Top 5 Media Training Tips for Authors and Illustrators

Your book birthday is finally here and it’s time put on your promoter hat. With a little hard work, you’ll book appearances as a conference speaker, panelist, or voice on a podcast — and the thought of that might make you want to crawl into a hole. But don’t worry — you got this! I’m here to help with some pro media training tricks I learned doing dozens of TV segments as a spokesperson for pregnancy and parenting brand, The Bump:

1. Really know your pitch
Can you tell someone what your book is about in two sentences or less, with confidence, and without pause or umms and uhhs? It’s not as easy as it sounds. Practice your pitch over and over again. Commit to saying it out loud, 5 times, every day. Over time, you'll develop muscle memory and the pitch will just flow out of you without much thought, even when you’re nervous. It works!

2. Familiarize yourself with the format
As soon as you book an appearance, do your research. Many conferences post videos of past speakers on YouTube, and, of course, you can easily find podcasts online. Knowing what to expect with the environment and format will make you feel more prepared. Talking to the interviewer or organizer in advance, if you’re able to, will dramatically help your prep.

3. Listen to your own voice
We never like the sound of our own voice! But, recording yourself and listening to it will help you tweak your delivery. Do you sound confident? Are you speaking clearly? As a listener, does it feel the same to HEAR your pitch, as it does when you SAY it? You’ll know when you listen to yourself, and you can change accordingly.

4. Ladies, invest in some solid jewel tones
Clothing in solid jewel tones — emerald green, cranberry pink, or royal blue, for example — look flattering on everyone. They help you stand out in a crowded conference and look great in photos and on camera. Unlike patterns, solid colors will work with most backgrounds you may be photographed in front of and won’t look dated when that photo of your book launch shows up on a website years later.

5. Take a moment
If your appearance involves a Q&A session, you might get thrown a random question that you’re totally unprepared for. It’s better to take an extra few seconds to compose a thought before speaking than it is to answer quickly and stumble your way through. As the speaker, those extra seconds will feel like a silent, painful eternity… but your audience won’t even notice.

Remember, everyone is rooting for you. Now go get 'em!  Want to see my tips in action? Watch my TV segment reel