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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Author Interviews: Why We HATE Them by @DianthaJones




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Author Interviews: 
Why We HATE Them



BORING. OUR. READERS. TO. DEATH.

Almost every book blogger is guilty of this, including myself and the Masquerade Crew.

Author interviews are a necessary evil. But more times than not, they’re just evil. Interviews are supposed to give us insight into our favorite authors and help us get to know them better. Too bad by the second interview question all you really want to do is click away. Not only are most interviews boring as hell, but they are generic and ask the same questions as all the other interviews you’ve read. This tragedy must end.

I will admit, custom interviews can be difficult to do, especially when you are not familiar with the author or haven’t read any of their books. But when you have read the books, the interview can be spectacular. The best interview I ever did was with Deb Nam-Krane who is a huge fan of my Oracle of Delphi Series. She read the book first and then asked some of the most awesome questions I’ve ever been asked. They were crazy insightful and so fun to answer. To this day, it’s the best interview I’ve ever done, hands down.

I’ve come up with a few ideas as to how to combat boring interviews and breathe life into them again!


For Book Bloggers…

Trash your generic interview.
You know what I’m talking about. That interview template you have saved to your computer that all you have to do is attach to an email and send to your next victim. Those are the absolute worst. Customize each interview and make it count for each author. Your readers, and the authors, will love you for it.

Ask questions that don’t pertain to books and writing.
Some of the best questions I’ve asked are ones that have nothing to do with books. The crazier the question, the better. I’ve asked authors (and bloggers in Blogger Banter) about being pirates, keeping unicorns as pets, and how they would send their kids to Narnia if they didn’t have a wardrobe. Not only does the author have fun with the question, but the readers enjoy it as well. This is also something you can do when you aren’t familiar with the author’s work. Win, win.

Familiarize yourself with the author.
Stop being so lazy. If you don’t have time to read the book, at least visit the author’s freaking website before sending your interview questions. That’s the least you could do. I would also suggest visiting their Facebook pages, but most of all, Goodreads and Amazon. I would take the time to read some of the reviews of the author’s books. This could create several new questions for you to ask. There are some really great and insightful reviews out there. Referencing those (mostly positive) reviews and questioning the author about some of the concepts discussed is a great way to customize your interview.

Even the cat is bored.
Don’t ask more than 10 questions.
There are exceptions, of course, but in my opinion, readers stop caring after about question number five. So I wouldn’t push my luck by asking more than ten. Now I’ve read longer interviews that were fantastic. Eden Baylee, one of my favorite Erotica authors, does a lengthy interview exchange on her website that I really enjoy reading. Though somewhat generic, she has a “lightning round” section where she asks some pretty cool questions, like ‘what are your favorite curse words’ and ‘what is your guilty pleasure’. The questions change from time to time, and I can appreciate that.

Respond to the answers.
Something else that Eden does that I really like, is she responds to the answers the authors give. This is something I started doing in the author interviews I do at DJ’s Book Corner and also right here on the Crew site with Blogger Banter. It personalizes the interview and makes it feel interactive for both the authors and the readers. Another great interview that I read that did this was with Deb Nam-Krane on Kay’s Novel Nook. I loved that interview.


For the Authors…

K.I.S.S –Keep It Short, Sweetheart
Authors write books so that means we are long-winded creatures. We could talk all day and all night about our writing. And that’s where it all goes wrong. Something I’ve always tried to do as an author is keep it short and to the point. Honestly, an author should not write more than six sentences to answer any one question. I’ve seen entire thesis statements written out when all the interviewer asked was what kind of music do you listen to while writing. Seriously, people. Just answer the question and move on.

When given a chance to pick your interview questions, pick the FUN ones!
Again, I know we like to talk about our books until we’re blue in the face, but when given the chance, I like to pick the crazy questions that reveal things about me as a person. In most interviews, there will be links to your website and to your books where the reader can find out more. They don’t need you to tell them about it. Your job in the interview is to ENTERTAIN and ENTICE. That’s just the truth of it. Reading your essay about all your future releases and current works would put anybody into a coma. They want to know about YOU too, not just your books.

Give non-boring as hell answers
Speaking of entertaining, authors could do a better job of answering the questions we are asked. I try to insert humor whenever I can, even when the question may be serious. It keeps the interview light and from taking itself too seriously. I’m not saying you have to become some kind of jokester, but hell, nobody wants to hear you drone on like some college professor either. Lighten up!

These are just my opinions and are in no way all-inclusive. There are several other ways we can revive the dying art of the author interview, including video interviews, which I think we will see a rise in over the next few years.

What do you all think about author interviews?

Written by DeeJay

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