know all they can about ChatGPT and AI.”
What about YOU? Are you skilled enough in producing sound bites to earn an interview on local or national TV? If you’ve not had media training, believe me it’s too late once you get the call. You may have to get in a car or on a plane within an hour’s notice. That’s why you need to be prepared before you get the call. When my clients agree to media coaching, my first choice for them is Jess Todtfeld.
Jess is one of the leading authorities on media training in the world. With more than 25 years of media training experience, Todtfeld has trained thousands of CEOs, authors, and experts, including leading government officials in the United States and members of the United Nations.
Another well-known media trainer, TJ Walker came up with several good sound bite creation techniques he’s shared:
- Create sound bites that are 10, 15 and 30 seconds.
- Work an example into the sound bite.
- Use Clichés. Reporters can’t write clichés, but they love quoting other people using them.
- Humor can be memorable but only if you are not talking about a serious topic.
- One great way to get your message quoted by reporters is to state your ideas in the form of a rhetorical question.
- Opposition quotes make good quotes and sound bites. Opposition quotes remain a favorite of reporters but use them only if and when they are appropriate to your message.
- Absolutes are absolutely quote worthy. If I say “We will be the next champions!” That has a better chance of landing in the story than “We are hoping to win.” Saying “Our company is the top performer in this field” would be another example.
- Recycle your quotes. If one worked well with another media interview in the past, use it again.
- Use pop culture references in your quotes.
- Put analogies in your answers, use bold, action-oriented words, let your emotions flow freely, and attack your way to the headlines.
A sound bite is only one aspect of a successful television appearance. You must also be concerned about your total message, the knowledge you display, and the self-confidence you demonstrate.
As a book publicist I’ll prepare questions for our clients ahead of time and include those in our press kits sent to the host. Often the interviewer will read those questions right in order. Other times they refer to our questions and include some of them. That’ll help you because you’ll know what to expect and you can respond with the sound bites you’ve already developed.
The Bottom Line: Prepare some snappy sound bites ahead of time, rehearse them every day and you’ll sound like a pro turning your TV appearance into a huge success.
Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.
Learn more about Westwind Book Marketing at https://www.WestwindBookMarketing.com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or 734-667-2090 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist. Want help titling a book? Check out Scott Lorenz’s new award winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book www.BookTitleGenerator.net.
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