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Thursday, 29 March 2012

It's Strictly Business for FFP

Once again a selection of books by Famous Five Plus authors appears in the popular e-magazine, Strictly Business in their April edition.

This month thanks to Paul and Debbie at Strictly Business Magazine our book's page appears next to a very well known holiday centre parks for families. Perfect for showcasing our books ready for your holiday read!

Once again a HUGE thank you to Strictly Business Magazine for their amazing support for Famous Five Plus

To learn more about Strictly Business Magazine visit our Friends Page

If you love reading why not join our FFP Reader's Club, you'll be spoilt for choice with so many books to choose from and of course you get to know the authors too! Visit our Books Page for details

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Peggy Stanton known for her cut to the chase approach has joined Famous Five Plus as the in-house celeb interviewer. Today, Peggy posts her first interview after meeting Detective Sergeant Bill Murphy.

Afterwards Bill told me, that he could not remember ever being in such an interview like this one before, then added that is was one he'd never forget either!

Dead Wood, Night Watcher & All That Jazz
Peggy – Leaning forward for a chaste kiss on the cheek – ‘Do sit down, I’ve ordered us a pot of tea.’

Bill Murphy – Sitting down in the chair opposite. ‘Thanks, Chris asked me to pop along here for an interview.’
Peggy – ‘Chris, she’s like me, one for words, mind I’m more for speaking them. Anyway, thanks for coming along, Bill. You don’t mind if I call you Bill?’

Bill – Nodding a smile. ‘That’s okay. I’ve been called worse.’
Peggy – ‘I’ve been doing a bit of ferreting around and it seems you’re a Detective Sergeant. So I take it no uniform then? Pity!’

Bill – ‘Hmm, no, but you’re right, I’m a DS with the Dundee Police Force. That’s in Scotland, in case you didn’t know.’

Peggy – ‘You’ll not catch me out on my geography, we’re quite multi national here, Bill. We’ve got writers and characters from lots of countries, down under, that’s Australia, even across the pond, I can see you’re with me, yes it’s USA.’

Bill – Raising an eyebrow. ‘I had a look at your Books room while I was waiting. It’s quite impressive, looked a bit like my local bookstore. I’d tell you the name of it but we’re not allowed to advertise.’

Peggy – ‘You can always advertise us in any book store, that’s very kind of you. Now, from what Chris has told me, you’re a bit like myself, you don’t like following the rules much.’

Bill – ‘She has her own opinions, but I follow the rules, provided they don’t get in the way.’

Peggy Smiling. ‘It’s not what I’ve heard, I get the impression they get in the way quite a lot. A little birdie told me you’ve added the word bend to your set of rules!’

Bill – Shifting in his seat. ‘I’m not sure where you’re coming from on that one, but let’s just say, I get the job done. Anyway, there’s more to me than detective work, I’m quite a nice guy at the end of the day. A bit lonely sometimes. In fact I believe there are some readers who’d like to see me settled with a nice woman. Not that I’d mind that, I just never seem to be lucky with women.’
Peggy Raising her hand to her hair, gently strokes it. ‘I love a saddo, if you know what I mean. There’s nothing wrong in being lonely, but do tell me about the women in your life? I’m sure it’s more fascinating then the men in mine.’

Bill – Flicking some invisible fluff from his trousers leg. ‘Not much to tell. I was married once, you know. But like a lot of cop marriages it didn’t last. Not my fault, you understand. Evie, her name was. She had a roving eye and a taste for alcohol. She ran off with my best friend.’
Peggy – Notices the pained look in Bill’s face. ‘I don’t think she was the only one with a roving eye a good looking man like you must have cast your net out from time to time, surely there have been other women?’

Bill – Casting a glance across the room at the video playing, he smiled. ‘One or two, but they didn’t come to anything much.’

Peggy – Leaning forward in a conspirator tone. ‘Do tell me about them, I’m the soul of discretion?’

Bill – Raising his hand and counting on his fingers. ‘There was Julie. I met her in Night Watcher. I really thought that might have come to something, but when the case was over she went back to Edinburgh. She said she would phone, but she never did. Then I met Louise in Dead Wood, and that was developing nicely until the fiasco in Templeton Woods. That gave her quite a fright and she went home to her mum for a while. She’s back now, but Sue told me she wanted some space.’

Peggy  – ‘My my you’re one for scaring them off , what with night watching, dead wood and what’s the other, Templeton wood. Anybody since then?’

Bill – With a far away look. ‘Well, there’s someone I’m quite attracted to in the new book Chris is writing. Diane, her name is. The problem is her daughter vanished five years ago and it kind of messed her up psychologically. I really like her, she brings out the protective side in me, but there’s an even bigger problem because I think she might have committed a murder.’

Peggy   Stifling a chuckle ‘You like to live in the fast lane, good grief what happened to nice girls next door. Never mind, I can see this Diane could be a bit of a handful, particularly in your job.’

Bill – Shifting in his chair.  ‘Are we done yet? It’s just that my new DI isn’t very understanding and I didn’t tell her where I was going.’
Peggy – Placing a reassuring hand on Bill’s knee ‘I’m sure I can talk with your DI, better still I’ll invite her for an interview, as a senior officer, she’ll understand how important it is to answer questions. Maybe she can enlighten me more on what goes with her staff, so stop fretting. My for a policeman out of uniform you’re a worrier, well, if you’re in a hurry, I guess that will do for now. But do come back another day when you have a bit more time. I’d like to know more about this mad woman who could have murdered someone. Also I’ll be wanting to know if you are seeing her, nothing like some excitement to talk over coffee with my lady friends.’

Bill – Standing up, amusement crossing his face, just what had he subjected himself to with this Peggy interview?. ‘Of course, provided you clear it with Chris. I like to let her think she controls me, although to tell the truth I’m afraid I just do my own thing.’

Peggy – ‘I think you’ve got that wrong Bill, whoever this Chris is seems a pussy cat compared to your DI, never mind, run along and hurry back.’

To learn more about Chris and DS Bill Murphy visit our Author, Books & Trailer Pages

If you love reading why not join our FFP Reader's Club, visit our Books Page for details

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Best selling author, Helen Hollick shares her knowledge and experience on how to make your novel shine,Discovering the Diamond.

After being asked the same questions about the ins and outs of writing a novel, and finding that replying with the same advice, time and again, was becoming a bit repetitive, I decided to write a few notes on the subject. These proved popular, so with assistance from UK freelance editor Jo Field, I expanded the original four pages to twenty four, and recently added more information with the intention of publishing these ‘hints and tips for new writers’ as an e-book on Kindle, with the aid of Helen Hart, director of SilverWood Books UK. Add a superb Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphic design for a cover – and hey presto, a handy guide for anyone who wants information on how to (and how not to) write a novel.

The basis for Discovering the Diamond is the premise that all books start out in rough draft, unpolished form; not until the re-writing, the editing, the copy-editing and the proof reading has taken place does the finished novel shine like a diamond.  I discuss subjects such as  author’s voice; ‘show’ not ‘tell’; the stages of editing – why it is important to have your work edited; dealing with repetition; what tense to write in and many other pieces of useful information, all aimed at helping the new writer.

I explain why it is essential to present your book correctly if you decide to self-publish – and include a little on marketing and sales. All of it is written from my experience as a writer (I was first published almost twenty years ago, and have ‘made it’ into the best seller lists in the US). I may not be an expert on writing, but I do know, from experience, what not to do.

I am also the UK editor for the Historical Novel Society, being responsible for co-ordinating reviews of historical fiction that is self-published in the UK (my US colleagues handle novels published in the US and elsewhere). Through novels submitted to the HNS I have discovered that too many authors who decide to self-publish their work do not realise the basics of setting a book out correctly – i.e. single spaced lines of text, and having straight margins on both sides (not ’left justified’ with a straight margin on the left hand side only) providing adequate margins etc. There is no reason why an author producing a self-published novel cannot ensure that their work is every bit as good as a book published by a mainstream publishing house, providing care and attention to the writing, and the production is adhered to.

I enjoy helping authors get started, so I sincerely hope my contribution of Discovering the  Diamond helps one or two prospective writers achieve their dream of writing and publishing a quality novel.

Discovering the Diamond paperback paperback Kindle

Special Offer: available free for four days only from Friday 30th March – Monday 2nd April

You can learn more about Helen and all her publications from the following links

other links: Is a friend of FFP and more details can be found on our Friends Page

If you love reading why not join our exclusive FFP Reader's Club, visit our Books Page for details

Monday, 26 March 2012

Meet Molly Parker the sassy lass from Too Much Trouble in Paradise, the saucy sexy book by Michelle Betham.

Hiya!  I’m Molly Parker and I’m a thirty-something Geordie-girl (like Cheryl Cole – you know who she is, don’t you?) living on the beautiful Spanish Canarian island of Tenerife.  And I love it!  I love the sunshine and the lazy weekends and the cheap beer… oh, come on, I told you I was a Geordie! 

Anyway, what am I doing here in Tenerife in the first place?  I mean, this place is about as different as you can get to my native north east England but… well, the thing is, I used to be married to a professional darts player you see, called Paul Parker and, believe it or not, he was about as sexy as you could get - for a darts player.  Actually, he was really sexy but, as well as being the sport’s very own eye-candy, he was also a huge pain in the backside!  Oh yes.  He may have been nice to look at (very nice, actually) but he had a wandering eye that never stopped him from hitting that bullseye – in more ways than one, if you get me drift.  And I wasn’t standing for that so I divorced him, and then moved here, to this wonderful island.  And it wasn’t long before I met someone else, someone just as sexy – if not more so – than Paul Parker.  His name was Antonio, a native Canarian, and he owns a gorgeous little sea front bar in the beautiful resort of Costa Adeje with fabulous views of the ocean and the beach and -  well, anyway, it was a bit of a whirlwind romance really, because within months of meeting our wedding was all planned, and I was so excited at the thought of gliding up that aisle towards my handsome Spanish prince…

But, hey, the book I’m in is called Too Much Trouble in Paradise isn’t it?  So, I think you’ve probably gathered that not everything went to plan, and boy, was that an understatement!  Just thinking about everything that went on still brings me out in a hot flush, either that or I’m hitting an extremely early menopause but, quite frankly, given the way things have been going lately, nothing would surprise me anymore.

So, just what did go on then? I hear you ask.  Well, I guess you’re just going to have to read the book to find out.  And if you do, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  I mean, looking back at it all now I can laugh about most of it – just!  But at the time… oh, I can’t go over it all again, it’ll bring me out in that rash…

No, I’m not going to tell you anymore.  I’m going to go and lie down on my sun lounger outside on the patio and grab a few hours in the Canarian sunshine, maybe mix  myself up a little cocktail… Oh, sorry, is the weather not quite so nice where you are?  Well, tell you what, why not go grab yourself a copy of Too Much Trouble in Paradise and lose yourself in a little bit of Spanish sun – and then you can find out just what happened to me, Molly Parker… yeah, my story might just give you a laugh… now, can somebody please pass me the sun lotion…?

To learn more about Michelle & Molly visit our

If you love reading come along and join our FFP Reader's Club, so many books to choose from and you can get to know the authors! Visit our Books Page for the link

Friday, 23 March 2012

It's Published, The Lost Soul by Suzy Turner

Suzy Turner, author of Raven & December Moon, is super excited to announce that the final book in The Raven Saga trilogy, The Lost Soul, is now available!

December and Lilly have got their work cut out for them. Not only are they desperately trying to figure out the identity of the Lost Soul, and track him down, they've also got to investigate why Powell River's newest resident has got all of their men falling at her feet.
But when they learn that the Nephilim might be involved, it becomes clear that they're all in extreme danger... 

The stench of something rotten filled the air as the man tried to lift his heavy head. Opening his eyes, it took a moment for them to adjust to the strange dull light of a new day. Wincing, he managed to hold his head up just long enough to notice the smell belonged to a rotting corpse to his side. He heaved, but there was nothing left in his stomach. He hadn't eaten in days. 
Weak, cold and hungry, he curled into a ball on the mossy ground and sobbed. 

When he no longer had the strength to even do that, he stared up at the sky; the orange and yellow hues entwined in a rainbow effect as far as his eyes could see.

The only sounds that could be heard were his rough breathing combined with the gentle whooshing of the silver trees that surrounded the deep ditch within which he found himself.
A hummingbird appeared from nowhere, hovering above him, flying up and down and around his face. The man tried to focus his eyes upon it but his vision had become blurry.
When the bird came to an abrupt halt almost touching his nose, he realised it wasn't a bird at all.

A faint giggle erupted from the creature, making him jump.
"No, this can't be," he whispered, hoarsely.
The little creature with large blue wings nodded back, "Yes, it can," she responded, "I can see you are in dire need of help. I will gather my friends and we will return to get you out of here. You will be safe. Do not worry." 
Disappearing out of sight in a flash, the man collapsed once more before he fell into a deep sleep.

To get your copy of The Lost Soul for just $0.99, visit US AMAZON 

To learn more about Suzy visit our Author, Books & Trailer Pages

If you love reading why not join our exciting new FFP Reader's Club where you can chat with the authors and find out what makes a writer write!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Amanda Egan on the Tricky Part of Pricing!

Amanda Egan, author of two humorous novels, Diary of a Mummy Misfit and The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit, talks about the tricky part of pricing your books.

As all Indies know, we're constantly learning whilst on the job.  Writing the books is the easy part - it's the promoting that's the killer.

We do all we can to increase our exposure - to make sure that we get our names out there - but sometimes we hit a flat patch and need to consider different options.

I'd been selling my books for almost a year for just over £3 and sales had been going well.  The New Year showed a big increase in sales, possibly because lots of people received Kindles as Christmas gifts.  Then, suddenly I seemed to come to a bit of a stand-still.  Loyal readers were eagerly awaiting my next offering but I didn't seem to be reaching a new audience.

So, after looking at the prices other Indies were charging for their books, I decided to bring both of mine down to £1.91/$2.99 and suddenly I was selling books faster than ever before.  I guess, like all marketing, it's a case of meeting the market and I'd hit a price people were prepared to pay to take a chance on a relative newbie.

Originally I'd planned to reduce my books for a limited time only but now I think I'd rather know that my books weren't written in vain - they're being read and enjoyed by more and more people every day, and that's why I wrote them.  Certainly not to become a millionaire!  Although I wouldn't say no!

So my books will remain at the reduced price and I will take pleasure in the fact that I'm spreading my Indie net wider.

To learn more about Amanda, visit our Author, Books & Trailer Pages

If you love reading why not join our exciting new FFP Reader's Club where you can chat with great authors, visit our Books Page for details

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Typos & Thorns by Kathryn Brown

Author of Discovery at Rosehill, Kathryn Brown tackles the thorny subject on typo errors.

As we know, editing and proof reading is immensely important for any author. When I finished the final edit on Discovery at Rosehill I sent it off to a professional editor who then started editing it herself. I have to say she ripped it apart but in some cases it was necessary. In others however, I ignored her suggestions because I felt some of what was said would have totally changed the plot, and as I was beginning to lose the plot, I decided to go with my gut instinct. But something that wasn’t scrutinised in great detail was the actual proof reading of the manuscript, i.e. checking for typos and easily-missed errors.
After one or two people pointed out to me that they’d found a couple of typos I was mortified. I couldn’t believe that my hard work had gone to print and to Kindle, only to be presented with odd typos that people would take great pleasure in nick-picking. One reviewer in particular took away the enjoyment of the actual story when she focused more on the few typos she’d spotted and some grammatical errors, something no one else has admitted to noticing. I accept that they’re there, I wouldn’t ever question someone’s review, but I don’t think it’s necessary to mention typos in a review on such a site as Amazon. A gentle and polite email would have sufficed and perhaps encouraged me to get the book re-edited.
However, I’ve been noticing recently that errors of both grammar and typos do exist in any book, whether it is self-published or traditionally published. One book I read a while ago had tons of errors in it and even I questioned where it had been published as I looked on the back and noticed it was a professional publishing company. I flagged this up with a few contacts and their reaction stunned me somewhat:
In a nutshell, it seems to be the case, according to the ‘people in the know’, that typos found in a self-published book are the fault of the author, whereas in a traditionally published book they are “printing errors”. What? was my first reaction. But isn’t a traditionally published book edited, proof read, edited again and proof read again before it goes to print, just like (most) self-published books are? So how can that be a printer error? Unless of course technology has moved on so much that printers edit and proof read before they actually print (or don’t, as the case may be...) And what’s more, if a self-published author has their book edited and proof read by a professional body, then shouldn’t that person also take part of the blame? If I was paying a professional to double check my typos then I’d be a bit fed up to find several typos once the book had gone to print. I do agree that it’s the author’s responsibility to make absolutely sure their book is free of errors before it’s offered for sale, but one can’t exactly blame Amazon, Lulu or another printing guru for the typos the author/editor/proof reader has missed. What are your thoughts on this?

To learn more about Kathryn, visit our Author, Books & Trailer Pages

If you love reading why not join our FFP Reader's Club, it's fun, over 60 titles to read and also get to know the authors, click on our Books Page to join!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Talli Roland's Check List for a Smooth Book Launch

Talli Roland who writes fun romantic fiction, talks about the most important day in your books life, the launch day!

The Ready, Set, Launch!

Sending any book off into the great big world on its own is always a daunting task. However, with a little help from my checklist below, you can make sure you’ve done everything possible to help make its launch a smooth one.

So, have you:

·        Implemented any special launch prices on your novel to hook in readers?
·        Made sure you’ve tagged your listing with ‘Kindle’, ‘Kindle book’, ‘Cheap Kindle book’, and any other relevant tag to help all those new readers find you?
·        Completed your Amazon Author Central profile, making certain all your books are listed — not just on .com, but also on other Amazon domains (your profile is not automatically filtered through all sites)?
·        Ensured your book blurb will grab readers, has no typos, includes praise to entice readers to buy?
·        Included positive reviews and praise in the front matter of your book, so that when people download the sample, they receive positive reinforcement?
·        Included links in your book to other novels you’ve written?
·        Included links in your book to review sites, such as Goodreads, Library Thing or your Amazon listing, so that when readers have finished, they’ll be encouraged to visit those sites and leave reviews?
·        Updated your blog/ website?
·        Pre-scheduled around-the-clock tweets with links to your novel  to hit all time zones, using hashtags like #Kindle and #Amazon?
·        Posted about your novel on forums like Kindleboards, UK KU Forum, etc?
·        Made your book available on multiple platforms, such as Smashwords, Kobo and Barnes & Noble?

Phew! Giving birth is never easy, is it?  Good luck to everyone launching a book in the coming months, and I hope this list is useful!

Talli Roland writes fun, romantic fiction with just a touch of snark. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories—complete with happy endings. Talli’s debut novel The Hating Game was short-listed for Best Romantic Read at the UK’s Festival of Romance, while her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as an Amazon Customer Favourite. Her novels have also been chosen as top books of the year by industry review websites and have been bestsellers in Britain and the United States. Build A Man is her latest release. Construct a Couple is due out shortly.You can learn more about Talli at

If you love reading why not join our FFP Reader's Club with over 60 titles to read and get to know the authors, visit our Books Page to join!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Serafina Florio talks to Famous Five Plus

Today at Famous Five Plus, we have the pleasure of meeting another character from one of of our author's books, please welcome, Serafina Florio, the amazing star of the Serafina Florio Mystery Series, who summarizes Death of a Serpent by Susan Russo Anderson, Serafina's first staring role!

Death of a Serpent: The Synopsis According to Serafina
November 1866Serafina can’t forget the look of her—body twisted, heart fatally slashed, the serpent’s mark spiralling upon her brow. The poor woman is the third prostitute knifed to death and dumped in the back of Villa Rosa, a high-class house overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The police are useless. So after a bit of dithering, Rosa, the madam and lifelong friend, asks Serafina to catch the killer.
A voluptuous, forty-something midwife and widow with seven children and diminishing funds, Serafina plunges into the investigation, interviewing members of the house, overturning mattresses, raising the dust in the dead women’s rooms.
From the doctor—who has eyes that would melt Scylla—she learns about the similarity of the wounds that killed all three women. From the embalmer she discovers details about the carvings on those dead foreheads. And from the priest she hears the history of the brazen serpent. In typical prelate fashion, he drones on and on while time runs short, telling her much more than she needs to know.
After a harrowing brush with death, Serafina uncovers a thread common to all three victims. With the help of her very pregnant daughter, she devises a stunning plan to ensnare the killer. But will it work?
Serafina has promised to come back and tell us more, so watch this space!

To learn more about Susan & Serafina visit our Author, Books & Trailers Pages

If you love to read why not join our exclusive FFP Reader's Club where you can chat with Famous Five Plus authors, read great books and meet like minded people. Visit our Books Page for details

Friday, 16 March 2012

It's Officially Launched, Shades of Appley Green

The official launch of Shades of Appley Green by Miriam Wakerly.

After much heartache over the late arrival of books last week, followed by the joy of them turning up, the rescheduled book launch finally happened. What a lovely evening it was, all captured on my husband’s video – but not quite fit for public scrutiny, as it needs some sharp editing!

At a gathering of nearly 40 local guests, the evening was opened by the Mayor of Surrey Heath, who spoke very kindly of my books and me. He also stressed the importance of supporting bookshops in this age of the e-reader.  His personal preference is for a book he can pick up and hold and he was very taken with the book cover.  On the other hand, his wife, also at the party, now prefers her Kindle.

I spoke a few words about the book and how it is the first of a new series set in the same village as my first two, but with different themes. I said, ‘I think this one will appeal to different people for different reasons’, giving a few reasons why. As suggested by Cath, the manager at Camberley Waterstone’s, I then did a reading – the blurb on the back cover, the Prologue and the first page of Chapter 1.

Chris Pitt, Councillor for Frimley Green and Deepcut also spoke about how he first met me at a Gypsy and Traveller Forum and thoroughly enjoyed reading the first two novels, Gypsies Stop tHere and No Gypsies Served. I put a lovely comment he once made in an email into my promotional flyer, ‘They are amazingly readable, and I tore through each within about 48 hours of purchasing them. Couldn’t put them down wanting to find out what happened.’ There are local plans for a Traveller site up the road from where I live, so these novels are even more topical and of greater local relevance than when first published.

It was so lovely to have a shop full of people that have come just to see you (and the Mayor etc!), have a glass of wine and some nibbles, and buy a copy of your signed book. I have to pinch myself today to prove this was not just a dream.

To learn more about Miriam visit our Author and Books Pages

If you love reading why not join our exclusive FFP Reader's Club and meet the authors from Famous Five Plus, visit our Books Page for details

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Carol Wyer on TV & Radio Interviews

Carol Wyer, author of Laughter Lines and Mini Skirts shares here experience on radio & television interviews.

Radio Gaga...or... How to make a good impression during interview.

So, you’ve realised your ambition. Your novel is not only published and selling well but you have managed to get yourself some publicity. The local television station is going to interview you and this is your big opportunity to get some credibility as an author. Well, don’t do what I did.

My first interview was with a BBC radio station on a prime lunchtime slot. I genned up on all answers to the questions that I thought I would be asked. I learned my ‘script’ parrot fashion and, just in case I had a case of amnesia, I jotted down salient bullet points on a notepad. Confident I would come across as an intelligent and enthusiastic author; I caught the train and headed north.
Hustled into a darkened room and now seated in front of an earnest disc jockey, I found myself unable to see my precious crib notes. This panicked me. I forgot my script I had learned. I waffled. I ‘uhmed’. I ‘aahed’. I laughed a lot for no good reason. I began to sound like a complete idiot every time he asked a question; I gabbled at 90 miles an hour. I hardly paused for breath until I was thrown a question I hadn’t expected, then nerves got the better of me, and I sat with my mouth opening and shutting until he rescued the situation and I was escorted back out into the light. Of course, once outside the studio I had lucid and intelligent comments to make. I spent the entire journey home thinking up witty and quite frankly hilarious responses. But, of course, by then it was far too late.

Since that dreadful day; I still cringe at the thought of it, I have been interviewed quite a few more times. Should you find yourself in a similar position, here are a few tips which I hope will help you promote both you and your work and prevent you from experiencing a similar situation.

Television Interview Techniques
Before the Interview
Ø      Familiarize yourself with the station, the show format and the reporter.

Ø      If possible, watch the show online or on TV prior.

Ø      Determine if the interview will be taped or live. A taped interview may be edited for length. 

Ø      Arrive early.  Get acclimated.  Meet the reporter and any other guests involved in your segment.

Ø      Review ground rules.  Restate the allotted time and subject matter with the reporter.

Ø      Prepare reporter with interview ‘bullet points’ to follow and discuss.   

Ø      Ask the reporter what their first question might be, and how will they lead off? 

Ø      Dress how you want to be perceived but remember to be yourself. 

During the all Television Interviews 
Ø      Relax.  Breathe. 

Ø      Think and speak in headlines, then support them with examples.

Ø      Keep your answers brief (30 sec max).

Ø      Avoid ‘uh’s’ and ‘umm’s’.

Ø      Flag your message points with signal words -- "The main issue is..."

Ø      Feel free to pause.  Silence is NOT deadly.  Smile to signify the end of your answer.

Ø      Remember who you’re speaking to – who is the show’s audience?  

Ø      Don’t talk down to your audience, simplify any complex messages. 

Ø      If the audience feels they know you, they will trust you. 

Ø      Summarize.  At the end of the interview, restate your key messages.

Ø      Try to match the tone and rhythm of the host or interviewer (unless s/he turns negative).

Ø      Maintain eye contact with the reporter. 

Ø      Assume the camera is on you at all times. 

After The Interview

Ø      Thank the reporter for the opportunity.

Ø      Be alert for the casual question after the interview is presumably over.

Remember - The Perfect Answer is approximately 40 seconds long

In fact, another great tip when being interviewed is to weave in not only the name of your book and/or website but also to say the name of the person interviewing you.  Go ahead and compliment them on their question too – as long as you can pull it off without sounding too much like a suck-up. 

Q – “So tell me Carol, what inspired you to write about getting older?”

A – “You know Sue, that’s a great question.  The idea of Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines was conceived as I watched my son drive away from home for the final time…” 

You managed to weave in a compliment, their name and the name of your book in less than 5 seconds. Reporters like it when you say their name and really like it when you recognize their intelligence.  So go ahead and play their game! 

Blocking and Bridging

The most common mistake committed in interviews is to become so fixated on the questions that you lose sight of your own agenda points and become a passive respondent.  Don’t feel obliged to answer every question specifically. The most effective spokespeople listen for the bigger issue behind each question, and address that issue as they choose.  This is done through the technique of “blocking and bridging.”

Use the art of blocking and bridging to stay on track with your own message points and to taking control of the interview.  Typically in a non-argumentative, friendly interview environment an appropriately positioned answer will lead the reporter in the direction which you’d like to go. 

Recently I was asked during an interview on American radio how British humour differs from American humour. I could have droned on at length about the subject but the question actually allowed me to give examples of the humour in my own book and blog and how that might appeal to an American audience.

Reporters are there to gather facts and sound bites and ultimately share your story with their audience.  A reporter just wants to file a great story using your uniquely crafted colourful messages; it’s a win-win. 

Sample Blocking and Bridging Phrases

You make a great point, although…

I’m really glad you brought that up… in fact…

I think what you’re really asking is…

Let me tell you what we’re hearing from the people we’re talking to…

What’s important to remember however is…

What most people don’t understand is …

The most important issue we’re dealing with is…

Yes, that is a critical issue, but I think the bigger point is ….

I can’t discuss that issue specifically, but I can tell you…

Let me put that in perspective…

Let’s deal with the facts at hand…

I think the real issue here is…

Good luck with your interviews. I still get in a sweat every time I have one but, as the saying goes; ‘practice makes perfect’. Get a friend/partner/relative to mock interview you using these techniques before your big day and you, unlike me, won’t make a fool out of yourself.

Ten Take-a-Way Tips

1.                  Relax 

2.                  Have a 20/2/20/2 message prepared
Be able to tell your message in 20 seconds, 2 minutes, 20 minutes and/or 2 hours

3.                  Know your media medium

4.                  Speak in sound bites

5.                  Stick to the subject

6.                  Bridge and weave

7.                  Simplify

8.                  Stay positive and remain calm 

9.                  Pause (which may allow you to either breathe and/or re-direct)

10.             Remember - you’re never off the record

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