Should I Promote My Book on Radio Talk Shows?

by Nancy Humphreys on December 12, 2011

Today’s post is a guest post by Julia Schopick, a former client of mine who is successfully selling her self-published book to readers and libraries via radio talk shows.

About Julia

Julia Schopick is the author of the Amazon.com best-selling book, Honest Medicine: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life Threatening Diseases, and creator of the award-winning blog, HonestMedicine.com. She has been a published writer and a public relations consultant for more than twenty years. When her husband Tim Fisher became ill in 1990 with a cancerous brain tumor, Julia became his medical advocate and began writing on topics relating to health and medicine. Her articles and columns have been published in numerous publications, including American Medical News (the AMA publication), SEARCH (the newsletter of the National Brain Tumor Foundation) and Alternative and Complementary Therapies.

Julia’s work and essays have been featured in many other publications, as well, including the British Medical Journal, Modern Maturity and the Chicago Sun-Times. Her mission is to use her writing and public relations skills to inform the world about effective, time-tested, inexpensive treatments for life-threatening diseases through her website, her presentations and her book, Honest Medicine—and overall, to empower people in their health choices.

Julia has appeared on numerous radio programs nationwide, including the very popular Coast to Coast AM and Dr. Ronald Hoffman’s WOR710AM show, Health Talk. Her book has gotten some wonderful reviews, and she has been interviewed on The Atlantic’s website. Honest Medicine has received glowing testimonials from several integrative physicians, including Julian Whitaker, Jacob Teitelbaum, David Brownstein, Jeffrey Dach and Ronald Hoffman. To learn more about her media appearances and book reviews click here.

Honest Medicine is available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. It is also available as Kindle and NOOK ebooks.

(1) Julia, how did you get into online radio talk shows as a way to promote your new book, Honest Medicine: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life Threatening Diseases?

 Nancy, actually I have appeared on many standard radio shows, as well as on Internet radio shows. For me, the fact that radio would be the best way for me to promote Honest Medicine was a “no-brainer.” I’ve been a public relations consultant for over twenty years, so I know the advantages of each medium, and knew that my book is one that requires more than 3-minute sound bites to tell the complete story, since the subject matter I cover in Honest Medicine is rather complex. Radio allows me to do that, while television does not. On my media page, there are several examples of the radio shows I’ve been on, with links, so people can listen to them.

(2) What kinds of success have you had? Has radio promotion “worked” for selling your book?

Radio has been amazingly successful for me. The best so far has been Coast to Coast AM, the national late-night radio talk show. After that appearance in May, 2011, my book shot up to #49 (out of all 8 million books) on Amazon.com. In addition, it was #1 in two categories and #4 in a third. I was so amazed that I took a screen shot of those two events. And, I sold 1500 copies in that month alone. But other shows have helped too. My book has been an Amazon.com best seller since its publication in early 2011. Much of its success has been due to radio. (I have also had some really good book reviews, and a Q&A with me was featured on The Atlantic’s website. But nothing has worked as well for me as radio.)

(3)What kind of negative experiences have you had?

A great question. Actually, I am usually very comfortable on radio, and even if the host or hostess has not read my book, I have no trouble steering the conversation. But I did have one awful experience and I hope that, by telling about it here, I can help other authors. I’d rather not name the show or the host here, but he (I will say that it was a man!) was in favor of only alternative/natural treatments and is known to be very much against anything that smacks of Big Pharma. When I spoke with his producer beforehand, I told him that I was worried that perhaps this show might not be a good fit for me for this reason. I explained that one of the treatments in my book, Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), is a very non-toxic generic drug manufactured by a few pharmaceutical companies. I also explained that it (like the other treatments in my book) has never made a lot of money for any pharmaceutical company. The producer said that, in that case, he was sure it would be fine.

Well, it wasn’t. Obviously, the producer hadn’t communicated this to the host. The first question he asked on air was, “I understand that one of the treatments you write about is a treatment for autoimmune diseases. Can you tell us about it?” So I told him about Low Dose Naltrexone: how it is a very low-dose, off-label use of a drug that was FDA-approved in 1984 as safe at a much higher dose for another use than is now used for autoimmune diseases. I told him about how the late Dr. Bernard Bihari discovered that, at one-tenth the FDA-approved dose, it successfully treats patients with lots of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, etc.

Well, the host literally FLEW at me, and said he wasn’t interested in any treatment that wasn’t natural. It went downhill from there.

I want to stress here that I think I did the best possible thing under the circumstances: I did NOT try to defend myself. I just let him talk. . . and talk. . .and talk. And he did. But I think this whole experience could have been avoided.

I learned my lesson. I actually hadn’t liked this host for years. But two friends of mine had independently (and without my knowledge) approached him about me. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful, so I followed up and went on the show. It was a mistake. The lesson I learned was, “Follow your gut.” With radio, there is another caveat: “Listen to the show beforehand, to make sure it is a good fit for you. And if it isn’t, stay away, no matter how many people tell you otherwise.”

(4) What are the main things you’ve learned from your experiences with radio shows and podcasts?

As I said when answering the last question, “Follow your gut,” and “listen to the shows before you approach them about being a guest.” Many shows are archived online, so you can listen to them to see if there is a good fit.

I’ve also learned how to be a good guest. First, prepare questions and answers for the host. Here is a PDF of my Q&As. Most hosts and hostesses, unfortunately, will not read your book, but there is a much better chance that they will read your Q&As. One professional consultant told me that I should refuse to go on any show where the host hasn’t read my book. But that is ridiculous. Most of them simply won’t read your book. It is a special gift if one does. So you have to be the leader. You have to have several directions you are prepared to go in. Have your own agenda, too. You can always say, “That’s a great question, but first, I’d like to talk about. . . . .” Remember, the best radio interviews are conversations between the host/hostess and you. Enjoy yourself.

(5) How do you recommend other authors approach promoting their books via radio?

Before you even decide to use radio as a promotional medium, carefully assess whether or not you will shine in that medium. Are you articulate? Are you a “talker”? And probably just as important—if not more so—is your book one that radio audiences will want to know about? In other words, do you have information that is important to a lot of people? My book, Honest Medicine, features treatments that are lifesaving for patients with many life-threatening diseases, including multiple sclerosis, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, liver disease, some cancers and epilepsy. I name these diseases here so that you can see that—when all the diseases are combined—there is quite a large audience out there who will resonate with the information in my book. If it were only about MS, or lupus, or even Crohn’s disease, I would have decided on an entirely different approach: one that included only very targeted publications and podcasts—publications and podcasts dealing with the particular disease profiled in the book. But, because my book deals with several treatments and several diseases, radio is an excellent promotional medium for me.

In addition, my book also has an underlying message—patient empowerment—which is applicable to a huge audience. So that’s another reason why radio is a great choice for me.

And because I’ve been a public relations consultant for so many years, I am able to navigate my way through the shows and prepare appropriate messages for each.

I am thinking of conducting webinars or teleseminars for authors, to help them decide which medium is best for them, and how to access that medium. I’ve had this in mind for some time.

(6) Please tell readers a bit more about your book and plans for your future.

Nancy, this is another interesting question. I feel that I am at a crossroads. I am considering several avenues. I’d like to keep teaching people about these treatments I write about, and about the fact that they must think for themselves and not just follow their doctors’ advice. To that end, I am considering conducting webinars or teleseminars—for which I would charge a modest amount of money—through which I would interview experts on topics contained in my book. I think that Jim Abrahams and Dr. Burt Berkson would be fascinating people to interview. I would also interview Jacqueline Young, widow of Dr. Bihari, the first to use LDN for treating autoimmune diseases. She has some amazing true stories to tell.

I am also considering giving more speeches. As a result of my appearance on Coast to Coast AM, I was invited to speak at the Cancer Control Society’s annual convention in Los Angeles over Labor Day weekend (2011). It went really well and you can be see it on You Tube. Although I don’t really like to travel (who does, these days?) for the right opportunities, I would definitely be available!

I am also considering starting to write about other treatments that—like the four I write about in Honest Medicine—are low cost, non-toxic and lifesaving, and that work for life-threatening diseases. I have ideas for two such treatments now: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for brain injury and stroke; and EECP (Enhanced External Counterpulsation) for angina and heart disease. So, I may start writing about these treatments, and others like them, for my website, HonestMedicine.com, with the possible intention of publishing a new version of my book within the next few years. That book would be about SIX lifesaving treatments your doctors may not know about!

Thank you, Julia for this information. I especially appreciated your distinction between the use of radio and TV talk shows for promoting one’s book! Nancy

For information about my 2-book sale package, “Sell More Books” please click here.

NOTE: If you would like to get this blog by email, please sign up for Wordmaps Tips, my free newsletter. The sign-up box is at the upper right of each page on my site, WordmapsIndexing.com. For current news about indexing and book publishing, follow me and see who I follow on Twitter @Wordmaps.

Marketing Your Book to Libraries Marketing Your Books to Libraries: An Insider's Guide for Authors by former librarian Nancy K. Humphreys includes: 
  • How to tell what kind of library to target
  • Types of librarians and books they order
  • Strategies to get past the "gatekeepers" who influence librarians
  • Right ways to approach librarians most likely to order your book

Learn more »


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: