Boost Your Author Platform: How to Host Your Own Radio Show

Boost Your Author Platform: How to Host Your Own Radio Show

GIVEAWAY: Dorit is offering a 45-minute slot on her radio show, “Giving Voice to Your Story” for one lucky reader to talk about his or her memoir! See below to enter and you could win a chance to be interviewed in February or April 2015.

When we talk about author platform, many writers think about print media such as books and blog posts. Based on my own experience building my own author platform, an audio component such as an Internet radio show makes a great addition.

A radio show adds a different dimension to your writing and generates interest in you and your book. When people read your website and guest posts, they are “reading your voice” and imagining what you sound like. On a radio show, your fans can hear and “feel” you much more directly than they can through an article.

In addition, a radio show helps you build public speaking and media credits. If you’re looking to get on syndicated news, local radio and news channels and even national television, a radio show will help you share your personality with producers.

Sound like something you might want to do? Here’s how to develop your own radio show.

My experience as a radio show host

My global radio show, “Giving Voice to Your Story,” went live in July 2013 as part of the Creating Calm Network Broadcast Group. I had already established myself as a blogger, but I wanted to create a more solid online platform and prepare for the release of my memoir, even though the publishing date was over a year and a half away.

I connected online with non-fiction authors and memoirists I liked and to my surprise, many wholeheartedly wanted to be interviewed! It wasn’t long before I’d built a following. Within five months, I was able to bring on board noted authors such as Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, and Linda Gray Sexton, memoirist and daughter of the Pulitzer-prize-winning poet Anne Sexton.

Since I launched my radio show, people have started recognizing me as an expert because I associate myself with expert authors.

Planning your radio show

As when writing an article, blog post or novel, the first thing you do is plan the subject matter of your radio show. Keep in mind that the topic should be something about which you are knowledgeable and feel passionate about, and one that potential book-buyers will be interested in.

Your show might include chapter-by-chapter readings of your book, how-to tips or interviews.  In my experience, listeners are a lot less interested in stories than they are in the lessons they can learn from them. Talk about the life lessons you learned or share advice from your experience, and then allude to your book, which of course goes into more detail.

On my blog as well as on my show, I talk about various craft issues related to memoir such as the voice of experience versus the voice of innocence, how to break the silence and write about challenging emotions or painful parts of life, or how to write about uncomfortable issues so that one’s memoir doesn’t read like a journal, but an actual story.

I refer to specific scenes to talk about these issues. For example, I finally broke my silence to write about a bullying experience while serving in the Israel Defense Forces, and my next step is to broadcast a “break the silence” radio episode. I shared these insights on a recent LinkedIn discussion along with a previous link to the show and readers were not only grateful, but shared their thoughts behind the challenges. The comments quickly turned into a great discussion and helped create a supportive community.

Aim for a show between 15 and 60 minutes long. You’ll want people to be able to listen to it in one sitting (or one trip), but you don’t want it to be so short that your listeners will resent the fact they bothered to tune in or download it. Consider adding music to open and close the program. Google “public domain music” or “royalty-free music” for download options.

How often you choose to put out a new episode is up to you, but I feel the frequency of a radio show follows the same rules as blog posts: Release a new episode as often as you think you can commit to regularly and faithfully. The shorter the show, the more frequent you can be without overloading your audience.

Interested in interviewing guests?

You’d be surprised how happy agents are to book one of their authors as a guest on a radio show. You can also put a call out for guests on your social media channels. With self-promotion so necessary to book sales, authors are hungry to spread the word about their work.

Whenever I finish a great memoir, I immediately connect with the author online and inquire if he or she is interested in being on my show. Almost 99% of the time, the answer is yes. This is how I’ve secured most of my guest appearances. The key is to start with your local community of authors and build your way up. After a while, you’ll build a following and you can quote your number of listeners when you’re approaching bigger-name authors.

Essential equipment

To broadcast your radio show, you’ll need a few things:

  • A computer or laptop with high-speed Internet connection. The beauty of hosting your own radio show is that you can do it from the comforts of your own home.
  • A headset with both headphones and microphone. The benefit to the headset is that you can adjust the distance of the mic from your mouth and it stays there.

That’s it! Easy, right?

Broadcasting a show

Blog Talk Radio is the most popular venue for Internet radio and offers an easy start up. There are three tiers of monthly payments, with more benefits as you move up to the account types. There’s also a free account, but it only allows five listeners, so it’s not as useful.

The main difference between the three packages ($39, $99 and $249) is the number of shows you can broadcast as well as more promotions. With the $249 package, you can live-stream from any website rather than just on Blog Talk Radio’s site.

I’ve made the switch to Instant Teleseminar, which is user-friendly for both the listener and host. My recordings are immediately available after the show, so I can post them on my site for listeners to download.

Get ready for your first show

Here’s a handy checklist of how to prepare before and during the show:

  • Make sure you’re recording in a quiet place. Microphones pick up strange sounds that can easily distract listeners.
  • Write an outline or script for your show before recording. This cuts down on the “ums” and “ahs.”
  • If you’re doing a live recording (a show you’ve promoted with listeners tuning in live, rather than one recorded for later download) make sure you’re comfortable with your equipment and software. Practice beforehand so your first live show goes smoothly. Offer listeners a chance during the show to ask questions.

Marketing and promoting your radio show

Now that you’ve finished your first episode, you need a home base to fully capitalize on the marketing potential of your episodes. A blog or writer website is a good option and makes you easier to find. Make sure that your site has the link to your latest show prominently displayed along with your information.

Since I’m part of a network, the show producers help promote all of the network’s shows. My show appears on its own home page and on the network’s social media channels.

Promote your show on your own by creating tweets and Facebook posts highlighting different points in the radio show. For example, you could mention a lesson you learned in an unlikely situation, then link to your upcoming episode (or recording) for people to learn more.

Make your latest episodes easy to find, and distribute recordings on established networks such as iTunes or Audible, which let you upload your recordings for wider distribution. Be sure to include your name and URL at the beginning and end of each recording, and consider crafting a short, catchy promo to share on your networks.

Not ready to host your own show?

Instead of going it alone, take on a cohost or two. You could either record together for a talk-show-like adventure, or host your own episodes as part of a group show. You’d see many of the same benefits, but without having to record a new episode quite as often.

If hosting a radio show sounds too daunting, consider being a guest on a show. Choose one that speaks to you. One great way to get started is to check the daily listings over at Help a Reporter Out (HARO). I see requests for radio show guests almost daily. Subscribe to the daily digest to receive updates on all kinds of media requests. You can also set up a Google Alert for “radio show” and “guests wanted/needed” which you can receive up to several times a day straight to your inbox.

Another option is to search for radio shows in your genres. You’ll find lots of them out there, so again, you’ll need to be choosy. Approach the host or producer and ask if he or she has slots for guests for future interviews. It never hurts to ask! As a guest, you’ll still have to prepare for the show, but you’ll be spreading the word about your book, building your brand and creating a following with less pressure than hosting your own show.

Hosting your own radio show can be an effective way to round out your online presence while giving you one more way to engage and connect with your audience. Have fun and happy recording!

Have you tried hosting a radio show? Would you consider adding one to your author platform?

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment below with the words “pick me!” to enter to win a 45-minute slot on “Giving Voice to Your Story.” To win, you must have written or be working on a memoir. Leave your comment by January 5, 2015, to enter.

If you haven’t written a memoir but still want to comment, we’d love to hear your thoughts — just don’t include the words “pick me!” (UPDATE: Lori won!)

20 comments

  • Georgette says:

    Thank you for this great excellent article full of effective tips and valuable information! Please pick me! I am working on a memoir.

    • Dorit Sasson says:

      Hi, Georgette,
      So glad to know this article was helpful. Good luck with your memoir. I hope you’ll be the lucky one. 🙂
      Thanks, Dorit

  • Natacha Williams says:

    “Pick Me”

    My name is Natacha Williams and I am 39 years old. I was born in Jamaica Queens N.Y. on December 3. I am the oldest of girl of six, 2 sisters and 3 brothers(One is deceased). I am a wife and a mother of 8 kids, 7 boys and 1 little girl. I graduated from Wake Technical Community College with an Associate Degree in Business and several certifications under my degree. I have been through so much in my life as a teen mom, a single mom, abuse as a young girl and a near death experience. I am the founder of a non-profit organization: “A Lost Girl 2 A Virtuous Woman” and also writing my first memoir: “From Lost Girl to Virtuous Woman-I’m Still Standing.” I know that I have a purpose to fill and I have been chosen and appointed for a time such as this. My vision is to help and encourage as many lost girls(as I was) to becoming virtuous women(my journey) and to know their worth(as I didn’t). I am here to serve you. My very first book, “From Lost Girl To Virtuous Woman: I’m Still Standing.” Will be released in 2015. Be on the look out for a life changing book.

    • Dorit Sasson says:

      Thank you for sharing your story, Natacha. It sounds very powerful and I love your intention behind the story. All the best for a successful 2015!
      Dorit

      • Natacha says:

        Thank you so much, Dorit. The experience of me writing my first book has been challenging but, rewarding. I’m hoping to release my book in 2015.

  • Kelly Waterhouse says:

    Pick Me!

    My husband and I, sailing around the world on our 35′ Dufour, Moorea. Our world voyage covered 35,000 nautical miles and visited 30 countries.

    People said we were crazy because we sold everything, our house, cars, furniture to do this. It was risky but the rewards were many.

    I wrote two books about our adventure. If you want an interesting topic for your radio program, full of adventure, Kelly.

    • Dorit Sasson says:

      Wow – what a journey. I just finished reading Tania Abbey’s, “Maiden Voyage,” a memoir about the journey of the first American to sail solo. I’d love to read and interview you for your journey as well.
      All the best for 2015,
      Dorit

  • Karen Kenney says:

    Hi Dorit,

    It’s Christmas Eve and I just got a chance to sit down and read your article. Wow, it was such a fantastic and informative piece! Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge and sharing it with all of us. I’ve been hosting a Yoga TV show (The Yoga Show with Karen) for the past 13 years and have been thinking about maybe writing for radio one day (NPR) and have been playing with the idea of hosting my own podcast/ radio show – so this will definitely help me get started.

    I would love if you would “PICK ME” – to be an honored guest on your show: Giving Voice to Your Story. I am currently working on the first draft of my memoir about my mom’s murder when I was 12 years old. It’s about my journey to make some sense of a childhood tragedy and find forgiveness not only for my mother’s killer, but for a family shattered by her death. This is a story about grief and love, about holding on and letting go, and ultimately about discovering the gifts that lie at the heart of our deepest, most painful losses.

    Thank you so much for your time and consideration. Wishing you a beautiful Holiday Season.

    Peace-Blessings,

    KK

    • Dorit Sasson says:

      Hi, Karen,
      I am thrilled to know this information was helpful for you. Great to know! Your journey sounds powerful. Good luck. I hope you get picked!
      All the best for 2015!
      Dorit

  • Sharon MaHarry says:

    Hi Dorit,
    Thank you so much for your very informative article. It’s Christmas Day and I finally had a chance to sit down and read the entire thing. I’ve recently finished my memoir called “Crazy Mama: A Memoir of Love and Madness” and I’m currently querying agents. My story is about losing normal at the age of eight when my mother had her first psychotic break. It’s about the shame and stigma of mental illness, the barbaric practices in mental hospitals during the late fifties and early sixties, about suicide and sexual abuse and forgiveness. But the real miracle of my story happens because I never gave up that my real mother, sane and happy, would come back to me some day.
    I’m still building my platform (my website isn’t even up yet) and I’m somewhat daunted by the task so please PICK ME so I can get the word out.
    All the best of the season,
    Sharon

    • Dorit Sasson says:

      Hi, Sharon,
      Congrats on finishing your memoir – that’s fantastic! Good luck with the querying agent process. It sounds like this interview will be perfect for you. Happy 2015!
      Dorit

  • Wanda says:

    Hi Dorit,

    My book ‘My Life Interpreted’ speaks about finding the keys to fulfillment within your everyday experiences no matter who you are. Your listeners will definitely relate to the stories in my book and appreciate a fresh perspective on their daily grind.

    You should ‘pick me’ because my content speaks to everyone, and I’ve got a great voice for radio!
    Wanda

    • Dorit Sasson says:

      Thanks, Wanda! I love these kinds of books because they contain universal lessons we can all benefit from. Is your book a memoir or is it infused with personal story snippets?

  • Gabriella says:

    please pick me I’m the bereaved mother of a special needs child whose sudden death has devastated my husband and I even as we must raise our surviving children and five years on are expecting a new baby. The literature on the nature of our particular loss is sorely lacking; as a published writer of personal essay and memoir who has studied with Patricia Hampl, Thomas Lynch, Bich Nguyen and Mardi Jo Link, I can participate in a lively conversation with you about craft, the balance we strike between writing and parenting, which is so challenging, and meaning and suffering. I’d love this opportunity. Thank you.

    • Dorit Sasson says:

      I’d love this opportunity Gabriella, and I am so sorry for your loss. I hope all goes well for you in the coming year.
      Thank you for sharing your journey.
      Dorit

  • jppickens says:

    I have no desire to rehash my life story in book form, however, I’m planning to write a book which I hope to turn into a movie about domestic abuse. It will be a cross between You Got Mail and Bourne Identity. I am currently waiting to publish a book, Josephine Country Cat, A Story of Kindness. Just waiting for the artist to get me the pictures. I’ve started on two more, Josephine and Crew, and Josephine’s Tales. After I finish with the Josephine books, I will start on Take A Chance.

  • Albert Flynn DeSilver says:

    Pick me!! “Beamish Boy:A Memoir” came out in 2012. Thanks for this great post. Have been thinking a lot about tele-seminars for 2015 and radio is another fantastic idea! With gratitude, Albert

  • Tammy Thomas says:

    Pick Me! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge on how I can host my own radio show! I am authoring a memoir, honing my public speaking topic on ethics in sports, and I’ll be launching my new blog within the next week.

    In my memoir, The Resilient Cyclist, I detail my personal story as a sportswoman who lost everything because of my desire to win. During my quest to become an Olympic champion, I found myself trapped by sexually abusive coaches (one of whom introduced me to a lifetime of cheating in sports and used the practice of witchcraft to scare me into silence) and my own poor decisions. After becoming a member of the United States Cycling Team, my meteoric climb into the elite world of international cycling was halted by several positive tests for steroids, and I became the first cyclist to receive a lifetime ban for doping. I was also the first person to stand trial for my involvement in the BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative) case—made infamous by Barry Bonds—that rocked Major League Baseball, the NFL, and Olympic sports, and was branded a felon for life. My BALCO trial garnered attention from news outlets around the world, with a strong presence in the courtroom from ESPN, The Associated Press, The New York Times, New York Daily News, and USA Today. Yet to tell my story in my own words, The Resilient Cyclist examines my downfall, my federal trial, and my recommitment to faith.

    Recent documentaries, televised newscasts, and numerous magazine and newspaper articles tend to focus only on the negative consequences of doping within sports rather than how trauma caused by the athletes’ mistakes can be overcome. The Resilient Cyclist is not just another book about doping in sports—it is a record of my life which took a wrong turn when I met my first cycling coach. This first account published about the subject of steroid use and addiction by a female cyclist will take readers on a behind-the-scenes journey filled with drama, intrigue, and outrageous characters, while still providing them with hope for the future.

    Thank you!

  • Lori Schafer says:

    Please pick me! I’m unafraid of shameless self-promotion! 😉

    Seriously, though, My memoir On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened: A Daughter’s Memoir of Mental Illness was just released in November, and I would love to be a guest on your show. Here’s the blurb:

    It was the spring of 1989. I was sixteen years old, a junior in high school and an honors student. I had what every teenager wants: a stable family, a nice home in the suburbs, a great group of friends, big plans for my future, and no reason to believe that any of that would ever change.

    Then came my mother’s psychosis.

    I experienced first-hand the terror of watching someone I loved transform into a monster, the terror of discovering that I was to be her primary victim. For years I’ve lived with the sadness of knowing that she, too, was a helpless victim – a victim of a terrible disease that consumed and destroyed the strong and caring woman I had once called Mom.

    My mother’s illness took everything. My family, my home, my friends, my future. A year and a half later I would be living alone on the street on the other side of the country, wondering whether I could even survive on my own.

    But I did. That was how my mother – my real mother – raised me. To survive.

    She, too, was a survivor. It wasn’t until last year that I learned that she had died – in 2007. No one will ever know her side of the story now. But perhaps, at last, it’s time for me to tell mine.

    ***

    It’s a terrific book to talk about, not just because of the subject matter, but also because it has a non-traditional narrative structure, which makes it interesting from a writer’s perspective as well as from a reader’s. You can learn more here on my website: http://lorilschafer.com/on-hearing-of-my-mothers-death-six-years-after-it-happened-memoir/.

    Regarding your article, I had never given any thought to hosting my own radio program, but now I’m intrigued. Most marketing work is more laborious than entertaining, but this sounds as though it might actually be fun, and so easy to promote through social media outlets. I will definitely be looking into it further.

    Let me also say congratulations, Dorit, on The Write Life being named one of the Top Ten Blogs for Writers for 2015. It’s a wonderful honor, and well-deserved. 🙂

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