Monday, January 20, 2014

Making an Interview Effortless

It is so much fun for me to interview an author. But to make it a flawless interview (or close to flawless), there are some things you have to do. I would like to share what I have learned with you.

1. Don't be intimidated. An author is a person just like you. Be confident when you contact them to ask them for an interview. Explain what your plan is and where the interview will be posted. Also let them know when you would like to post it but remember authors are very busy so it will be done when they have time. Make sure you are available and that you give them the time and attention they deserve.

2. Have your questions ready before you ask the author for the interview. This is very important because they may be busy and it may take them a week to get back to you or they may say yes to the interview and ask you to send the questions right over. At that point you are rushing and you may not present quality questions.

3. Be flexible. I would think this would go without saying since you are the one doing the interviewing, and the author is the important person whether this is their first book or their 100th book. Treat them with respect. If they want to ditch one or two of your questions and add their own, do not get upset. It is all part of the creative process. They want the world to see them a certain way and this interview is part of how people will see them. So again, do not let a change in questions throw you.

4. Make sure your links are correct. Always click on the links an author sends you. I have had many times where an author has sent me incorrect links that lead to nowhere. Everyone makes mistakes. Just click those links and make sure that they go where they are supposed to. And if not, ask the person you are interviewing for the correct link.

5. Pictures, attachments, etc. Make sure you ask the author for a head shot and pictures to any of their books mentioned in the interview. Not every single book needs a picture to go with it. Use your best judgement. And the author may send you other attachments on their own. Put them in the right place. Not all authors want to use head shots and attachments. Use your best judgement on a case by case basis. Listen to the author.

6.. Questions. This may be the authors first interview or 30th. Either way the questions are important. I have seen some great interviews and some really horrible ones and the difference is in the questions. I posted about interviews before and who they really are for. It is okay to ask one or two personal questions say about what they like to snack on while they work or where their favorite place to write is. But you want to focus on their writing. You will want to ask when they knew they wanted to be a writer. What inspires them. And you are most likely doing an interview after reading a certain book by that author. You will want to focus on the theme of the book. Ask questions about the characters in the book. Ask them after some of those questions what is coming up for them in the future. And I always make my last question "Would you like to add anything?". This is a good open ended question and a great way for the author to end the interview.

7. Edit, edit, edit! Sure the author edited the piece but I have had authors who have asked me to. Either way I have caught spacing and grammar errors for example. So read it once. Read it twice. Third time is the charm.

8. Discuss beforehand if the author wants final approval before posting. Sometimes their editing and yours is still not enough. The author may want to see the finished product one more time before posting.

9. Post the interview and send the link to the author. Then sit back and relax...you did it!

Everyone does things differently and you cannot change some people's minds. But if you follow what I posted above, you should have smooth sailing with your author and a great interview to show for it.