“Remember, you are not the focus of the interview. Your only job is to make the interviewee look like a hero.“ —Carlos Cooper
My guest today is Amy L. Sullivan, author of When More Is Not Enough. Amy graciously agreed to share steps to conduct out-of-the-ordinary interviews, whether for blog posts, audios, or videos. Her book is for “families who are ready to move beyond seeing generosity as a series of tasks and instead, turn it into a way of life.”
Author interviews are a great way to highlight authors and establish connections. Follow these easy steps to look like an interviewing pro.
Prepare. Walk into the interview knowing something about the author: where they live, the name of the last book they wrote, a funny post they recently shared. Preparing ahead of time allows you to connect with the author immediately.
Pay attention to time zones. Make certain you confirm time zones. I learned this when I thought an author was in the Eastern time zone, but she was in the Pacific, and I agreed to a 9:00 pm interview.
Set a clear expectation regarding time. Let your interviewee know upfront exactly how much time the interview will take and then, stick to the time period given.
Ask a variety of interesting questions and have more questions than you will need. I promise you every single person who interviews an author asks, “Where did you get the idea for your book?”
Be different. Come up with unique and well-thought-out questions and always have more questions then you need.
Along the same lines, if you are emailing questions to an author, don’t overload them with twenty questions. Send the author between five and eight questions and allow them to choose the questions they would like to answer.
In this interview with Jessie Benkert six questions was the perfect amount for my readers to get to know her.
Be fun. Forget ho-hum. Think of a way to add something unique to the interview.
In an interview I did last summer with Jeff Goins I asked Jeff to play the game Instant Answer.
This is how I found out he preferred U2 over Michael Jackson, chess over checkers, Downton Abby over Scrubs, and flying over driving. Interesting, right?
Ask the author ahead of time if there is anything specific he or she would like you to share with your readers. The author may want you to run a book trailer or include specific social media links. Ask and then follow through.
Make some noise. Once your interview is printed, yell about it on social media.
Be gracious. I know you know this, but drop the author an email thanking them for their time. It’s just nice.
Do you have any tips you can add to the list? Do you have a favorite author interview you have conducted? Leave the link in the comment section.
Be fun. Forget ho-hum. Make some noise. Conduct an author interview like a pro. Click to tweet.
Bio: Amy L. Sullivan is author of When More is Not Enough (Amazon link). Amy also writes for oodles of print and online publications and loves speaking with groups of any size. Connect with her online at AmyLSullivan.com