A Penny Wise and a Pound Foolish

     Contributed by: Lillian El Cauldwell
      ††††††††† Paying to get on a radio talk show? ďRidiculous, you say.Ē
      ††††††††† ďI wonít pay for my radio interview,Ē a branded author tells me.
      ††††††††† Before we go into that, I want to see a show of hands first.
      ††††††††† How many of you are first-time published (newbie) authors?
      ††††††††† How many of you have a Marketing Plan?† A Marketing Platform?
      ††††††††† How many of you know what to do next now that your book is released by your publishing company?†
     How many of you are self-publishing, independent publishing, electronic publishing, Print On Demand, Publish On Demand, or with a publishing company that promises royalties, but expects the author to do the bulk of their marketing and promotion?
     I can see by all the hands that many of you are sitting in that same rocky boat.
      ††††††††† I agree with you in principle that it sucks that people ask you to pay for your own interview.†† But, before you get all excited and hot underneath that collar or hairline, letís take a closer look at what those web sites provide authors with so that the Listening Public can hear you and ask you questions via email or the telephone.
     Before I became a host, I knew nothing about being one or how they got my computer to sing, vibrate and talk to me all at the same time.† It never occurred to me that there was more to a talk radio show on the computer than met the eye, but I had never asked.
      Why didnít I ask?† Maybe, I didnít want to sound ignorant or behind the computer times, but either way, it didnít hurt my competition, they were smarter than I.
      ††††††††† Last year, my novel was released by a publishing company that offered me royalties based on the number of books I sold.
      ††††††††† No problem, I told myself.† My previous nonfiction book was published by a small press/independent company and I sold 3,000 to 5,000 copies before his distributor went into bankruptcy.† Even so, the book was still selling.† I didnít anticipate any problem with the novel.
      ††††††††† Of course, there were problems.† I just didnít read the road signs well enough to know that there are small royalty publishing companies and small royalty publishing companies.† Am I paying now?† You bet!† Here it is, almost one year later and Iím still trying to promote the book as if it was released yesterday.
      ††††††††† Do you think that I have wandered away from the topic?† Not quite.† I just provided some background information for you.
      ††††††††† What does go on in the technical ends of web radio talk shows online?
      ††††††††† First, you talk to the host who connects with authors who express an interest in becoming a program guest-author.† Before I volunteered my time and sanity, I first paid for my interview on that radio talk show to promote myself and the opportunity to sell my book.† Did I receive any hits?
      ††††††††† Plenty!†
      ††††††††† Did I sell a lot of books?
      ††††††††† I laughed and cried at this question because in spite of my misgivings, I did sell my novel.† It was incredible!† One minute my web site meter read 50 unique visitors, though it been up for six weeks, and the next time I looked, the site meter had jumped, skipped and hopped up to 150 unique visitors and it kept on jumping, hopping and skipping up to 1,000 unique visitors!† How many people bought the book?† Is it enough to say that the radio talk show program had kept its word?
      ††††††††† Why am I telling you this?
      ††††††††† Because sometimes I get the feeling that many authors cut off their nose to spite their face or in plain English, they feel that the amount of money theyíre forking over is too much for them to pay.†
      ††††††††† Let me digress.
      ††††††††† When my first nonfiction book came out in 1996, the sales started out slowly.† My publisher had given me an advance for the book which in 1996 was good for a first time published writer.† You understand that the publisher who gives out an advance makes up that money in book sales.† Until your book sales produce the amount of money that the publisher gave you, the author doesnít receive any additional royalties.
      ††††††††† Did you know that or were you just guessing?
      ††††††††† Donations or flat fees to a radio talk show station work pretty much the same way.† Royalties are the publisherís way of getting books that they can make a profit on.† For that donation, the author hopes to make a profit as a result of increased book sales.†
      The authors receive certain benefits to make the interview successful.† The radio talk show host supplies you with information about the interview to help you prepare for it, whether itís pre-recorded the week ahead of time or done live over the phone. Besides the host and the author, the show has an engineer who is moderating the conversation so that he can pick up† the radio stationís signal.† If the show is pre-recorded, the recording has to undergo noise reduction and be converted to a CD or tape.
      ††††††††† Have you done any net research lately?† I have.† I was astounded that many syndicated radio talk stations also ask for money as part of their submissions, and they donít call them donations.† They call them payments.†† There are many services on the Internet that will provide the author opportunities to go on real radio stations, but you pay a lot of money for it. Find out before you sign up for these services.
      Letís look at those air-time payments?
      In Arkansas, depending on where the program is broadcast, the air time for Little Rock (and itís much less than an hour program nor is there a re-release a month later) charges the authors $550 for an half hour program.† Letís take a look at California.† Again, depending on what city or cities you are citing, the fees differ a lot.† For Glendale, CA, the author cost is $2,450 per half hour.† Letís look at Los Angeles which covers 6 wealthy city-suburbs.† I studied the chart and found the most expensive air-time on radio talk shows costs $3,000 for an half hour program.
      Letís take Artist First as an example.
      ††††††††† A $60 (one hour program)†donation covers the engineer who monitors the phone call and makes sure that the signal is picked up by the station in Alliance, OH.
      ††††††††† The money pays for the engineerís time and technical skills.† That same donation also pays for the time that the host ďrentsĒ from Artist First to air the program.† Artist First is a non profit organization which means that they run the radio station by volunteers, except for the engineer who gets paid by the hour.
      ††††††††† That $60 donation pays for the author to air twice on Artist First World Network.† That Network plays 24/7 and airs internationally and nationally which means that youíre listening audience can vary from 9,000 to 47,000 people a month.† Thatís a lot of listeners to that station URL.
      ††††††††† That donation which is paid directly to Artist First also covers the operational costs of the program.† What operational costs?† How long have you been in business?† Stamps.† Stationery.† Advertisements. Rental of property, overhead expenses; those kinds of costs.† You forget that while the author is a sole proprietor unto himself, a web based radio station is a group with facilities and staff to support, and that means they pay out for you to get in.
      ††††††††† Before you say, ďI canít afford it.Ē† Ask yourself, can you afford not to?† How else can you market your book this cheaply?† Are you not becoming a guest on Thru-the-Cracks-of-Time because itís expensive or is it something youíve never thought about when planning out your marketing and promotion strategies?† If your publishing company demands that you do-it-yourself, or just left it implicitly to you, as most do, timeís a wasting.†
      ††††††††† I realize that Bill Clinton doesnít pay a fee or donation, but I bet you ten to one a sponsor (or the publisher) is paying for him to appear on all those programs.†Thereís no such thing as a free lunch.† I can vouchsafe for that.
      ††††††††† Pick up your fingers and have them do the two-step over the keys and go to and read it thru carefully.† With your flat fee of either $30 per half hour or $60 per hour donation, you get a FREE Newsletter stuffed full of promotion and marketing information that you can use or barter with.† You get practicing rights with Ms. Cauldwell, and dry runs with her on the phone: 734-332-4940 or thru a chat room of your choice until youíre comfortable.
      ††††††††† Once youíre finished reading, contact Ms. Cauldwell, or call 734-332-4940.
      ††††††††† You may only get 30 minutes of fame in your lifetime.† Make it count!†
      ††††††††††By the way, one of author-guests was a poet.† Her book of verse was reviewed by the New York Sunday Newspaper in their book section in mid September.† I interviewed two author-guests who were Pulitzer Prize winners at MidWest Book Fest in early September.† You just never know what might happen to you book or to you unless you give yourself a try.
     Copyright 2004 Lillian Cauldwell
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