The Secret Sauce to Getting on Television


How to Turn Words into Pictures
By Jennifer Rose, Publicist

Authors looking to be interviewed on TV face a number of challenges.  However, there are steps you can take to better position yourself and your story for use on television.  After more than four years as a producer at FOX Business Network and CNN, I’m giving you the inside scoop.

When you are trying to turn your book into a television interview or other segment, here are a few questions to ask yourself and address:

1) What charts can illustrate your concept?

This is especially true for business books.  Are there stock charts, bid-ask spreads, or other diagrams that prove your point?  Alternatively, can you provide data or investing results that can be compared to that of the Dow and S&P?

2) Can you provide a list of tips?

If you are going to go through several pieces of advice during the interview, producers can devise graphics based on those points.  Usually there will be one graphic per tip that you give.  This way, the audience can read each of your main points as you discuss it.

3) Are there any videos that show the kind of process you’re describing?

For example, if you’re discussing a medical procedure, can the producer show a video clip of someone undergoing that treatment?  If it is a book about entrepreneurship or business management, can the producer show people working in a manufacturing plant or customers using that type of business?

4) Do you have any products you can bring on set?

There are lots of options for the producers to make use of props in exciting ways.  For example, if you’re talking about fashion, you can bring some sample outfits.  Producers can try them on in the greenroom, put them on mannequins on set, or have models showcasing your work during the interview.  If you’re talking about the book publishing industry, perhaps you can bring an assortment of your best sellers.  The producers can arrange the books on tables or shelves throughout the studio for a unique look.

One thing to note, this guideline only applies to in studio interviews, when you are on set with the anchor or host.  If you will be in a remote location, conducting the interview via satellite, bringing items likely will not work.  In fact, when you are remote, props are often highly discouraged as they cannot be properly utilized due to camera limits.

5) Are you referencing any famous people?

This is an easy one for producers.  If you’re planning to talk about anyone famous – be it athletes, actors, musicians, politicians, major business leaders, and so forth – the producers can show pictures and/or video of said celebrities during the discussion.  The amount of celebrity images that are typically used during an interview depends on the nature of the discussion and the discretion of the producer.

6) Can you make it fun?

Videos of babies, puppies, kittens, or anything else that can be deemed adorable makes good fodder for television visuals.  People love looking at cute videos on the internet.  The same concept applies here to television.

All in all, producers are creating the segments for the audience at home.  They need to capture viewers’ attention not only through the conversation but also through the screen.  In this regard, the goal for producers is to make the images so intriguing that people flipping through the channels stop and turn the sound up for their program.

Ultimately, more viewers bodes well for you too, since it enables you to showcase your story to a wider audience.

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