Book Of Days
Jim Rubart

James L. Rubart is the best-selling, and award winning author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, and THE CHAIR. During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing, helping authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, water skis and take photos. No, he doesn’t sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and teenage sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at Or e-mail him at:

Quantum Marketing

Do Radio Interviews Work?

Yes! Of course they do.

No, they’re a complete waste of time. (And they’ll cause sales to drop.)

Both answers are, of course, correct.

• A great interview can turn into a large chunk of books sold (which is what happened to me last month, more on that in a moment).
• And it can cause a person who was considering buying your book to keep their coins out of your coffer.

What to Do

You want your interviews to the have the first result? Practice. Get good at being interviewed. Get a critique partner to help you improve your interview skills, just like you have a critique partner(s) for your writing. Have them interview you. Then you interview them. Tape it. Listen together. Be brutal about what didn’t work and try it again.

Listen to author interviews you liked. What did they do right? What intrigued you? What did they do that you can do?

Developing the ability to do a great radio (or TV interview) is critical. As I mentioned above, if you don’t interview well, not only will the interview not increase sales, it will decrease sales. If listeners find you boring, they’ll figure your book is too. If you talk in long run-on sentences without punch, people will figure your books are the same.

Remember, you are not on the radio to tell people about your book. You mission is to make people like you so they’ll want to buy your books. As I often preach, the core of marketing is very simple: Get people to like you. You do this by entertaining them, or challenging them, or inspiring them, or making them laugh, or surprising them, or all of the above.

Yes, I know I’ve said all of that before, but as we say in advertising, frequency sells. (In other words, if you’ve heard me say these things already, have you done it? Have you taken action on honing your interview skills?)

Real-World Example

Last month I was interviewed on Chris Fabry’s radio show. I watched my Amazon numbers drop in half for three or four days after the interview.

Since I started my career on air at a Seattle radio station, I understand what is needed to be a good interviewee. I interviewed numerous music acts so I’ve been on the other side.

But what really made the interview rock was a very creative idea from Chris. We kicked off the interview in a way that would either bomb or get people’s attention in a big way. Based on sales and messages people sent me about the interview, I think we got people’s attention, entertained them, and surprised them.

So a great deal of credit needs to go to Chris Fabry. He’s a pro. He is an excellent interviewer and is willing to try new ideas. He makes people sound good.

But …

Next month we’re going to talk about what to do if you’ve honed your skills and are a great interviewee, but your host leaves much to be desired.

(If you’d like to hear the interview Chris did with me, here ye be:

Must go. Need practice. My critique partner says I talk too fast.


The Chair