Help! What Do I Say??? (3 Podcast Tips for the Nervous Author)

So, you’ve landed that big podcast interview you’ve always wanted. Hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people are going to hear your voice on that show. They’re going to listen to what you have to say. Maybe, they’re going to go and buy your book(s) afterwards.

And now you’re nervous, and stressed out, and you have no idea what you are going to do.

Maybe you’re a natural introvert. Maybe you’re shy, or you don’t like talking in front of people. You’re nervous that all your words are going to be recorded. Perhaps you have that little bit of knowledge in the back of your mind that other people are going to be listening to your conversation later on, so you’d better say all the right things now and not make a fool of yourself.

I’ve been there. And I’ve come out the other side. So today I thought I’d give you a couple of helpful tips that I’ve learned along the way. Not all of these tips will work for everyone, but hopefully some of them will be useful to you.

Here we go:


1. Don’t try to wing it.

I honestly don’t remember who told me, but one of the first pieces of advice I received when I told people I was going to be on a podcast was, “You’d better not write anything down. Just wing it. It has to sound natural.”

No disrespect to whoever gave me that advice (seriously, I do not remember at all), but it really messed me up. It sounds really smart, right? You certainly don’t want to sound like you’re reading from prompt cards. But by not writing anything down at all, and trying to just wing it, I ended up in a complete emotional breakdown while I was in the recording session with the interviewer. I felt physically incapable of responding to the questions at all. I couldn’t think of a single thing to say. Not pleasant. Not at all. Thankfully, she was gracious enough to let me try again at a later date, but I still felt like a fool.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are certainly people out there who can wing just about anything and come away with a brilliant interview. There are people who are stifled or hampered by outlines or written out answers. This is definitely not a hard-and-fast rule of any kind. If you are comfortable with winging your interview, go ahead. But at least study the questions ahead of time, and maybe mentally work out the basics of what you are going to say. My interviewer, Pam Barnhill, sent me a list of questions way before the recording date so that I could study them and figure out just what I was going to say. As I said, the first time around I forgot everything I had so carefully worked out in my head and was unable to do the interview at all. So I went back and took my time and wrote down an answer to every question, even if it was just a few lines. We didn’t end up using all of the questions in the podcast, but at least I felt secure knowing that I had a response if one was needed. I even went ‘off script’ a couple of times.

Even if you don’t write out your full answer to every question, it’s probably best to jot down a couple of bullet points of what you’d like to touch on. A sparse outline is better than no outline at all. A quick glance at your notes should remind you of what you wanted to say if you forget in the middle of the interview.

2. Do ask for do-overs.

The nice thing about podcasts is that they are recorded and edited before anyone else gets to hear them. It isn’t like being on live radio or TV, where if you mess up you don’t get a second chance. If you get off track or flub your words, you have every right to ask the interviewer for a do-over. You can say the line again (hopefully correctly this time) and the interviewer or whoever does their editing can easily go back and edit out the mistake. You aren’t live. Everybody messes up sometimes. Even the interviewer may have to do over their lines at some point. Don’t hesitate to ask for a quick second try if you need one.

3. Do stay on topic.

Podcasts are great for getting your name and maybe your work in front of others, but they shouldn’t act as a platform for you to talk endlessly about your book or make some kind of big sales pitch. If the interviewer wants to talk about your book(s), go ahead and talk about them. But if the topic of the podcast is, I don’t know… dogs or something (stupid example, but bear with me), then trying to make a big sales pitch in the middle of your interview isn’t really going to work. If people listen to this hypothetical podcast to hear about other people’s opinions on dogs, then they aren’t going to want to hear your big speech about how amazing your book is instead.

Now, hopefully the topic of your podcast relates a bit more to your writing or your area of expertise than dogs probably does (unless you do happen to write about/be an expert on dogs), but that doesn’t mean that you can still go ahead and make a big sales pitch the focus of your interview. As I said a few minutes ago, people don’t listen to podcasts to hear authors brag about/try to sell their books. You are a guest chosen to speak about topic X, so you’d better talk about topic X, and if the interviewer also wants to talk about your book(s), that’s great. But selling something should not be your main focus. Your main focus should be to say something interesting about the topic, and to entertain people.


I hope you enjoyed this little article! I’m glad I have some advice to share in this area, and I hope you find them helpful. SHAMELESS ADVERTISEMENT: If you’re interested in my podcast interview with Pam Barnhill, you can find that right here.

Thank you so much for reading. I’ll see you again soon!


Podcast Tips

Chapter 6 of The Tangle is Live!

the-tangleHey, everyone! Just a super quick update to let you know that ‘Fugitive’, Chapter 6 of The Tangle, is now live on Channillo! Click here to check it out.


Sorry I haven’t been posting in a while… Last week was my break week from school, and I may have been a bit lazy and watched a lot of Sherlock instead of actually doing anything, so… And this past week I had been trying to cram about a week’s worth of school into three days so that I could go to the Great Homeschool Convention on Thursday, so there’s another excuse… 😛 I’ll try to get back on track next week!

That’s all for now. See you soon. 🙂

Wednesday with Words: Rejoice Ever More

Hey, everyone! I know I didn’t post a Wednesday with Words last week (I had a really, really bad flu with a high fever, and was feeling way too loopy to try to write anything at all coherent), but I’m back this week, so… yay? (I was able to post the tutorial last week, as it was pre-written. I’m not a Wednesday with Words slacker, I promise!) 😛 Anyway, once again, I have another John Adams quote. I’m nearly done this term of school, and consequently I’m finishing up a bunch of books, including John Adams by David McCullough, this week. John Adams is such an amazing writer, and he has so many good quotes, so I thought I should share one more with you before I finish the book.

John Adams 2

On a more author-ish note, I’m doing my best to get back to work! I’ve had a huge writing slump over the past couple of weeks, but I have so many projects I need to work on, so, get back to work, Aria! 🙂 ‘Tiles’, Chapter 5 of The Tangle, will be up on Saturday, so I’ll see you then! Bye for now.


Wednesday with Words is hosted by ladydusk.

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Chapter 4 of The Tangle is Live! (Plus Updates)

the-tangleHello, everyone! Just wanted to let you know that Disappearing Trick, chapter 4 of The Tangle, is live on Channillo.com. You can check out the series here.


Quick update: I know on Wednesday with Words this week I hinted that there might be one (or two, or three) special posts going up this week. However, it turned out that I didn’t finish them until yesterday evening, so those will be posted next week, starting Monday and continuing through Wednesday. It will be a series of three connected posts (i. e., Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), and if you happen to be a geek/gamer, or you’re in to geeky DIY projects, you are not going to want to miss them! I am super excited about these posts. They might be a bit out-of-the-ordinary for this blog (so far, at least), but hopefully I can showcase another side of my personality that doesn’t really show up much on here (the geeky, DIY side 😛 ), and hopefully there’ll be at least some people out there who really enjoy them. So, if you’re interested, just follow the blog to be notified when those posts go up next week!

Anyway, that’s it for me today. Bye for now.

🙂

Wednesday with Words: A Story and a Lie

I really enjoyed The Night Gardener by Johnathan Auxier, which my mom got me for Valentines Day. It delves into such an interesting problem: what is the difference between a story, and a lie? I think this quote sums it up nicely…

Night Gardener


Wednesdays with Words is hosted by ladydusk.

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Chapter 4 of The Tangle will be up on Saturday, and I’ll have a reminder post then, but… I might have another, special post or two (or three, it depends) going up at some point this week, or maybe next week. I’m not sure at this point. However, I think these posts will definitely benefit the geeks among us… 🙂

Wednesday with Words: There is a Tide…

Just a quick Wednesday with Words post today. I found this William Shakespeare passage quoted in David McCullough’s John AdamsApparently, it was one of Mrs. Adams’ favorite quotes.

Tides


On my reading list this week:

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart: My friends have been recommending this series to me forever, and finally I stole borrowed it from one of them and just stared reading… Pretty good so far, and very quirky.

Curtain by Agatha Christie: I love the Hercule Poirot mysteries. You can read them in any order, and Poirot himself is very entertaining. Unfortunately, Curtain is, apparently, his last case! I can’t wait to find out what happens…


Wednesdays with Words is hosted by ladydusk.

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Wednesday with Words: An Act of the Will

NOTE: Sorry this post is late. I should have put this up yesterday, but I forgot, so, here goes…


At evening service in my church this Sunday, our pastor was talking about setting time apart to worship God on our own. I believe this is something I need to work on more, and I’ve been trying to read a chapter of A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George every evening since then, for a sort of devotional. I got this book almost a year ago (!), but I never finished it. I did find this wonderful quote the other day, though, and I really wanted to share it with you:

Love


Wednesday with Words is hosted by ladydusk.

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Wednesday with Words: Poetry

One of the history books I’m reading for school is John Adams by David McCullough. It is a very interesting book, giving a great deal of insight into the life of John Adams, mostly through the many letters he wrote to his wife and children and friends while he was away helping shape the future of America, be it in the Philadelphia convention or as an underpaid ambassador to France. This is a quote from one of those letters, written to his son John Quincy, giving him some good general advice:

john-adams


On my reading list this week:

Anne of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery: As I said in the last Wednesday with Words post, I’ve been working my way steadily through the Anne of Green Gables books, and suddenly it seems I’ve come to the last one! This link goes to the beautiful Sourcebooks Fire paperback edition, which I absolutely love. My mom has the whole series in these editions on a shelf downstairs, and they are so pretty!

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens: Yes, I am still reading this. We have an audiobook edition, and I downloaded it onto my iPod, but my iPod seems to be rather finicky (it’s fairly old), and on chapter 63 of 70 it started glitching out, and wouldn’t let me listen to the rest, so… I had to get a paperback copy from the library. I’ve got about five chapters left. It’s just so long!


Wednesdays with Words is hosted by ladydusk.

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One hundred and thirty people (!) have downloaded my historical fiction short story ‘Miss’ from InstaFreebie.com as of today! You can check it out, and get a free copy, here.

Wednesday with Words: The Sweetest Days

Hello, all! I know it’s been a while since my last Wednesday with Words, but I wanted to get back in the habit, as it were, so what better time to start then during a break week from school? I’ve been reading a lot this week, but mostly I’ve been trying to work on the Anne of Green Gables series. I’ve never read all of the books before, but now I’m on the fourth one (Anne of Windy Poplars), so what better quote to share today than one from this delightful series?

anne-of-avonlea


On my reading list this week:

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier: My mom got this for me for Valentines day (it’s a family tradition to get ‘books and chocolate’ for Valentines. We also another of his books, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, which mom had been reading aloud to us during lunch time.

Onward by Russell Moore: My dad got this a year or so ago (I think???) for Christmas. At that time, I did skim through it, but I decided to make a more careful read through this time around. 🙂


Wednesday with Words is hosted by ladydusk.

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Guess what? My free historical fiction short story, ‘Miss’, has over 100 downloads on InstaFreebie! You can click here to check it out and download a copy.