How to Sell Books on Oprah

What if you wrote a book that hit the New York Times bestseller list for over 283 weeks and always sold more copies than it did the year before? On top of that, what if Oprah Winfrey called and said she wanted to interview you on her TV show? Seems like an unrealistic dream, right?

Yet, that’s the reality for Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, which has sold over 7 million copies during a 20-year period (and always sells more copies than the year before!) Last week, Dr. Chapman was featured on Oprah’s Lifeclass program. The interview resulted in a huge sales bump and rocketed the book to the top of Amazon and its 284th week on the New York Times bestseller list.

I’m honored to have Dr. Chapman as one of my WildFire clients (read his testimonial). As I watched Dr. Chapman’s interview with Oprah, I was impressed by his above-average skill at conducting a TV interview. Click on the link below to watch him in action.


View videos

Here are several takeaways from Dr. Chapman’s interview that all authors should consider:

1. Know your material – Dr. Chapman was able to think on his feet and calmly answer any question with clarity and conviction. He provided immediate value to the audience that helped improve their relationships. He exhibited expertise and full command of his material. In contrast, I’ve watch too many authors arrive unprepared for media interviews, stutter through their answers, and waste golden promotional opportunities.

2. Utilize success stories – Oprah featured numerous couples who literally said, “Dr. Chapman’s book saved my marriage!” Those types of success stories have more marketing power than any kind of advertising. Plus, success stories create strong word of mouth that helps convince skeptical readers to purchase. No marketing plan is complete without powerful success stories for your book. As an author, do everything possible to secure and highlight authentic success stories.

3. Exhibit confidence – Dr. Chapman never showed any fear of talking with Oprah or getting overwhelmed by the moment. Instead, he acted as her equal and someone who cared about the audience. In any media situation, you should never cower to the host or act like a second-class citizen who’s just happy to be there. Act like someone who belongs, because you have legitimate value to offer the audience.

4. Offer a free assessment – Dr. Chapman’s book offers a free online assessment that reveals your personal love language. Oprah took time during the interview to complete the assessment and discuss her language (words of affirmation). Some people would argue that letting people learn their love language for free negates the need to buy and read the book. Instead, the free assessment creates the opposite effect. When people learn someone important for free, they are drawn to the value they received and want more. The assessment makes people think, “This free resource was so helpful, imagine how much more help I’ll get if I buy the book.”

Oprah may be the Queen of television. But, based on this interview, Dr. Chapman is the King of transforming marriages and selling books.


About Rob Eagar

Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing, a consulting practice that helps authors, businesses, and non-profit organizations spread their message like wildfire. He has consulted with numerous publishing houses, non-profits, and trained over 400 authors, including several New York Times bestsellers. Rob is the author of "Sell Your Book Like Wildfire," which is considered the bible of book marketing. Find out more at: WildFire Marketing. You can follow Rob on Twitter and connect with him at: Google+ or email at: