How To Do an Online Interview

I have a couple of blogs where I promote other authors, and so few authors follow the directions, I’ve become convinced writers have no idea how to read. Or perhaps they believe the directions don’t apply to them? Even so, bloggers cannot post what they do not have. So, for all you authors out there who are promoting your books, if you wish to be a guest on someone else’s blog, please follow the bloggers’ directions. The directions are there for a reason, partly to make it easier for the blogger, but mostly to make the interview or guest post as pleasing and compelling as possible to attract readers for your books.

If bloggers ask for a link to your book cover, please provide one. You have posted your book cover somewhere on the internet, right? So, provide that link. (For example, I have posted all of my book covers on the right sidebar of this blog and on my website, so I could provide either link.) If bloggers are going out of their way to promote you and your book, don’t make it harder by making them search for a photo or a link because generally, they won’t take the time. And, as I said, bloggers cannot post what they do not have.

If the blogger gives you an option where you can choose from a list of questions, please choose questions to which you can give full answers. Responding, “I don’t know” to a question is a waste of your time, the blogger’s time, and the reader’s time. If you don’t know, pick a question to which you do know the answer. Giving monosyllabic responses is just as bad. You’re a writer, right? Supposedly you know how to hook readers. So hook them. Tell them something interesting. Most writers say they have no message in their books, that they just want to entertain, so be entertaining.

Almost as bad as “I don’t know” is saying “It’s difficult to describe.” You’re a writer. Take the time to find the necessary words. And please, do not respond to a question with, “You’ll have to read the book.” There are 130,000,000 published book as of this very moment, so people have plenty of options. They don’t have to read your book. You have to make them want to read your book.

For my Author Questionnaire, I begin with the question, “What is your book about?” It’s the hook, the reason why we are all at the blog — to know about your book. So, please, don’t start your interview with boring questions like, “Is this your first book?” Why would the reader care if it’s your first book if they don’t know what it is about? And please give the title of your book. If you’ve done your job right, people are going to want to learn more about your book, but if you haven’t provided a title, how will readers know what it is?

Proof your interview or guest post. If your interview is full of typos, people will assume that your book is full of typos. If your grammar is sadly lacking, people will assume your book is as ungrammatical. And if your interview is boring, people will assume your book is also boring. So please, spend time on your presentations. It does you no good to carelessly throw together an interview, guest post, or excerpt, and expect readers to instantly fall in love with you and your work.

But most of all, follow the directions. I ask people to submit their interview as a comment reply on the blog, yet every day I get a message from someone asking for my email address so they can send me their interview. Um. No. If I wanted it sent via email, I would have provided the address.

Only about 10% of the people who do interviews for me provide everything I ask, which is why I am writing this blog. It’s a way of getting rid of my frustration and at the same time remind people to FOLLOW DIRECTIONS!

(If I haven’t scared you off, click here to find the directions for my Author Questionnaire.
Click here to find the directions for my Character Questionnaire.
And click here to Let me post your excerpt!)

3 Responses to “How To Do an Online Interview”

  1. joylene Says:

    Great advice, Pat. And not a minute too soon.

  2. Carol Says:

    And then there are those who ‘borrow’ your questions… all of them, no less… to answer for a post on their own blog. ::shaking my head in disbelief:: Writers who can’t (or don’t) follow directions, or who can’t express themselves well, probably won’t get very far with an agent or publisher either.

  3. Juliet Waldron Says:

    O-mazing! And true. It’s astonishing how little what used to be called “comprehension” appears among folks who profess to be “writers.” Some Amazon book “reviewers” make me wonder what book it is they were reading — because they certainly didn’t read the same one I did.


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