Wednesday, Nov. 23, I was the guest on a podcast where, according to my daughters, I wasn’t awful, but I could’ve been better. In fact, they complained, we’ve heard you be better. To which I could only sigh. My preparation, planning, support gathering, execution, and delivery had all been off. What could I learn from this? Had retirement made me soft? Had I forgotten how to network?
As senior sponsor, my students’ talent shows and plays stood out, and our sales went through the roof. When I chaired a social event, the crowd size was always respectable. After much contemplation of that November night, I have compiled six of my biggest failures.
Don’t choose the night before Thanksgiving. I chose America’s busiest cooking holiday, to be a podcast guest. The hosts gave me options, but I wanted the night when every American woman or man is ordering, organizing, or cooking a big holiday meal.
Don’t have too many irons in the fire. My primary focus was on the last re-read of my book. I was trying to count the days before it would go live on Amazon and what I could accomplish during that time. I was starting a 7-Day virtual book tour, and that entailed writing 7 comprehensive blog posts for my tour hosts.
Don’t be too chicken to demand your friends tune in. Feeling like an imposter, I’d only issued a few invitations. Putting myself in my invitees’ shoes, the night being what it was, I might not have taken my hands out of the stuffing to dial in, either. If I wanted callers, I should’ve assigned callers. I was lucky the show had a few faithful listeners who called in.
Don’t speak into a handheld cellphone on speaker. The most amateur thing I did was hold my phone in my hand. Every time I moved, it moved and made a static-y sound on the broadcast; and I moved around a lot that night.
Don’t go empty-handed. I had one book, one short story, and a blog. The producers had tried to run my trailer and it had no sound. I hadn’t thought to check on YouTube where my book trailer had languished for many years. I did, and it had no sound.
Don’t go without an elevator pitch. I was all over the place trying to describe my story. The hosts were experienced enough to draw me to personal stories, and I think I did better there. More than anything, bring an elevator pitch.
Fail to do these things, and your experience as a podcast interviewee will go well. In the future, I’ll need groups and affiliates to support me; a catalog of at least two more books and a book of short stories; trailers for all my books; and I’ll be aiming for success.