How to Get Live TV Experience

The easiest way to sell a ton of books is to appear on a major morning TV show like “TODAY” or “Good Morning America.” If you’re with a major publisher, they can most likely get you booked, but the producers won’t want you unless you have live TV experience.

It sounds like a Catch-22: if you don’t have live TV experience, stations won’t book you on a show, but you can’t get that experience if they won’t book you. The solution? Get it locally.

Your Local News
Every city in America has a local newscast. Get yourself booked on it. Doesn’t matter how big the station is, how many viewers they have, or what time they have you on. It’s the fact that you were on live TV and you rocked it that matters.

To get yourself booked, you need to find the name of one of the Segment Producers. Watch your local news and see when they have human interest stories in the studio — local fashion shows, cooking demos, pet parades — sometimes it’s the morning news, sometimes it’s lunchtime. Look online or call the studio directly and ask for the name of that time period’s Segment Producer (they might have more than one). Call them directly, or if you’re too nervous, send them an email outlining your pitch.

Producers have lots and lots of time to fill, and you can help them fill it. Pitch your ideas along with your flexibility: say how you’d love to share Valentine’s recipes, sweet summer desserts, a Halloween party theme. Remind them that you’re local and can be there in a pinch should they ever need you. (When segments cancel, it’s a nightmare for them. You can be their hero. Baby.)

Pitch all of your local channels, even public access if you have to. If you have a solid idea, you’ll eventually get picked up.

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A Solid Idea (Or 5)
The more work you can do for the producer, the more likely they are to want to book you. Go in to your very first phone call or email prepared.

Type up a list of 5 ideas you have for a short segment starring you (think 2 minutes or less!) with a brief summary underneath. Think about news headlines when you write it. Producers love numbers and the outrageous. Pitching “My Best Cookie Recipe” isn’t going to cut it. You need shock and awe. A local angle also helps.

Some examples:

    – 5 Foods You Should Never Pack in Your Kids’ Lunch
    – Detroit’s Dirty Dozen: Food You Should Never Buy Non-Organic
    – 5 Ways to Save $100 a Week on Groceries
    – 3 Dinners, 3 Ingredients, $3 Each

Doesn’t matter if your ideas don’t relate directly to your cookbook or your blog. They just need to be about food, and showcase your ability to look pretty and speak well.

Practice
Once you’ve got a producer contact, start practicing so you’re ready to go! Videotape yourself and play it back for yourself and for friends and family who will tell you the truth. Do you speak too quickly? Look down too much? Now is the time to fix it.

Clothing
One last important thing: have your wardrobe selected and on stand-by, down to your pantyhose. The last thing you need is a last-minute phone call booking you, and you having nothing to wear. Ain’t nobody got time for that stress!

The best clothes are bright, solid colors. No crazy patterns as they can look weird on TV. Non-fussy hair, no jewelry that clinks or will make noise, and sensible shoes (since no one will see them anyway!).

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