Top 3 Mistakes Authors Make on Podcasts8 min read

When it comes to being an author there is so much to learn, right?

Understatement of the year. Today I’m going to chat with you a little bit about what it is like to be an author who interviews author’s for a living. Yep. I’m a professional broadcaster who has spent over 20 years behind a microphone of one kind or another interviewing people for broadcast media. The Top 3 Mistakes Authors Make on Podcasts is data that I have collected from interviewing authors, authorpreneurs and small business owners over the past two decades. These mistakes are made only because these authors have never had any desire to learn the basics of marketing. 

Who can blame them? That is not why most of them wrote their books. It was such a labor of love to get the book written, that now that they have to do all of the marketing, it is all rather overwhelming to them, you know what I mean? So let’s cover these top 3 mistakes so that you can get onto the job of being a profitable author.

No Marketing Strategy. As if marketing their book wasn’t alien enough for today’s author, now we are into the depths of discussing a marketing strategy. Say what? Let’s do a little definition here. Strategy. It’s a plan designed to achieve an overall aim.  The primary question to ask yourself with your marketing message is, What is your overall goal? Now for me, when I write a book, it’s not to sell books, it’s basically to create a message. But my purpose for creating that book differs depending upon what is the message in that book. Sometimes I create books because I want people to hire me to help them with their podcast. Other times I write a book, because I want people to call me and find out about some of the tactics that my company uses to be successful. So it depends on the strategy as to why I am doing certain things. And that’s the overall marketing plan. I usually create these marketing plans in six month blocks. But I always have a strategy to be able to make money so I can continue creating – that’s the bottom line for me and most businesses. Planned profitability is required so that we can keep creating & publishing books. 

Now, let’s talk about tactics for a minute. Tactics are carefully planned actions that you want to do to achieve certain ends. So therefore, if some of your tactics work, and are successful, that’s great. If others are failures, guess what? Stop doing those actions. And so this is where strategy vs tactics is so important to get that into your head. Strategy is your plan.  Tactics are your actions. And so once you get that setup in your head and implemented into your marketing, then you have successfully navigated around the number one mistake most authors make. And that is they confuse the strategy and the tactics, they go into debt. And the next thing you know is they have to stop working on selling their books or marketing their programs, because they’re in debt, and they have to go back to work or pull money from a retirement fund. 

No Sales Plan. The second biggest issue I see with authors is their focus on selling a single book. I hear many of my guests say, “I just want to sell more books, Janine.”  “Buy my book. Buy my book.” This is the frequent refrain. Here is a little secret for 92% of authors. Most authors do not make a living by selling just books. Why? The profit margin on a book is anywhere from $2 to $7. In order for you to make $70,000 a year, you would have to sell at least 10,000 copies of your book. Take a moment and think about the amount of work you would have to go through to sell 10,000 copies of your book in order to make that $70,000. Please realize that most profitable authors sell programs, they sell companion classes, they have services and other products that they bundle with their books. I recommend that rather than “sell more books” being your sales plan that your question be, 

How can I build a repertoire of products and services, that selling the book is one of the many tactics to my greater marketing plan? 

No Media Kit. The third biggest mistake authors make going into broadcast interviews is not having a media kit. This is devastating to your overall marketing strategy. Why is that? Because we crazy podcasters make a living creating valuable content that is available for our subscribers. In my book, Author Podcasting: How to be a Stand Out Guest and Take Your Book on a Virtual Tour, the number one message I had was the need of every author to have a media kit. And one of the things that can tell me whether a media kit is good or not, is the headshot. 

  • Start with a high quality headshot. When I first started doing interviews for The Practical Mystic Show in 2017, I was interviewing many small business owners that had rarely been on radio or podcast programs before. Most of these business owners would send me these tiny logo sized files that the pixelation was close to microscopic! So we had to do a little bit of client education for professionally quality headshots, you can see the difference immediately. You want high pixelation levels so broadcasters & podcasters can take your image and put it into thumbnails from the small 500 by 500 size all the way up to the 3000 by 3000 size required by some of the broadcast platforms. Also, you want a variety of headshots in your media kit, I highly recommend that you have some shots of you holding your books, some are close ups, some are of you doing things that are your hobby. Variety is good here.
  • Have a readable introduction. The other thing about your media kit is you want an introduction, not necessarily a bio. Many of today’s  bios are written in first person. “Hi, I’m so and so this is what I’ve done yada, yada.” However as an interviewer, I’m the one introducing you. So please create a 250 to 300 word introduction that your podcaster or or your broadcaster or your TV host can actually use to introduce you. Please note: your introduction needs to be easy to say. The microphone is very unforgiving when you put five words that start with the letter P all together (yes, that has happened to me!) or use lots of acronyms that most people don’t know. (I had an author once give me a bio that had a short paragraph of acronyms with no description of what they all meant.) 
  • Create Interview Questions. When you know what your marketing strategy is, when you have your marketing plan figured out, you want to set up the interview questions so that people can get to know you a little bit better. They can kind of trust that you know what you’re talking about, and then they’ll actually want to buy from you because you have an engaging story to tell. Write up three to five interview questions that help share with the audience who you are as a person and then tell them stories that drive them to your website or landing page where they can learn more about you. This really helps your interviewer out.

At some point during a show the interviewer will alert the audience on where they can “go” to learn more about you or your services. They usually say something like,  “Hey, Janine, if somebody really likes what they’ve heard today, where can they find you?” Frequently, I say, Well, Jannette, you can find a lot of free stuff on my website at”

 You want to drive traffic to a very specific location, and you want to make it easy for somebody to type the address. Why? Because if your name is anything like mine, you don’t want the audience trying to guess how to spell your name.I have a name that’s very difficult to spell. So the last thing I’m going to do is, “Oh, just look me up on LinkedIn.” Who knows how many people are named Janine? And then there’s a whole variety of ways that you can spell Bolon. 

Make sure that you take the time before interviews to set up your marketing strategy (have a plan), implement the necessary tactics (select actions) that will keep your profitability going so that you can continue to create the awesome message that you have to share with the world. The best way to wrap all of this up in a nice tidy package is to have a media kit that will allow you to submit your content quickly and effectively to your broadcasters so they can use your content in their promotional programs. 

If you would like to take a free course on building your media kit, I offer one here. My ultra short course on media kits. It takes less than an hour and you’ll have a very workable kit after you’re done. Good luck on your next interview and may your profits be high and your costs low!


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