Authors: Learn How to Be Media-Savvy with Alice Collier

Tuesday, April 22, 2008
An Interview with Alice Collier, the TV Image Coach

WOW: Welcome to WOW! Alice, we're thrilled to be chatting with you today. I read on your website that you worked for 15 years as a television news anchorwoman, and also as a talk show host and producer. That's fabulous! I'm sure our readers would love to know how you got started in such a fascinating line of work.

Alice: It is truly a miracle that I was ever on television. I've never taken a journalism course in my life. I was studying to be a lawyer when my father tragically died in a freak accident in our home. Later that year, my mother was asked to be a guest on a Detroit television show to talk about running his company. I went with her to the television station, and I walked into the newsroom during a breaking news story. I could feel the high energy in that space. It was incredibly exciting to me. I felt like I belonged. There were news crews running all over the place trying to prepare for live shots--producers, anchors, reporters, and photographers were screaming and yelling, throwing papers, and just going wild. I said to myself, "This is what I want to do! I'm going to do this!" You can read whole story in the Success Strategies. It is due for release next month.

WOW: I can't wait to read that! What an amazing story. And I'm sorry to hear about your father. It seems that day in the newsroom clearly redefined your professional focus, but what was it like when you first started out? Were you nervous in front of the camera like most people?

Alice: When I had my first television interview, I was told that I would never make it in the industry because I was too pretty. I am very passionate about what I do, and I give it my all once I make up my mind, so you can imagine how that comment rubbed me. I leaned over, looked that news director in the eye, and said, "Not only will I make it in this business but someday I will have your job." He hired me on the spot.

I am a very outgoing person, and it's almost second nature for me to be in front of a camera. Maybe as a young reporter I would get a little nervous but not now; I do get very excited though when I get to do interviews where I feel my story is really making a difference in people's lives.

WOW: I admire you for sticking up for yourself, and for landing the job. So, did you have someone to mentor you in the early years?

Alice: Oh yes, I have had several mentors help me in different areas of my professional career. One of whom is the investigative reporter who actually hired me for that internship. He is now NBC's National Correspondent out of Washington D.C., Steve Handelsman.

Steve was instrumental in teaching me how to ask even the toughest politician or interviewee the right questions. He taught me how to be dogged about getting an authentic answer, and to be courageous and poised during the most difficult interview.

I then had the great opportunity to interview Barbara Walters while I was working in Cleveland, Ohio. As a young journalist, she gave me one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. She said that I should study the anchorwomen whom I most admired and wanted to be like. So, of course, I studied Barbara, as well as Jane Pauley and Carole Simpson. To me, these were exceptional journalists and outstanding women. They were respected journalists, poised on camera, and were dressed impeccably well, I thought. It's so funny because when I go places, people will say to me, "You know, you remind me of Barbara Walters!" And it's no wonder because she was one of the women that I admired and modeled.

I say that very thing to my coaching clients: watch and study other authors whom you admire on television. Watch them being interviewed, listen to the questions they are asked and how they respond. In doing so, you will develop your own unique style, just like I did as an anchor, and you will become a great success.

WOW: That's good advice. We can all learn from example. And for authors, it's a dream to land a TV interview, but most don’t know how to go about garnering one. Do you have any suggestions for authors who haven't yet booked an interview, but would like to?

Alice: Let me suggest three ways to get media attention. First, develop your image. Find your unique self, the one who wants to be a bestselling author, and I certainly can help you do that. I look forward to working with you to put forth your very best you, the YOU that television reporters, anchors, and talk show hosts will find entertaining and engaging.

Secondly, determine what you want to say on television, and make sure you have defined those message points, and you are able to speak them well. I would happy to go through these with you. We'll break it down so that you are very clear and concise with what it is you want to say and what you believe the TV talk show or news show will enjoy hearing.

And thirdly, find creative ways to get that message out to the TV stations, and this involves publicity. I suggest you start by contacting your local TV stations, but NO stalking though! Stalking is scary. I've had it happen to me, and it's no fun. We can certainly talk about these things and much more because there are many interesting ways to attract the attention of your local media.

WOW: Yikes! I know what you mean. I've even had a stalker...but that's another story for another time. Your points are excellent. Thank you for the advice. So, after an author has booked a TV show, why is it important to know if the interview will be live, live on tape, or taped?

Alice: These 3 formats uniquely effect the pace and content of your television interview. Let me explain:

A "live" show is just that: live. It is being broadcast in the same moment that you are being interviewed. You must be raring to go and maintain that momentum throughout the entire show. There is no time to slowly get your bearings and warm-up to this strange, new situation. You've got to be on point from the get-go. Remember, stick to your message points, stay engaged, and give every second all you've got.

A "live on tape" show is basically a show that is being taped as if it were "live." Just as you would in a live show format, you want to come out ready and raring to go. Know your message points ahead of time and get into the meat of your material right away. Very little editing, if any, is required for this type of program, but as far as you're concerned, this is still a live show.

A taped format is when your interview is taped to be aired at a different time. You need to be prepared to talk at length and in-depth about yourself, your book, and your experience in writing your book. The key is to speak in dynamic soundbites so that the reporter has a lot of content from which to choose when editing.

It is very important to know the format ahead of time so you can prepare accordingly and make the best use of this terrific opportunity to sell your book! For more information on this, you can download my FREE audio course at

WOW: That's very useful info, and I'm sure our readers will want to take advantage of your free audio course. Alice, in your opinion, what makes for a great guest on a TV show?

Alice: Be yourself. Be truthful. Be authentic, and never, ever try to pretend to be someone you aren't or that you know something you don't. Not only will the interviewer pick up on it, and then bury you in it, but you will lose all credibility with the audience.

WOW: What are some of the ways you help women authors achieve this?

Alice: Empowering you to relax and give yourself permission to be human. Stumbling over words and other unplanned happenstances are all part of normal everyday conversation (at least, they are for me!), and any good TV talk show host welcomes all aspects of one-on-one, human-to-human conversation. Relax and have fun!

WOW: That is the key. But, on occasion, I've seen some not-so-nice interviewers spin topics in an attempt to pry information out of their guests. Is there any way to prepare for this, in case it happens?

Alice: Oh yes. If an interviewer asks a question that you are not comfortable with, it's okay to tell them "I am uncomfortable answering that question," or "I feel that question is too personal." They will respect that. Be graceful, though!

WOW: Now, most authors are shy--since writing is such a solitary endeavor. Is there any hope for the painfully shy author who'd rather be doing anything other than speaking in front of an audience?

Alice: Absolutely! It is in an interviewer's best interest to make an author as comfortable and relaxed as possible before the lights come up and the cameras are turned on. If someone is painfully shy, the interviewer can prepare them as to what they can expect during the interview so they won't be as uncomfortable as they might be if they were not prepared. It does not do an interviewer any good to make a shy person uncomfortable because then they don't get their story, the author doesn't get to tell their story, and the audience doesn't get to hear their story.

WOW: In your opinion, what's the best way an author can sell her book to the audience during an interview?

Alice: Tell a story. People love to hear stories, so tell your story. Tell a story from your book--sort of like a teaser. Don't tell the whole story, but certainly tell a bit of it, and then let them know that they can read all about that in your book.

You can also tell a story about yourself when you were writing the book. Be excited about it; make it very interesting. You must be fascinated with your story in hopes that the viewer will be entertained, and will want to rush out and buy your book.

WOW: I like that idea of the teaser, and the writer's journey. I know it's simple, but just hearing you say it makes me realize that it doesn't have to be as complicated as many think it is. I also noticed on your blog that you have coaching services and workshops coming soon. How exciting! Can you tell us a little about what's in store?

Alice: I have an exclusive TV Smarts for Women Authors Media Training Workshop that will help make you a TV superstar and skyrocket your book to bestseller status coming up this July 23rd and July 24th in Orlando, Florida. There will also be an optional third day for private one hour one-on-one coaching sessions with me for those who attend the workshop, but space is extremely limited, and will be on a first come, first serve basis.

If someone misses the one-on-one coaching session at the workshop in July, they can contact me to schedule an appointment for exclusive coaching with me in Orlando. There are two different sessions to choose from: the half session which is four hours, and a full session which is eight hours. These private coaching sessions are "hard core" and for the author who is highly motivated to be on a national television show, and truly desires to have a bestseller.

WOW: Thank you Alice for taking the time to share your expertise with our readers today. You are doing a great thing by helping women authors! Do you have any inspirational quotes or advice you'd like to leave us with?

Alice: Come out of the gate smoking! I just had a shy client who appeared on a national morning show. He was only supposed to be on for a five minute segment--or so he thought--but because he had worked with me, and had been coached to be his authentic self rather than a nervous wreck, the producers and the hosts of the show became so enamored with him that he ended up being on throughout their entire four-hour long program that day.

I would encourage people who think they want to be on television or have already been booked to be on television to call me. Together, like that client, we can turn a five-minute segment into a huge success.

WOW: Thanks again, Alice. You've shared a wealth of information here with us today.

To find out more about Alice Collier, TV Image and Media Coach, please visit her website: and be sure to sign up for her Free eBook & Audio Mini-Course: “5 Things You Must Know Before You Market Your Book On TV.”

And visit Alice’s blog to keep up with the latest:

And join her on as one of her friends.


Annette said...

I just downloaded the ebook and audio to check it out.

I definitely need it!

I had a taped radio interview via telephone a month ago (my first) and boy did I blow it! I was fine until they did the countdown to let me know the recording was going to start. Then I got all weird and freaked out--I stumbled and stammered and couldn't manage to put together a coherent sentence. I was sooo embarrassed. And I felt so sorry for that interviewer. But it didn't help that she asked a couple questions I totally didn't think were appropriate. I asked her for the list of questions ahead of time so I could prepare, but she said she wanted the interview to be organic.

So, that's exactly what she got--an interview that was as appealing as organic fertilizer. =/

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