During my publishing career, I've learned that after a children’s book is published—after the editing, design, printing, and launch—it takes on a life of its own. Through the mysterious machinations of book distribution, copies finds their way to bookstore shelves, library reading rooms, school classrooms, homes, and finally, children's hands—and there, they become something more than just words on bound paper. For those young readers, that book becomes a teacher, guide, or a friend—sometimes for life. Stop a moment and think of the books you enjoyed when you first began reading. Perhaps reading them made you aware that other kids just like you were struggling with fear, anxiety, or loneliness—and maybe that knowledge made you feel less alone. You loved those books because you needed the lessons they could teach or the scenarios to which they introduced you at that time in your life—and some part of them lives with you still. Brandylane is honored to publish books that make a difference in the lives of young readers; and this month, we are proud to present new titles that offer children a way of seeing the world—and themselves—in a new light, allowing them to grow both at school and at home. written by Robert Pruett, publisher
“Back Home is a great way to open the lines of communication with our children and teach them the importance of celebrating each other’s shared visions and differences.” https://www.burnabynow.com/entertainment/burnaby-author-s-new-book-has-a-timely-message-for-kids-and-grown-ups-1.23869282
Whether you’ve booked a TV, phone, or in-person interview, we’ve got some great tips! Before the Interview So, you’ve booked an interview. Congratulations! Here’s a preliminary checklist for any type of interview: Tell us! We would love to spread the word, so notify us as soon as possible. The interviewer will often have a predetermined list of questions. Ask for a copy before the interview. If they don’t have a list, ask what subjects might be covered. Understand the audience. For instance, if you've written a children’s picture book, your interview should be directed at parents since they, not the children, will watch or hear the interview. Ask your interviewer to define the audience. Thoroughly research the interviewer so you know their theme and any mission statements. Adjust your content accordingly. The four most common types of interviews and suggestions on how to handle each one. Phone interviews When preparing for a phone interview, keep a few details in mind: Make sure both parties are clear on the date and time, and who will be calling whom. Ask how the interviewer will be using the audio. Will they record and distribute the interview, or will they write an article or blog post based on the conversation? They may even release a full transcript. If you’re using a cell phone, be sure it’s charged, and turn off any alarms or notifications. If the interviewer plans to call you, make sure your phone’s volume is turned up so you don’t miss the call. If it’s your job to call them, confirm their phone number ahead of time. Go to a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted and can easily reference your notes. Whether your notes are written or on your computer, organize them ahead of time. During the interview: Keep TVs and internet off so you stay focused. If the audio isn’t going to be released, feel free to reword or correct yourself as you’re speaking, and ask that the interviewer respect these adjustments in their write-up. Ask the interviewer to link to your author website or Facebook page in their post so readers/listeners know where to find you. For a great example of a phone interview, follow this link to listen to NPR’s podcast featuring author Stephen King from 2013. In-person interviews How to prepare: Pick a time and place to meet. You might have to come into a studio, but otherwise, pick a place where you feel comfortable. Dress and act professionally. Bring notes in hard copy. This is easier to reference and less distracting than digital notes. Bring a copy of your book(s). An in-person interview will most likely be distributed in one of two ways: The interviewer will take notes or record audio and publish a write-up or transcript, or they will film you and distribute the video. If your interview will be released in written form, prepare like you would for a phone interview. Otherwise, you’ll need to prepare for a video interview. Video Interviews Live or recorded interviews require the most preparation and attention to detail, so be sure to: Confirm all details, like the time and location of the interview. Pay close attention to your appearance and presentation. During the interview: Avoid depending on notes. Shuffling papers is distracting to viewers. If you can't give a good interview without notes, bring small index cards to refer to only occasionally. Act natural. Keep your cool, and be your confident, friendly self! For an example of a great recorded in-person interview, check out this interview Belle Isle author Marc Ferrari did on KCAL9 a few weeks ago. Online Interviews You may be invited to take part in a videoconferencing interview using a program like Skype. If you’re not familiar with the software, that doesn’t mean you should turn down the interview! Preparing for a videoconferencing interview: Research the program you’ll be using. Ask friends and family for tips, or call/email us and we can help you become more comfortable. If you can’t get past your discomfort with the technology, ask if the interviewer would be willing to conduct the interview over the phone or in person instead. Test your equipment. This includes your software, webcam, and microphone. On Skype, use the “Test Call” feature to see a call in action. Face your webcam toward an attractive wall or bookshelf. The less distracting your background, the more viewers will focus on you. In a pinch, hang a sheet behind you. Direct a soft light source at your face (without blinding you) so your features will be clear. If you must use notes, place them where you won’t have to handle them. Avoid rustling papers or clicking around on your computer during the interview. During the interview: First off, ask if your interviewer can see and hear you well. If the answer is no, work quickly together to solve the problem. During your interview, sit up straight, smile, and center your face in the camera. Keep your eyes on the webcam; if you look at the computer screen instead, you will appear to be looking down. You’ll see this in your Test Call. There may be a small delay in the video, so make sure the other person finishes speaking before you answer. After the Interview A simple email thanking the interviewer for their time is great, but a handwritten card can really stand out! Get a copy of the interview. Ask for a link, file, or print copy (if applicable) of the video, audio, or text. Save a copy of the file, not just the link! Online content is often deleted. Ask for permission to distribute, and then post it! Use every platform you can. Give your interviewer and/or the organization a shout-out and tag them whenever possible. Send us a copy. We’ll share it, too! Final Thoughts The most important things to remember are professionalism, authenticity, and preparation. Interviews show your readers who you really are. Relax, be yourself, do your prep work, and the rest will take care of itself.
Podcasts are an easy and unique way to learn and explore, as well as express yourself and reach new audiences. We’ll cover podcasting basics, good sites to check out, and how to use podcasts as a tool for promoting your book! PODCAST BASICS What is a podcast? Podcasts are online audio shows released in episodes that focus on any topic. A podcast is the overarching show; a podcast episode is one installment. Like books or TV shows, podcasts can be about anything: history, literature, gardening, health, pets… They can feature interviews, lectures, creative work, personal reflections, and more. Why do people listen to podcasts? There are many reasons people listen to podcasts. An appealing aspect of the podcast is that you can arrange your devices to update automatically as new episodes are released, usually free of charge. You don’t have to tune in or check back once you subscribe. Listen while you’re cleaning, working out, or driving. You can listen to a podcast once and delete it, rewind it halfway through, or save it and listen to it on repeat. The power is yours. LISTENING TO PODCASTS How do I listen to podcasts? You can access them on your computer, phone, or tablet; you can even burn them to CDs. More often than not, a podcast gets downloaded onto your phone, so you don’t need internet access to play unless it’s a streaming-only podcast. Many people choose to use a podcast manager (or “podcatcher”) to organize podcasts and point out unplayed episodes. If you find a podcast you love, you can subscribe through your podcast manager. Check out some popular podcast managers: iTunes is familiar to a lot of people because of its popularity with selling music. This free podcast manager is simple, straightforward, and syncs easily with your Mac or iPhone. Overcast is available for free on iOS. It’s a simple way to receive podcasts, featuring tools like Smart Speed, Voice Boost, and Smarter Playlists. Pocket Casts is available for $3.99 on iOS and Android. Its tile-based layout makes navigation easy, and organizing features mean a stress-free experience. Podcast and Radio Addict is free on Android and exceptionally easy to use. Where can I find good podcasts for me? After you follow a few podcasts, your podcast manager will start to make recommendations based on your interests. You can also search by category. For example, you could search the term “writing” and see the newest or most popular podcasts about writing. Outside of a podcast manager, you can go to your preferred search engine, type in “popular podcasts” or “podcasts about child development,” and find a variety of options to peruse. I still don’t get it. Try checking out the excellent “Podcast Listener’s Guide” by the Podcast Host. What are some good podcasts to try? Here are a few favorites in categories you’ll love: General: This American Life, the most popular podcast in the country, talks about different aspects of living today as an American. Learning: TED Radio Hour offers podcasts based on popular TEDTalks. Writing: Helping Writers Become Authors gives tips and tools for taking amateur writing to the next level, as well as reminders for seasoned authors as well. Books: The Book Review by the New York Times posts weekly, featuring popular authors and critics discussing new releases and trending literary topics. Creative episodic fiction: Welcome to Night Vale features a fictional radio host in a lonely post-apocalyptic southwest city and all the malarkey that happens therein. Kids: Barefoot Books offers a range of auditory delights for children, from stories to songs, to educate them “as caretakers of tomorrow.” History: 15-Minute History by the University of Texas at Austin is for newbies and historians alike, delivering highlights of history in easily-digestible, 15-minute episodes. USING PODCASTS TO YOUR BOOK’S ADVANTAGE Stay up-to-date and learn something new. You can subscribe to podcasts about writing or books in general, or ones about a theme or topic that relates to your book. Get yourself or your book featured on a podcast. Reach out to podcasters who talk about books, writing, or a topic related to your book. Make sure you subscribe first, as this could make all the difference! Ask them to mention your book, feature you on their show, or interview you. Listen to previous episodes to see what format they tend to use and appeal to this in your message. Understand the podcasts you subscribe to. Podcasts come in a range of quality with a variety of followings. Starting out, you may have an easier time appealing to new or underground podcasts before making your way to the major players. All podcasts have merit, and you should approach each differently. Research a podcast thoroughly before reaching out. Look for things like how frequently they post, if they’re active, if they do interviews, and if your topic fits with their theme. Read their website, scroll through their social media, listen to a few episodes, and familiarize yourself. How do I get in touch with podcasters? This can be tricky, as part of the appeal of the internet is anonymity. Here are the steps you should take in contacting podcasters: Scour their website for a contact email. If you can find their email, use it. Be short and to-the-point, maybe referencing an episode they aired and why you’d be a good fit for a future episode. Give a brief background on yourself, introduce your book, and list what topics you can discuss. Link to your website or Facebook if these pages are informative and helpful, and thank them for their time. Fill out a contact form on their website if you can’t find an email. This should be very brief, but make sure to use an intriguing hook, and include good contact information for yourself. Get in touch on social media if all else fails; direct messaging is preferable. Just make sure your own profile page is clean, current, and informative before inviting anyone to view it! What do I do after I get an interview? Check out “How To Get Interviewed On Top Podcasts In Your Industry” by Thinkific, or check back next month for April's Brandylane Author Marketing Tip on How to Prepare for Interviews. Create your own podcast. See more on this below. RUNNING YOUR OWN PODCAST Sound familiar? If this section gives you déjà vu, that’s because podcasting is remarkably like blogging, which we covered in last month’s Brandylane Author MarketingTip. In fact, some podcasts are distributed through blogs. A podcast is essentially a blog in audio form. Episodes can be posted with any frequency, but it should be updated regularly enough so it doesn’t appear abandoned. Podcasts and blogs range in professionalism and following, but the small, quirky ones can be just as good as popular ones backed by large companies. How do I set up a podcast? Be realistic. If there’s a chance you won’t be able to commit to your podcast, it may not be valuable for you. You need time to create it, ideas to propel it, and a drive to network and collaborate. Name your podcast something unique and find an eye-catching cover photo. Prepare your studio. You’ll need your computer, set up with an audio recording program and an audio editing program (which you may be able to find together), as well as a microphone. Connect your microphone to your audio recording program and test to make sure it works. Make sure you know what you’re going to talk about. Pick a theme for your podcast, one that hasn’t been overdone and relates to your book. Jot down notes for reference. Record your audio. Most podcast episodes last 30 or 45 minutes, but can be as short as 15 minutes and as long as an hour or more. Edit your audio in your editing program. Listen through several times. Take out silent spaces, sneezes or coughs, and mistakes. Use filters to smooth out your audio levels. Edit the file’s metadata. This includes things like the podcast name, your name, date, and genre. This information will be attached to the file anywhere it gets distributed. Set up your podcast website. You can distribute your podcast on Facebook or your website; you can also upload it to a podcast distributor like Spreaker. Alternately, you can create a website for your podcast through a blogging platform like Wordpress. Post your first episode to your podcast website. Listen through once to make sure everything uploaded correctly. Boost your new podcast and first episode through social media and other marketing. Contact your email list, tell your friends, and get in touch with like-minded podcasters. You can list your podcast on iTunes to make it widely available. For more information about starting your own podcast, check out “How to Start Your Own Podcast” by LifeHacker. What content should I feature on my podcast to help publicize my book? Share the research you did or background knowledge that helped you write your book. Share the first chapter, a particularly well-written section, or your favorite part of your book to entice listeners to buy the whole thing to hear how it ends. Release chapters of your book in episodes just like serial radio shows of old. The one obvious downside to this is you receive no payment, but it will put the words you wrote in the hands (or rather, ears) of a wider audience.