Dealing with a television appearance

I’m thrilled, as is my publisher, that my author is going to be on a national news program tonight.  It does bring with it, however, certain challenges.  What kind of bump, if any, will we get from the show?  Will people stampede to the bookstores in herds, in stately groups of one and two, or watch a rerun of Friends?  It is a dilemma.   If you took any economics in school you’ll remember the old supply and demand conundrum.  Too many books out there and they all get returned making what should have been a success look dismal.  Too few books out there and what should have been a success looks like a missed opportunity.  We’re doing what we can to chart a Goldilocks’ approach and find the amount that’s just right.  Our sales force have been on the phones with accounts talking about the appearance and gaining what insight they can into what the stores are seeing at this early stage (the book only went officially on sale yesterday.)  Then there’s the chance that a booker for another network show, perhaps one of the morning shows, see the appearance and wants the author.  Happy days, but with the potential for peril.  Too many or too few books hangs over us like a dinner at Dionysius’. 

Don’t get me wrong, this really is good news, but with any opportunity there is the risk of overreaching, or not reaching far enough.  On a more immediate level, how does the author get there?  It’s worth remembering to ask if the event that wants you is willing to cover your expenses to get there.  In the case of big networks, they foot the bill which makes it an even sweeter deal.  Then there’s the most important issue of them all – what will the author talk about?  Publicists all remind me to tell the author to be prepared to carry the entire conversation on their own.  Whether it’s your local newspaper interviewing you or Matt Lauer you need to assume they’ve never seen your book before an hour ago.  The well prepared author comes equipped with anecdotes, concise thoughts, a sense of humor and maybe even a clear sound bite.  By and large a good rule of thumb is to keep it light, and keep it tight.  Your book might be dense, but if you’re on the medium of tv that has an entirely different meaning. 

Oh, and remember to breathe…he says as he slumps to the floor.

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