Authors, Consider Blog Talk Radio!

Blog Talk Radio (BTR) is a huge online network with millions of listeners and thousands of hosts who discuss topics ranging from education to politics – and everything in between. This free (and paid) app allows anyone with a phone and a computer to host their own live talk radio show, or guest on any show currently broadcasting through their network.

Author Coral Russell created and currently hosts The Indie Exchange Show with Donna Brown, and I was privileged to be their guest early in 2012 after the release of my book, Blog It! The experience was great fun and got me thinking about how indie authors can use BTR as a viable promotional tool. So I invited Blog Talk RadioCoral to tell us more about it.

Coral, how and when did you begin your Blog Talk Radio show?
I was an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher for five and a half years. The Internet is a powerful teaching resource, and over time I had amassed a ton of links to great sites my students and I could use. That’s how I stumbled across Blog Talk Radio, and I realized I could use it to offer a free class about learning English. I created the show and promptly forgot about it.

Later on, when I was into book blogging, I re-visited my archived radio show and switched the topic to talking about books. I am now in my third year as a host, and we’ve expanded our subject categories to include discussions about and among self-published authors and all types of Indie artists.

Share the names of your favorite guests so far.
One of my favorite guests on the show so far was Milt Okun of Cherry Lane Records. He and his book are legends in music history and I made the mistake of looking him up before interviewing him. I was so nervous I completely flubbed up the interview, but being a pro he was very gracious.

Another favorite was award-winning author Bette Lee Crosby. In her interview she provided some of the best quotes about Indie writers that I’ve ever heard.

What are the benefits for self-published authors of hosting and/or appearing on a regular online radio show?
Online radio shows offer the same benefits as appearances on regular radio and television: You can reach a lot of people fast. Let’s compare potential results of hosting a radio show vs. a ten-stop blog tour (your posts appearing on ten host websites). Even with heavy marketing, a blog tour may only reach 10-100 readers.

In comparison, anywhere from 500-1500 people might tune in to a thirty to forty-five minute radio show such as mine. Even with a smaller show I reached over one hundred listeners. In addition, each program is archived and can be accessed, listened to, and promoted at any time on an ongoing basis. You can also post links to your appearances as either a guest or a host on your blog or website.

How many listeners can a host expect on average over time?
When you first start out your show will be small, probably 30-50 listens per episode, especially if you choose the free option. I upgraded to a premium show and our listens immediately jumped to about 500. With additional promotion, we moved up to 1000 listens per airing because we got prime space on BTR’s site. You can also get a boost by paying to feature your program, and you can list with podcast sites to spread the word.

What are the best hours to air?
Premium airtime slots are only available with a paid Blog Talk Radio account. What I’ve found is that air time doesn’t matter. Occasionally we’ll have a show that gets 50-75 live listens, but it’s the archived listens that are replayed over the week (if you do a weekly show) that build up to the larger numbers. My show is live and I like it that way, because live shows are fun for me and, I think, for the audience. Anything can happen!

How and where can readers set up an account?
You can learn all about how to use the Blog Talk Radio app through BTR University, including how to start and market your show. The account is easy to set up and maintain. BTR shows allow hosts to screen callers for their name and questions before you allow them on the air, just like on a traditional radio show. You can also connect to your show directly from your computer without a phone by using Skype.

Choose the name of your program carefully because once the name and url are established, you can’t change the name in the link for archived shows.

Where can Indies find info about shows they can be a guest on?
If you’re an Indie author, link here to review the long list of shows using the tag, “Books.” You’ll need to verify that a show is still broadcasting, because people often start a channel but don’t keep it up.

Hosting tips and guesting tips – how to prepare for a radio interview:
The most important thing a guest can do is SHOW UP! Not showing up for a live program when it’s been scheduled is crazy rude. I email reminders to my guests, but I still once in a while will have a no-show. For some authors who don’t appear as scheduled, I simply discuss their book – life does happen. If a PR company schedules an author who doesn’t show as promised, I don’t work with the PR company again.

If you’ve chosen a show you’d like to appear on and verified that it’s still broadcasting, the next step is to determine whether it’s a live or recorded program. If it’s recorded, you’ll have more input on the types of questions and topics you will be able to cover. You will also be able to set up a quiet time to interview with no interruptions. If the show is live, email the host about questions and topics.

On my show, I leave subjects purposefully vague because I host a spontaneous, off-the-cuff, anything goes kind of broadcast. I warn the audience up front that it’s a live show, so if something happens on the guest’s end (like a dog barking, ringing doorbell, phone, etc.), it’s expected. I once had a bird fly into my house during a live interview!

If you’re an Indie artist interested in being a guest on The Indie Exchange show, email [email protected]

Coral RussellCoral Russell lives in the southwest with her hubby, baby Godzilla sized kid and an adorable dog with which she shares a one-way thermal dynamic relationship. She blogs off at The Indie Exchange with her brain buddy, Donna Brown, where a group of authors, readers, and book bloggers post reviews, articles, and giveaways.

Ms. Russell won the 2003 McCaleb Peace Initiative which produced the non-fiction articles Peace on the Peninsula. All profit from the sale of that eBook go to rebuilding Joplin, MO.

Titles available: Sacrifice, Amador Lockdown, Playing with Fire (Devil of a Ghost Tour and Key to a Haunting), Peace on the Peninsula (profit goes to rebuilding Joplin, MO), The DIY Guide to Social Media Marketing and eBook Publishing, Sweet Trade of the Red Coral and Twelve Worlds (profit goes to Reading is Fundamental).

Check this out, great idea for all you indie authors Here’s Coral’s
Video Trailer for Sacrifice on YouTube:

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11 Responses to Authors, Consider Blog Talk Radio!

  1. Belinda Pollard May 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    I find this a really intriguing idea. I know a guy who stumbled upon Blog Talk Radio and ended up getting a pretty big (and growing) audience for it. He’s adventurous and just gave it a go. Some of his stuff was interviews done on the net, and others were just encouraging thought starters that he recorded on his iPhone!

    In the space of a few months it grew so much he was getting sponsors and moving into a pro studio for the recordings.

    I think it’s all about working out what topic you want to cover. It’s on my list of 1000 things I really must try. 😉

    • alchemyofscrawl May 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      I think it was something I’d always wanted to try but found ‘ham radio hobby’ daunting. It’s much easier now!

    • Molly Greene May 20, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

      I think it’s intruiging as well – topic must be the most important issue, though, just as you’ve pointed out. I sure had fun talking with Coral and Donna when i did my interview!

  2. Anne R. Allen May 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    Great subject for a blogpost. This is a great resource. I’ve been a guest on several Blog Talk Radio shows. I especially like Elaine Raco Chase’s Author’s Corner, since she often talks to mystery and chick lit authors like me. Every time I’ve been on, I’ve seen a spike in sales. I’ll have to check out Coral’s show too! At first I was a little nervous about doing live interviews over the phone, but they’re fun. (And do use a landline if you can. Cell calls can break up.)

    • alchemyofscrawl May 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

      Yeah land line is best. Cells phones have worked even from the UK but he forgot to charge it and it died. hehe

      We’ve even skyped with someone in India but the shows were a bit rough. Sometimes even Skype in the UK can get rough but usually it’s all good.

      Oh one particular problem I had at my house was high ceilings and tile. They make a terrific echo so had to move to another room with a rug and carpet.

      • Molly Greene May 20, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

        Interesting, Coral! A good tip to remember when we’re being interviewed for the first time, too. Thanks so much for this great post!

    • Molly Greene May 20, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

      Thanks Anne! It’s a very interesting venue, for sure, and although I was also nervous at first the nerves went away very quickly. Blog Talk Radio is definitely a viable book promotion idea we can add to our arsenal.

  3. John May 20, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    Well this is certainly cool, I am a big radio fan of all kinds, and this just turns my dial.
    How will we all find time for the cool stuff coming, I can barely get my blog stuff done, and now I want to go do radio.
    Thank you for the post it is one of the reasons your book and you r blog do well, you do good stuff. Somewhere in the near future Im so in this.

    • Molly Greene May 21, 2013 at 8:43 am #

      I know, John! So many things to learn, so much to do. Thanks for your lovely comment, I appreciate it, and best to you on your radio debut :-]

  4. Jay Scott May 21, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    Molly, this is fantastic. I have a long commute and listen to podcasts to pass the time. Authors on Air posts their episodes on iTunes, so it only took about five minutes to download a bunch of episodes to my phone.

    Thanks so much for the post looking forward to the listen!

  5. Kirsten @ Short Story Ideas May 27, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    This is a brilliant idea, but the thought of going on live radio scares the pants off me! I think I’ll stick to blogging. 🙂
    Oh, and just because your blog is so awesome, I’ve given you a little award. You don’t have to accept it, but it would be great if you did. You can pick it up at my website, “Short Story Ideas.”