Whether you’re appearing on a radio talk show or writing a guest post to promote your book, you need to know how to be interviewed! These tips for authors are from B. Lynn Goodwin, author of You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers.
Before the tips, a quip:
“A boy has to peddle his book.” ~ Truman Capote.
Peddling, marketing, and promotion is part any successful writer or blogger’s life. Here, Goodwin shares the interview skills she learned after becoming a published author. To learn more about her book – which contains encouragement, instructions, and over 200 sentence starts to help you journal any time – You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers.
How to Be Interviewed to Promote Your Book – Tips for Authors
I’ve lost count of the number of authors I’ve interviewed for Writer Advice. I interview by e-mail, which gives authors a chance to edit themselves as they respond. That seems like a win-win.
I love interviewing writers who are warm and gracious. Even more, I grab any opportunity to interview writers whose work I love. I want to know their backgrounds, their process, and their unique experiences. I’m eager to learn how they tell a story so that it leaps off the page and touches me deeply.
Here are twelve concrete tips to improve your interview skills as an aspiring or published book author. If you’re interested in television interview skills, read 7 Tips for Television Interviews for Writers.
1. Let the interviewer’s questions guide the angle of your story. Who is the audience? Where will this be published? Barbara Bentley, the author of A Dance With the Devil, tells a different story to a battered women’s group than she did when she shared her experiences as a memoir writer with Writer Advice.
2. Remember that short, accessible tips are useful for some articles. Other venues want to probe into the heart of a writer’s thoughts and processes. Ask, “Does that answer your question?” if you think the interviewer might want more information.
3. Open up a bit. Share something personal that is not in your book or every other interview.
4. Talk as if you are having a conversation with a neighbor you like.
5. If you are answering in writing, proofread your responses.
6. When asked for tips, share generously.
7. Give specific answers. When I asked Sybil Lockhart, the author of Mother in the Middle, “What advice would you give to people who want to write memoir?” she said, “Write from the heart, include the gory details, and don’t worry that it might have “already been done,” because memoir readers are interested in your unique perspective….” That’s only half her answer, but it’s much more inclusive than, “Read in your genre and write daily.”
8. If the interviewer sets a word limit, respect it. She may have limited space or know how long her audience will stay with an article.
9. If you send double the requested word limit and ask the interviewer to edit what she doesn’t want, you may delay the interview’s publication.
10. If the questions are unclear, ask the interviewer what she means. And f you’re doing a radio interview for the first time, you might find 10 Tips for Doing Radio Interviews for Writers helpful.
11. If she asks you for clarification, be willing to rewrite, expand, or tighten your answer.
12. Enjoy the process. You get free publicity, and the whole process should benefit both of you. Be grateful when the world gives you opportunities to improve your interview skills and promote your book or blog. Say thank you.
For more ways to promote your book, read Free Book Promotion – 6 Ways to Pimp, Plug, Promote Your Book.
Got questions or tips for authors, on how to be interviewed? Comments welcome below…
B. Lynn Goodwin is the owner of Writer Advice and the author of You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers.