Media exposure can be really hard to get. Especially now, there are so many people all vying for attention that when it comes, you need to leverage it as best you can to make it work for you. Sadly, even potentially phenomenal publicity may not live up to its expectations if you don’t know how to harness it, and so I decided to write this guide to gaining the most from media interest or interviews.

Firstly, you need to work out why you’re there. The chances are it’s not just for the sake of vanity. Do you want people to visit a website? Would you like them to buy your book? Probably. If so, you need to accept that your motivations are not the same as the journalist who is purely interested in the value of the story to fill a slot and offer something worthwhile to their audience.

While you are there to sell your novel, your interviewer wants to find out what you think about the demise of paperback books versus e-books. You want more hits on your website, but the journalist wants to know who your favourite authors are.

If you do not accept the difference in agenda, you will be swept along for the full length of the interview, and never actually get anything of value from your time-sacrifice. You don’t want to do this, so let’s look at ways in which you can answer questions in order to gain maximum impact for your message:

Journalist: What inspired you to write?

Your ideal answer: [Insert the name of the book] was mainly inspired by… [whatever]

Journalist: Have you ever had writers block?

Your ideal answer: Yes / No… When I was writing [insert the name of the book]… [whatever]

Journalist: How old are you?

Your ideal answer: I am currently [whatever years old] but I was [however old] when I started writing [insert title for your book] and [whatever age] when I finished it. I then spent [however long] sending the manuscript to publishers before [insert your publisher] picked it up and decided to publish it on [insert publishing date].

You will notice that it doesn’t really matter what the question is, you always need to shoe-horn in as many references to your book, publisher, release data and any other identifying information that you can. A listener of a radio show, casual TV viewer or even newspaper reader is unlikely to remember you, if you only say the essential information once.

Repetition is the key.

By Neil Trigger, Ghostly Publishing.