As an author, I have been asked several times to be interviewed regarding the topic of my book. Successful interviews can make or break your popularity in a particular town or city. Who wants to have a bad interview? I don’t, and neither should you. The better you interview, the better response to your work and sales. Here are 3 vital steps that I have found most helpful to have a successful interview:
1. Have your book in front of you! You probably have moved on to write another best-seller when you learned that your book was finally being published. Once your book is actually published and calls for interviews start pouring in due to your intensive marketing campaign, your book is no longer fresh in your mind. Take time to read your book again and make sure to have it in front of you for the interview. This way, if anything comes up that you don’t remember, you can ask for a page of reference from the interviewer and quickly flip over to refresh your memory. It is the interviewers job to point out likes and dislikes, so be prepared and have your book readily available. They are not going to wait for you to go find a copy while you are on the air and, if you need to locate and dust it off, you will appear unprofessional and uncaring.
2. Don’t take things personal! Too many times, authors become very defensive of their master creation, which is understandable. I know what it feels like to have your wisdom and creation challenged. However, when being interviewed, the interviewer(s) and listeners will tell you what they don’t understand or what they would argue. They will ask you questions that challenge your thinking and often make you sound as if you didn’t do a good enough job. Whatever you do, don’t take it personal. The best defensive is a well, thought-out, response that allows you to support why you wrote what you wrote. This is another good reason to review your book prior to being interviewed and remember what caused you to write it in the first place. Readers will not always see things the way that you do, so when dislikes or challenges are pointed out, it is your time to educate them on your view which may persuade them in the other direction by helping them understand.
3. Be Personable! The last thing that audiences need is another author who struggles to connect with the host and the readers, those who may go out and buy your book after the show. Keep in mind, audiences love to support those that they feel a connection with. The more personable you appear to be on-air, the easier it is for audiences to like you and want to support your work. Remember, if they like your book, they will want to see future works by you. The best way to do this is to act like you care about helping them understand. Call the host by their name(s) and have some fun during the interview. Demonstrate that you appreciate dislikes/challenges being pointed out. Admit when you could have written something better but explain why you wrote it the way that you did. No author writes to perfection. Even the greatest writers are not liked by all. At the end of the show, make sure to thank everyone, the host(s) and the listeners for tuning in. Be human, act human, be read by humans.
These are 3 simple steps that any author should be able to do without much effort. It is important to remember that part of your preparation for the interview should consist of putting your ego away. The friendlier the better. Make sure to get your point across in the nicest way possible. Know your own work and know it well. Have your book available for quick reference. I have talked with several authors who forgot to have their book with them, thinking they would easily remember everything about the book they wrote (ego) and they didn’t. It was an embarrassment to them as their stupidity shined through. After the show, email the host and thank them again for having you on. Hosts love to bring authors back if they bonded with them on-air and gave a great show!
Jaymes Ian Woode