Today we're talking about the bane of most authors' existence, and that's interviews. Writers often create blogs, podcasts, or YouTube channels to grow their platform, and through these various channels, they often interview other writers.
The thing is these writers often have trouble nailing down these interviews. Their approach and decorum are all wrong. If you don't know how to ask for interviews or conduct them. These 10 tips will guarantee to help you. I am breaking down the 10 tips for approaching writers about interviews, as well as conducting writer interviews. Implement these tips and it will save you an inevitable rejection.
1) Assess the dynamic.
If you're requesting to interview a writer, the first thing you need to do is assess the dynamic. Who has a larger audience, you or the writer in question? If you have a larger audience, the writer in question is probably going to be excited to work with you, in which case you have room to be choosy.
But nine times out of ten, if you're the one requesting this interview, that means this person will either have an equal-sized platform to you or larger. If their platform is larger, that means it's important that you treat this process professionally and make the interview beneficial to them. At the very least, try to remember to be gracious and easy-going.
2) Request links and imagery.
As we already covered, authors want to be plugged in! We've got books to sell. So it behooves you to request any links and imagery that you want to use throughout the interview. There are two benefits if you do this.
You don't have to go out searching for everything.
They will know upfront that you plan on pimping, which will make the interview much more enticing.
A simple email requesting their social media and book links along with their book cover and their author photo will go a long way.
3) Link them.
You would not believe how many blogs, podcasts, or channels asked to interview one of my friends whose mom is an author and she says ''They fail to provide a link to their platform or even its title. Writers need to scope out their content.''
They have to make sure it'd be a good fit for them. If you don't provide a link, the natural assumption is that you're trying to hide something. It looks sketchy. This is going to translate to an automatic rejection.
4) Know who you're talking to.
If you don't know the title of an author's book, that's a problem. If you don't know the genre they write, an even bigger problem! It's rude to ask people to give up their time when you couldn't spare five minutes to read their author bio or check out their website.
Plus, you probably shouldn't be interviewing someone you don't know anything about. What if they're vocally racist? Do you want to highlight abusive language on your podcast? I don't think so! It doesn't take any effort to catch up on an author's accolades. We splatter that all over the Internet.
5) Get to the point.
When contacting writers about interviews, a lot of people feel the need to write essays explaining the theme of their platform or the message behind their work. Remember how I said authors have tons of work?
Writers don't want to read your long email. Get to the point of what you're asking for. Let the writer know specifically when you'd like to interview them, how you'd like to interview them, what you'd like to interview them about, and how this interview will be beneficial to them, if at all.
6) Switch up the format.
If you are a blogger who recycles the same questionnaire for every, single-author interview, I can almost guarantee two things.
1) No one is reading your blog, 'because obviously, it’s boring.
2) The only writers who will agree to this format are those who are very new to the game and desperate for exposure.
These types of formats not only aren't marketable for you as a content creator, but they're not worth a writer's time. Usually, they include questions like:
"What genre do you write?"
"Are you a plotter or a panster?"
"Do you write full-time?"
These are not interesting questions. Plus, you should have already researched basic details about the author in the first place.
Writers are smart people; they have experience and expertise. You should be able to interview each writer about something specific. Maybe their world-building technique, their plotting maneuvers, or how they were able to become bestsellers. Make each interview specific to the writer so you can get the most out of their experience.
7) Make it worth their while.
There are two ways an interview can be worth an author's time: exposure and plugs.
a) Exposure is something you can offer if you've got a HUGE platform with a huge audience, but plugs are what most interviewers have to offer.
b) A plug is when you promote an author's recent work. This could be a book release, it could be merch, it could be a course they're offering, whatever. Plugging an author is going to be expected, and if you don't plan to do this, they're not going to see this interview as beneficial to them. They are taking time out of their day to drive their audience to you, so the least you can do is plug whatever they're trying to promote.
8) Advance notice
Writers, and especially authors, are busy people. They have to create a whole new world with words apart from that they have tons of work like managing social media and analyzing sales. Sending out a newsletter, binging movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime, eating, bathing and the list goes on and on.
A lot of writers have families, a day job, or they're going to school. If they write full-time, that's an even bigger workload. They are strapped for time. Because of this, you need to give writers advance notice when asking for an interview.
One month at an absolute minimum. If you're giving them weeks or days, I can almost guarantee they will either reject you or ignore you. The more advanced notice you give them, the better.
9) Ease will get you far.
The easier you can make an interview, the better odds you'll have of receiving an enthusiastic, "Yes." This means advance notice, scheduling flexibility, and if you're able to do so, multiple options for the style of the interview.
If you're a blogger, this could mean a phone interview, email interview, video chat, or discord interview. If you have a podcast or YouTube channel, this will limit your options, but you can still make the process easy for the writer.
Handle the technical stuff on your end so all they have to do is show up. If they feel like you've got the hard stuff covered, they will be much more inclined to say, ''Yes''.
10) Show some appreciation.
Whenever someone takes time out of their day to help you out, whether they're a best-seller or brand new to the game, you should show your appreciation. They didn't have to show up, but they did, and that's so humble of them!
This does not mean they get to turn their nose up or be arrogant about it, it's just common decency. Let the person know that you appreciate their time and effort and that you're excited for the content to go live. Remember, just like your time is valuable, the writer that you're interviewing time is valuable, too. Be respectful, be professional, and be an asset to them. It will get you far.
Are you an author and have you ever been interviewed by bloggers what was your experience? Did it help you to gain some exposure or was it boring or a waste of time? What would you as an author recommend for bloggers to interview you, people?
Or are you a blogger who came to this post to find out the right, easy, and effective way to interview authors? What format do you prefer the most?