But the way book publicist Yen Cheong calculates it, the chances of an author landing an interview on National Public Radio is 15 times harder than getting into Harvard.
Cheong, the assistant director of publicity for Viking and Penguin Books in New York City, thought it would be fun and informative for book publicists to keep track of how many books are actually covered on NPR each week. So she started a contest for book publicists, designed to help them get more of their author clients on the air.
Every week I’ll be tallying what books have been covered on the national NPR shows (since all good book publicists know that a national NPR interview is almost the Holy Grail of radio publicity). On Thursday afternoons I’ll post a roundup of the national NPR book stories of the week. The first person to send me the imprints (not publishing houses but imprints, where applicable) of all the books mentioned (maybe a dozen or so) will win the NPR Books Grid.
The grid is an Excel spreadsheet that lists the titles, authors, subjects, shows, interviewers and post-interview Amazon rankings of all the book stories for that week.
Check the NPR Books Watch Contest page on the upper right-hand corner of her blog for details and to see exactly what the book grid includes.
All Things Considered, Fresh Air and Morning Edition are among the best NPR shows for authors. But book publicist Lissa Warren, who was my guest during a teleseminar on How to Get Booked on National Public Radio, says publicists and authors shouldn’t just shoot for interviews on big shows like those. Dozens of smaller shows on niche topics also welcome authors, and competition for coveted interviews isn’t as stiff.