Monday, September 27, 2010

Too Many Interviews, Not Enough Time?

You're published. Now what? You market, of course. And marketing means interviews. As in requests for interviews.


Sweet because it marks the culmination of all your hard work to get published. Sweet because you can share your excitement and encouragement to others who aren’t quite as far down the path. But after the first few, they can become yet another thing to juggle as you work on edits for your contracted manuscript and write toward the deadline for your newest novel. Add in family and friends, social engagements and soccer practice, and you’ve got a problem. A big problem. So it’s easy to feel justified in serving up pat answers to the questions you’ve been asked to answer.

Don’t do it.

Interviews are important. They are a way to connect to your intended audience and gain new readers. To the question, “How long did it take for you to get published?” go ahead and answer, “Six years.” I dare you. Six years.

How profound. How inspiring. How. . .absolutely dull.

After reading the first question of an interview submitted for posting here at Novel Journey, I can tell whether the author has really put their heart into the answers or if the interview was approached as a necessary evil. Really good interviews will reward the time and effort you put forth in answering the questions. People will recognize the passion and feeling with which you craft responses. It will make them more curious about you as a writer and about your books.

Here are some suggestions to make your interview more memorable.

Target your audience.

Put personality into your answers.

Use a conversational tone.

Good questions = good interviews. If a question doesn’t intrigue you skip to the next one. (Like the time someone asked me if I were an inanimate object, what would I be--huh?)

Check your spelling and punctuation. Nothing screams, “I’m an amateur” like poor grammar skills, and it is not the interviewers job to edit.

Just as in your writing, use strong verbs, colorful similes and metaphors.

If the problem is time, pace yourself. Choose the toughest question and answer it the first day. Edit that answer the next day, then answer another question and repeat the process until the interview is finished. Procrastination is your worst enemy. When you’ve completed all the questions, shoot them to your critique group and ask them to let you know if anything falls flat, doesn’t make sense, or needs to be expanded upon.

You want people to click with you on that first question and stay with you through the entire interview. By then, hopefully, you’ll have won over a new fan. Or two. Or ten.

S. Dionne Moore is a multipublished author. In addition to interviewing debut and established authors for Novel Journey, she also teaches over at The Borrowed Book (blogspot). For more info visit her at


Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Very helpful post with great suggestions for preparing an interview. Thank you. I've read many warm and personal interviews here that kept me connected to the last words.

S. Dionne Moore said...

Thanks for stopping in, Pat, and for the positives on NJ's interviews!

C.J. Darlington said...

Great advice! Thank you for sharing.

Michelle said...

This is so true! I pick a lot of the new books I buy from reading interviews on this blog, and if an author has uninteresting answers in the interview I have no interest in reading their book.