Authors: Don’t Answer Every Question When Doing PR & Media

WOWSA! You’ve landed an interview on your book; you’ve prepped, only to discover that the person interviewing you is clueless. Or, they have their own agenda. What to do? Why take control, that’s what you do!

Reality check:  Hosts get side-tracked … or heaven forbid, have their own agenda. If it’s not on yours, you need a Plan B when doing media and PR for your book.

Remember growing up, we were taught that we had to answer any question an adult asked you? Forget that rule. Authors need, no must, learn how to deflect a question. Sometimes a sidestep or two is what you need to do.

How about:
If I understand your question correctly, you’re really asking is/if … Now, give your take—it doesn’t matter if it’s not directly connected.

Your question triggers another I need to address first … Take this and run with it.

That question just may not have an answer. My take on it is … Have fun … what is your take?

The answer to that question just might be too off the wall for some— what I’ve found (in my studies, interviews, research, etc. Yes … tell them.

Sometimes there’s an ulterior motive—the interviewer may have a personal problem with your topic. One time I was in NY and learned that the person interviewing me had been demoted because of the behavior I was discussing in my book! If you are unclear, simply say: That’s interesting … why do you ask? Let her respond, then restate and tie back to your book.

If the interviewer has info wrong or facts incorrect, acknowledge it and state what needs to be corrected.

If it’s said that you are an expert in a certain field, and you are not, correct it immediately—don’t let it slide. And, if you find yourself in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to end the interview—I’ve done it several times … it’s called the wrong fit.

Have some fun—use humor to deflect a question tossed at you—use a light tone, even add a chuckle or two—don’t forget to smile when you respond: Wow … what a zinger of a question … do you want to create a minor uproar? Just say anything you want to … as in, “When I did …”

Wow … now tell me … did you run a contest to come up with the most outrageous question? Then reference it slightly, but lead to where you want to make your key points.

You’d need a PhD in Trivia to handle that one … let’s look at it closer … Now, take it and twist how you want it to support your book.

That question earns the million dollars … I’ll settle for just a portion … Swing it back to what you want to talk about.

Phone interviews are always easy—you don’t have to dress and you have your notes to refer to. It’s smart to be able to move around, adds energy to your voice, you can use your hands … and don’t forget to smile.

When it comes to live TV—always wear “your” colors, what looks best on you—don’t forget, you need makeup, even men.

When I’m asked where to buy copies, here’s my standard response:
1.  I love bookstores … call or go to your favorite and ask for a copy. If they are already sold out (and face it, most likely it never had it in the store), they can order it for you. OR …

2. Get it online … either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. OR …

3. Or, if you would like a personalized copy, go to my website at (I spell it out) and order your copy. Don’t forget to let me know what names to inscribe your copies to.

Oh yes, have fun, always have a copy of your book with you and make sure that the host references where it can be purchased … and you should as well. Go for it!

Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 35 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #35, How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos has earned 7 national book awards in 2017Get your copy now.

Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged Bootcamp, a three-day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2018, the dates are June 23-25.  Participate in her Judith Briles Speaking Unplugged Bootcamp held in March and November. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” on the Toginet Network at

Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at

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