How to Get Virtual Interviews

Even for Those Previously Out-of-Reach Shows!

by Melissa Dalton Martinez

I work in the media (mostly TV) and have some inside information for all you lovely authors out there. Now is an excellent time for you to get on TV, both within your home market and across the country.

Most news and lifestyle shows are doing virtual interviews through Skype, Zoom, or other, similar platforms. This means you have the opportunity to appear on TV shows that were previously out of reach unless you traveled to each of their locations, but now you can do it from your home office.


So how do you get that interview?

  • Target your area’s lifestyle shows. Every local NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX station has them. In Utah, where I live, our local lifestyle shows are Studio 5  (NBC), The Place  (FOX), Fresh Living  (CBS), and Good Things Utah  (ABC). Do your research to find your local shows, then—and this is very important—watch  those shows. Get a good understanding of the types of things they’re talking about and how long their interview segments are. They’re typically around thirty to forty minutes.
  • Find a contact person for each of the shows you want to pitch to and learn about their story criteria. If they don’t list any criteria, refer back to what you saw when watching the show.
  • Pay attention to current events. Can you tie your book or story to anything happening in the world? Does it coincide with a holiday or awareness month?
  • Write your pitch, which is one to two paragraphs of the overall story. Then come up with five potential “talking points,” or interview questions. And here’s the kicker—write out your answers to those questions. And remember, you won’t usually have more than four minutes, so talk in “sound bites”—informationally dense, short answers.
  • Remember to make the producer’s job as easy as possible. You don’t  want them having to do research or look for images; that’s your job when you’re pitching them. If they have to do extra work, they will likely not want you on the show. Find images that match your interview. Of course, you’ll send them the book cover, but what other images can be used with your interview story?
  • BE FLEXIBLE. Remember, they do not have to put you on their show, so do everything you can to make it easy for them. Part of this is having two or three different story ideas at the ready in case they don’t like your first pitch.
  • Give them time to respond. They likely have a ton of emails, so they may not get back to you for a couple of days. Give them three days; if they don’t answer, send a follow-up email.

Do This Now

Right now, more than ever, lifestyle shows are looking for content. They want something positive to give their viewers, something they can do at home during the quarantine. So think about what you have  to offer that is new, better, or unique, and write that pitch.

I have had all four of my local stations’ lifestyle shows contact me at least a couple of times a week asking for content because they are struggling to fill their shows. Again, it’s a great time for you to craft a good pitch and get it out there. People need your books right now, so keep it up!

Need help writing your pitch or with other aspects of book marketing? Melissa’s services are listed on our Promotion page!

Melissa Dalton Martinez is a 15+ year veteran in the publishing industry. Melissa interviews authors, artists, and publishing industry experts about their books, their lives, their inspiration, and their advice to others wanting to be authors on her show, The Book Break. Melissa also does private marketing consulting for authors.


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