Thursday, December 22, 2016

Every Writer Needs Media Training

By W. Terry Whalin

It is painful to tell these two stories because of the missed opportunities. Yet I tell them because I want you as an author to profit from these situations for your own writing life.  As the title of this story says, I hope from reading this article, you will understand why every writer needs media training.

This week a couple of my Morgan James authors appeared on The Dr. Oz Show. This particular segment was filmed in October but aired this week. I was excited for these authors and set my DVR to record the show (since I rarely watch it).  I found their segment and watched it. Their story was highlighted and interesting—yet something was missing. There was nothing in the story to indicate their full story appears in their book. The book or the book title was not mentioned. The result was another missed opportunity to tell a national audience about their story.

I've never appeared on this type of national television show. It must be full of tension and excitement for the author to make sure you answer the questions and make a great appearance on the show. The challenge for the author is to make sure no matter what message the television show wants to give—that you meet your own agenda (sell books).

This recent story is not the only time I've seen missed opportunities. Years ago I wrote a book called Running on Ice for Olympian Vonetta Flowers. She was the first African American to win a gold medal in the winter Olympics. In fact, Vonetta was on the 2006 U.S. team for the next Olympics in Turin, Italy. Katie Couric interviewed Vonetta on The Today Show. It was a great interview yet nothing in the interview mentioned that a book told Vonetta's story. While I'm pleased to have written this book, I wanted it to succeed in the marketplace (sell) yet the opportunity was missed.

No matter where you are in the writing and publishing world, now is the time to prepare yourself for these opportunities so you do not miss them.  In the publishing world, we call it media training—and it's something every author needs to learn.

Here's three valuable yet inexpensive resources to prepare yourself for the media:


1. Gayle Murphy has been a journalist for many years. I interviewed Gayl in this free teleseminar and you can get her seasoned advice for every author about how to tell it to sell it.


2. The Media Training Bible by Brad Phillips. I reviewed this book several years ago (follow the link). The seasoned advice and tips in this book are invaluable. Phillips is a well-known and excellent media trainer. Every writer will profit from a careful reading of The Media Training Bible.


3. Be the Media compiled by David Mathison. This older book is excellent to help you know how to create your own message and different ways to get it out into the marketplace.

For the last couple of years, I've been doing radio interviews to promote my Billy Graham biography. In the next two weeks.I'm scheduled to be on two LIVE radio shows telling stories from the book. It's fun and I'm grateful for these opportunities. Each time before the interview, I remind myself why I'm on these programs: first to be energetic and tell interesting stories about Billy Graham. 


Yet integral to this agenda is my second key point: to make sure I tell people where they can get the book. I've created a website with multiple options to purchase the book. During several of these interviews, even if I am not asked about it, I take the initiative to weave into the conversation the specific name of my website and where people can get the book.

When you receive these types of opportunities for your writing, seize them—yet use wisdom to make sure you cover your own interests.

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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing and has written more than 60 books for traditional publishers including Book Proposals That $ell and Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. He blogs about the Writing Life and lives in Colorado. Terry has over 194,000 twitter followers.

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4 comments:

  1. We always learn better from mistakes--our own, or others'. Better if we can learn from others before we end up having to make them ourselves! Thanks, Terry! Best,
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson


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    Replies
    1. Carolyn, how true and thank you for this comment and feedback. We are constantly learning as writers.

      Terry

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  2. Great examples of why it's so important to be prepared. As authors we need to take every opportunity to sell our books. Thanks for sharing this, Terry.

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    Replies
    1. Karen, thank you for this comment. Hope readers can learn from these missing elements--often one of the hardest things to see when you are in the middle of the situation.

      Terry

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