What it Takes to Get on NPR

Recently I heard a snippet of Terry Gross’Fresh Air interview with Eat, Pray, Loveauthor Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert has a new book out and was on the show to talk about it.

A bit earlier in the same week, an author client had asked if I’d pitched her to NPR shows, including Fresh Air. My answer was, “Yes, of course.” It always is, because I always pitch the authors I represent to NPR — and to all the other dream-caliber, A-list outlets. But does that mean I expect interviews to pan out there for them?

Sadly, no. Not at all.

It’s an uncomfortable dilemma. Authors want to know their publicist is reaching out to A-list, dream outlets like Fresh Air, The New York Times, Oprah and The Today Show. Isn’t that one reason they’ve hired a publicist in the first place? And it wouldn’t make sense to simply leave those outlets off the list of places I reach out to even though the chances for the overwhelming majority of authors are virtually zero. For one thing, there’s the crucial dream factor for authors. As I’ve said before, I’m all for dreaming big! I also feel that as a matter of principle those outlets should continue hearing from all authors who’d like a fighting chance at recognition. They should be made aware again and again of these authors’ utterly staggering numbers, the variety of stories they’re writing about, their talent, their accomplishments.

But people like Terry Gross aren’t just looking for a good read to talk about: they’re looking for news. News, by definition, is something that’s not only new and timely, but is some combination of the following: