16 ½ Tips for appearing on TV (from someone who’s done it only a few times).

  Julie Mireau & Susan Harris 


Worried about that few seconds of fame? Being under the lights can make you hot, but I’ve learned a few things that help me say cool. In no particular order, although prayer punctuates every step, here are my tips:

1. Props- If using photos, visuals aids or other props, advise the station ahead of time as they need to factor time for these into the interview. (I take pennies, penny magic material and my books along).

2. On set – Set out early and get there ahead of time. Wait in your car if you must.  Keep traffic, detours, weather etc in mind. GPS too, as they can be unreliable.

3. Subject matter – Memorise your book if it’s short one, or parts of it so you can “read” from it without looking down. It’s nice to hold the book to the audience so they can see what you are reading. Use discreet bookmarks to help you find a particular page quickly. (I memorise my children’s book and cut stickie notes in strips to find pages quickly).

4. Send the cover of your book, your website link and other important information by email ahead of time so they can be inserted it into the interview. Include the date/time of any appearances. Know where customers can buy your books as interviewers usually endwith that question. If nothing, ensure they get your website.

5. Questions – The interviewer may prep you ahead of time but you can offer some questions you’d like them to ask you. General questions include – what prompted you to write the book, how long have you been a writer, what is the target group for the book, any unusual facts/storyline, is this your first book, what are you doing next… Never show up the interviewer by putting him down with your knowledge.

6. DVD – Ask for a copy of the interview beforehand so they can create the copy simultaneously with the recording. Offer to pay for it even if they’ve given it for free before.

7. Gratitude – Thank them at the start for having you, and reiterate it at the end. If you have interviewed there before, let me know that the exposure helped you get to where you are. Everyone loves appreciation and they’ll be happy to invite you back.

8. Gifts – Offer complementary signed copies after the interview.

9. Posture – Keep shoulders and back straight and place feet next to each other or cross ankles slightly. If it’s your first time, practice before a full length mirror for the 8 minutes or whatever the length of the interview.

10. Eyes – Look at the interviewer unless they direct you to look at the camera. Keep eyes at the interviewer’s level or look down. Don’t look up as it comes across as if you are rolling your eyes.

11. Colour of clothing – Most stations prefer colour, and colour is appropriate for a children’s author. I wear bright colours not because of what the station wants but because they go well with my complexion. Very light colours fade into off-white and all black can be forbidding to children. At minimum, one can go three ways with colour – one that complements your eyes, one that complements your book cover, or more unconventionally, one that fits in with the studio. I only thought of the studio effect after seeing myself at CTV Saskatoon where I wore maple red and I thought it looked well with the overall set. And seriously, I prayed about what to wear, and was a bit upset when the Lord pushed a seven-year old suit in my mind seeing that I had already bought a dress with geometric lines for that interview. (See photo with the red suit below). Stay away from thin stripes, fine plaids, or checks.  Larger prints are okay but ensure they are not too busy. Trousers, skirts, dresses even (good) jeans are fine.  Saskatoon CTV 1

12. Jewellery – Avoid dangling or rustling jewellery, be they bracelets or earrings.

13. Make-up – If the station has its own make-up artist, don’t wear any frosty make-up as it takes long to clean off before re-applying.

14. Nails – I usually get gel French nails as the camera zooms in on my hands when I show the penny. I also point to my book. If using colour on your nails, it is advisable to match it with either your lip colour or of the clothing closest to your face.

15. Unpleasantness – I try to stay at home the day before an interview and do home-made facials, try on outfits etc so I can be relaxed for the interview. But for those of you are more beautiful that I am, you can easily skip the facial and just get enough rest.

16. I pray and ask others to pray for me.

And why the ½? That’s anything else that you can add. Happy TV appearance.

The interview is about a year old. Hope you enjoy it.

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