By Jennifer S. Wilkov, host of the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show on WomensRadio
As authors and writers, we’re always learning about resources and industry tools that we can use to improve our book project performance and the enjoyment of our writing and marketing experiences. Today let’s talk about the blessings of being a radio show host.
Being a reliable, trusted resource in the book publishing industry is an incredible blessing. As a radio show host, I have the unique opportunity to interact with every facet of the industry – from those of us who work as professionals in our different, important roles to support the author’s story; to the authors themselves – from international bestsellers and award winners to #1 New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestsellers, successful self-published authors and ebook authors; and all the way through to the reader and you, the listeners of my show comprised of authors, writers and wannabes like you.
It’s really a privilege to do this. As I approach my 1 year anniversary of being on the air at WomensRadio this week, I am grateful for Fate and the chance I have been given to serve so many through this important and blessed work.
The truth is: I didn’t know I was a radio show host. I wasn’t walking around pitching a show idea to stations. Instead, I was called to do this work…by Pat Lynch, the Founder and CEO of WomensRadio, who asked to meet with me at Book Expo America (BEA) in 2009 in the Press Office. Now as a bestselling author myself, I was accustomed to meeting with the press at BEA. But this meeting was different.
Pat had found out about my work as a book consultant in my practice called “Your Book Is Your Hook!” where I work privately to help to other authors and writers with the writing, marketing and getting published processes for their books. We met for almost half the day and discussed the opportunity.
Pat asked me if I’d be willing to craft a show for her radio network. I looked at her and clearly stated, “I’m no radio show host. I teach from the platform and lead training sessions in person and through teleseminars but I know nothing about radio except for being interviewed as a guest on other people’s shows. I’ve never thought about having a show of my own and being a host.” Pat’s response was simply, “Well, I think you could be a great show host.”
So I chose to take this on and for 6 months I studied the radio market, explored how great shows were formatted, and thought about the purpose of my show and how it would serve the listeners who I imagined would be the entire publishing industry from end to end and authors new and old.
And so, at the beginning of December 2009, I went on the air with my first show with very little guidance from anyone and with no previous experience on the radio.
I’ve now had the pleasure of interviewing Dominique Raccah (Publisher of Sourcebooks & Co-Chair of the Book Industry Study Group), Larry Goldbetter (President of the National Writers Union), Julia Cameron (International Bestselling Author), Debbie Macomber (#1 New York Times & USA TODAY Bestselling Author), Victoria Moran (Oprah-featured Author of ten books including an international bestseller), Suzy Welch (3-time NY Times Bestselling Author & Keynote Speaker at the WBENC 2010 Annual Conference), Brunonia Barry (NY Times Bestselling Multiple Award-Winning Fiction Novelist), Carla Neggers (NY Times Bestselling Romance Suspense Author), Deborah Brody (Executive Editor of Harlequin’s Nonfiction Program), Katharine Sands (Literary Agent with Sarah Jane Freymann Agency & Author), Peter Rubie (CEO & Literary Agent of Fine Print Literary Management & Author), Jennifer DeChiara (Literary Agent & President ofJennifer DeChiara Literary Agency), Michael Larsen & Elizabeth Pomada (Literary Agents at Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency and hosts of the San Francisco Writers Conference), Beth Werner (former Director of Sales & Marketing at Kirkus Media including Kirkus Reviews and Kirkus Discoveries),Joel Comm (4-time NY Times Bestselling Author and new media innovator), Mari Smith (former President of the International Social Media Association, author and dubbed “The Pied Piper of Online Media” by FastCompany.com), Ken Corday (Author and Executive Producer of NBC’s Daytime Drama “Days of Our Lives”),Kathy Kinney (Co-Author, Actress well-known as Mimi Bobeck from the “The Drew Carey Show”), Elizabeth Fowler (Literary Manager, Clear Pictures Entertainment), Jill Shure (2002 Ben Franklin Award winner for Popular Fiction and the Publisher of Syntax Books), Jan McInnis (comedienne, author, professional speaker & humor writer who has written for the Tonight Show monologues) and other industry professionals including Hollywood producers, publicists, ghostwriters, social media experts, authors in various genres and many more.
I now have bestselling authors ask their publicists to seek me out so they can be a guest on my show. And, I was even asked to be a media panelist at the National Publicity Summit where I was asked to share guidance about what makes a good pitch – and then I was pitched by their participants for over 4 hours straight, all of them hoping for the opportunity to be invited as a guest on my show.
I’ve also had the joy of lending my media personality and voice to the causes I care about. On my anniversary show this week, as a gift to you, my listeners, I am featuring interviews with Project Night Night, an amazing organization that distributes books to children in homeless shelters across the nation by including them in their Night Night packages designed so these children can have a better night’s sleep, and Heifer International’s Read to Feed Program which encourages children to read while they learn that they can also make a difference for others by contributing to Heifer’s efforts to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth. Children learn self-reliance and hope through reading and in turn share this lesson through Heifer’s commitment to give families a hand-up, not a hand out. You see, children are the present and future readers of our books.
I believe in the work of these organizations and found that as a media personality as the host of my popular show, I could do so much more for them by helping them to get the word out to others each week on my show so authors everywhere could help support their efforts and make a difference.
The irony of my experience as a radio show host is that after the first few months I nearly quit. I was overwhelmed by attempting to balance the massive effort it takes to produce and promote just 1 show a week with my other commitments. Pat Lynch and the WomensRadio staff pulled me back from the edge of leaving the radio airwaves and encouraged me to continue. Three short weeks later, Pat and Editor-In-Chief Kat Barrett called me to tell me that they had reviewed my stats and that I was now #1 on the network with listeners across the U.S. and even in other countries. This was eye-opening for me and totally unexpected. I was just focused on doing a great job for my listeners.
Every week at the beginning of each show, I state my intention for the format I designed: a show that lets listeners go behind the books and discover the process from thought to sales of how other authors have succeeded in getting published and how they use their book as their hook. I also want you, the listener of the show, to find out about industry professionals and resources to help you as a writer and author with your book project so you can write, market, publish and make money with your book. And then I say: “My intention is to support authors and writers like you everywhere to write, market, publish and make money with your books. I want you to love writing them, write more of them, make a difference for humanity, and leave a legacy for yourself, your family and the human race. Whether your book is a fiction, non-fiction or children’s book, whether you entertain, educate or enlighten others with your book, I’m here to help you.”
And so, as I continue in year 2 of my show, I feel so blessed to bring you great interviews and essential insights and education each week so you too can write, market and publish your book.
Because as I always say: You can’t use your book as your hook…until you have a book.
Thank you for listening to my show. I appreciate the opportunity and the blessing of helping you with your book each week so you too can make a difference for others.
Jennifer’s show can be heard every week on Tuesday mornings at 9am when it is broadcast on WomensRadio.com and syndicated on Live365.com. Each show is archived for replay listeners in different time zones and countries.
For more information on this Education Corner topic and others, please refer to www.YourBookIsYourHook.com/blog for more articles and resources to help you with your books.