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How to pitch radio and become a talk show guest

Looking for a way to reach most Americans with your book’s message? Consider radio publicity.

According to Nielsen Media Research, 89 percent of Americans age 12 or older — nine out of 10 — listen to radio in a given week. Radio reaches 94 percent of adults in the 35 to 49 age group — only slightly more than those ages 18 to 34 and 50 plus. Even better, news/talk radio is the second most popular format.

There’s no question that radio is a tremendous publicity vehicle for authors with something to say.

Add the growth in podcasting to the mix and you’ll have many interview opportunities.

Where to find the stations and shows

Don’t wait for them to discover you and your book, though. Pitch radio shows and offer yourself as a guest.

Start by signing up at RadioGuestList.com, a service that connects talk show hosts with guests.

In addition, if you have more money than time, purchase a radio station database from radio publicity guru Alex Carroll (that’s an affiliate link) or Gordon’s Radio List that you can use repeatedly.

If you have more time than money:

Who to pitch

Pitch the talk show producer. At smaller stations, that’s often the talk show host. The media directory or database you’re using will have names, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and so on.

For podcasts, pitch the show host. Make sure the show uses guests before taking the time to pitch, though. Not all of them do.

How to pitch radio shows

Send a short e-mail “pitch” (sales letter) to the producer. (For a fill-in-the-blanks radio talk show pitch template and a sample pitch, see Build Book Buzz Publicity Forms & Templates.)

Dos and don’ts include:

  • Show that you know that you’re pitching an appropriate show. For example, if you’re pitching an interview related to an Amish romance novel, indicate that the station is in a region with many Amish residents or that you know the show has a strong female audience.
  • Don’t state that you’d like to be interviewed because you’ve written a book about XYZ. It’s not enough to talk about a new (or old) book. You need a hook.
  • Offer a few controversial, compelling, interesting interview topics related to your book. That Amish romance book I just mentioned? There’s an online dating site for Amish people. Who knew, right? A morning drive time host would have a lot of fun using that as a starting point.
  • Provide a list of suggested questions. Honestly, talk show hosts don’t have time to read your book. That’s why if you leave it up to them to know what to ask, you might be disappointed in the direction the interview takes (especially in morning drive time).
  • If you have media interview experience, mention it. If you don’t, don’t.
  • Offer to send a few books to use as prizes or giveaways. This is an effective tactic for getting listeners interested and engaged.
  • State your preferred time frame. Would you like your interview to happen two weeks from now? In three weeks? Be sure to mention any relevant dates linked to your pitch — a holiday, event anniversary, and so on.
  • Include your book announcement press release. Don’t attach it. Copy and paste it, along with the suggested questions, under your e-mail signature.

Finally, start with your local radio stations first. If you’re not in a major metropolitan area, they will give you the warmest reception because you’re a local author. This approach gives you a chance to get comfortable with the process before taking your show to a larger stage, too.

Do you have a radio pitching tip or a radio publicity success story to share? Please comment!

(Editor’s note: This article was first published in November 2012. It has been updated and expanded.)

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    1. Thanks, Connie. I’d love it if you’d e-mail me (sbATbuildbookbuzz.com) with any topics your clients and writers group colleagues would like to see covered here or in my newsletter. This kind of input is so helpful to me!


  1. This is great information. Thanks for the tips as well as the resources for building (or buying) a media list. It shows that there are options for everyone, no matter where they are with budget.

      1. I’m getting ready for a radio publicity campaign for an upcoming book. It’s my second book and it looks at learning from the daily difficulties we face. I’ll have to let you know how it goes since I’m drawing from your expertise. 🙂

        1. Rob, what a great topic. I’m sure you’ll do well.

          Here’s another option I found since I wrote this: Radio Talk Show System, http://www.sabahradioshows.com/. If you decide to purchase it, please add my name in the comments box so owner Joe Sabah knows how you found him. (And this just prompted me to update the resources in the post above…thanks!)

          Good luck!


  2. Thank you for the tips. I’m in the UK, but most of what youvsay can be adapted to us. I just need to search out if there are any UK websites like those you mention

    1. Thanks, Vivienne. There might also be a UK media directory at your library’s reference desk (that’s how it works here in the U.S.). If your library is open, you might want to stop in and ask.


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