Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Radio and Book Signings: A Marriage Made in Writer’s Heaven

James Megellas, an unknown author, was a guest on “The Ticket” radio station. That evening at his first book signing, he sold 125 books—every book in the store.

Was this an anomaly? Maybe. But any author could do the same.

Book signings and radio just seem to go together. The author that can get on the radio and entertain an audience will do well at his or her book signings.

But how does one set up a radio appearance and book signing? Which comes first, booking the radio show or the book signing? It really doesn’t matter which you set up first. If you have one, you can easily snag the other.

Find a popular radio program that has guests. The better the ratings, the more people there will be listening to you and hearing about your book signing. No matter where you are signing, you will be able to locate a radio station and its web site here: http://www.radio-locator.com.

Find out the ratings (how many people listen) here: http://www.arbitron.com.

Contact the host of the program and offer yourself as a guest. Let them know that you are appearing at xyz for a book signing. Will they take you? Yes, if you have something to say of interest to their listeners. It was very easy for James Magellas to have something interesting to say. He wrote about his experiences in World War II. He was the most decorated officer in his unit. The radio show, “The Hardliners,” was on a sports talk radio station listened to mostly by men and boys who enjoyed his war stories.

What if you’ve written a novel? What do you talk about? Dorothy Garlock, well-known writer of historical romance novels, says, “You need to have something to talk about. I’m interested in old home remedies and recipes. I spend the entire time exchanging tales of frontier medicine and Grandma’s recipes with listeners.” Getting phone calls while on the air lets the radio station hosts know that they have a good draw for their show. Word gets around—your next appearance will be easier to get.

Set up your book signing at a bookstore. Most bookstores will be happy to host your book signing, especially when you tell them you will be on the radio and announcing the event. You don’t have to have your book signing at a bookstore. Some towns don’t even have a bookstore. Writers have successfully used libraries, restaurants, antique stores, fairs, retirement homes, etc. to host book signings.

Mike Salerno, owner of Salerno’s Restaurant in Flower Mound, Texas, received a call from former resident and writer, Jim Dent. Could Jim have a book signing at his favorite restaurant? Mike had never had a book signing in his restaurant, but he realized that having such an event could bring him some new customers. So he agreed. Jim arranged for the local bookstore to handle the book sales; then he went on three different radio shows the day of the signing. That evening, over 100 people showed up at the restaurant and more than 75 books were sold. The restaurant owner was happy. The bookstore manager was happy. And of course, the writer was very happy.

Radio and book signings. A marriage made in writer’s heaven. Don’t be the bridesmaid with your next book. Get married to radio and turn your next book signing into a major success.

* Note: This article was originally published on FundsForWriters.com


  1. Hello, Dan!

    Setting up a radio gig, along with a book signing, is a great idea. And to add an extra promotional spin, take advantage finding a tie-in like a local event or holiday. I did that with International Thank You Days (January 11-18) for my book, "Why ... THANK YOU! -- How to Have FUN Writing Fantastic Notes and More." It also allowed me to promote the fact that the creator of ITYD, Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith, had given me a testimonial for the back of my book!

  2. I like read this information, I would like investigate more about this! thanks for sharing!