10 Reasons Why You Should Interview Your Fellow Fiction Authors

by | May 20, 2015

By Jason Kong

You’ve seen plenty of author interviews on the internet. You should really consider doing one yourself.

Not as the subject answering questions, but as the person asking them.

Identify an author who writes for an audience similar to yours, and request for some of her time. Come up with a list of interesting questions about her storytelling. Record the exchange. Publish the conversation online.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re busy with a ton of things you need to do. Why should you bother playing Barbara Walters or David Letterman?

Glad you asked. Here are ten benefits for interviewing your fellow authors:

  1. You get free marketing

    In most cases, the interviewee will be as motivated to promote the end product as you are. And any traffic initiated from her end will arrive to your site, if that’s where the final interview is published. Best of all, this is attention garnered from a source of trust — the subject of the interview they’re coming to see.

  2. You get to make your audience happy

    It’s not easy to keep your readership engaged when you’re between book releases. One way is to introduce a compelling author, and an interview provides a means to do that. But as writer S.J. Pajonas notes, asking the right questions is key: “My audience is either scifi readers or romance readers (or the intersection of both) so I try to ask questions of the other author that will appeal to those readers.”

  3. You get more content for your platform

    Whether you have a blog, email list, or any form of social media, you’re always on the lookout for the next thing to share. Author Joanna Penn includes an interview every month in her JFPenn newsletter, which also acts as a book recommendation.

  4. You get a nice change of pace

    As a writer, most of your work is done in isolation. Publishing a interview with a fellow author introduces some variety, not only for you in producing it, but for your audience in consuming it.

  5. You get a break from hard writing

    Coming up with material from scratch can be difficult. But transcribing a conversation and editing for clarity? Not nearly as taxing. Enjoy your breather while you can!

  6. You get to communicate in a different medium if you choose

    We’re seeing more podcasting and video these days, and depending on your situation they’re good options for you too. Interviews present well in both those formats, and you aren’t under the pressure of talking non-stop for the entire recording.

  7. You get to satisfy your curiosity

    An interview is the perfect time to ask those burning questions that you never could. What do you want to know that your readers also want to know? Here’s your chance to find out.

  8. You may get interviewed in return

    This is far from a guarantee, but if your interviewee has an overall positive experience you may get the opportunity to reverse roles. And through reciprocation, both of you benefit again.

  9. You get to feel good

    It feels good to know most people see the value of being interviewed, and will agree to your invitation. It feels good to help someone out by drawing attention to her work. And it feels good to realize you can help yourself by putting the spotlight on someone else.

  10. You get to network in a way that doesn’t feel like networking

    I’ve talked before how peer collaboration can lead to increased marketing leverage. But I totally get the reluctance writers have in approaching other writers simply as a means to an end. Interviewing a fellow writer provides a excuse to connect, a short-term partnership with low downside and high upside. The engagement may lead to a future project together, or just as meaningful, a deeper relationship.

Over to you

Have you ever interviewed a fellow author and shared that exchanged online? Please share your experience in the comments.

Jason KongJason Kong is a Contributing Writer for The Book Designer. He also runs Storyrally, an email-based subscription that helps fiction writers with their online marketing.

You can learn more about Jason here.

 
Photo: bigstockphoto.com

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17 Comments

  1. vlsion

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article. Thanks for
    providing this info.

    Reply
  2. Lorraine Reguly

    Hi! I’m a fiction author, and I would love to be interviewed!

    Any takers?

    Email me!

    lorrainemariereguly (at) gmail.com

    Reply
  3. S. J. Pajonas

    The article turned out great! Thanks for including me in the research :)

    Reply
    • Jason Kong

      Thanks again for contributing! :)

      Reply
  4. Linda Austin

    Yes! I recommend this for all blogging authors, although I say stick to your genre because you want to attract your special audience of readers. Like Maria, I think this is good for nonfiction writers, too. I do this for cultural or historical memoirs, sometimes cultural/historical fiction. Even if I haven’t had a chance to read a book and may never get to it, I can always just post the interview without my own review comments. Great way to attract readers of your genre and help out other authors. The other author should be publicizing, too, so you both get double the attention. And great networking opportunities!

    Reply
  5. Sabra

    Great post and so true! I love reading author interviews. I have been thinking of doing this for my site on a weekly basis. I think it is especially good when you can think of unique questions they may not usually get asked, or find a way to put a new spin on the interview format.

    Reply
    • Jason Kong

      Sabra, I agree: coming up with unique questions keeps it interesting for everyone, including the author being interviewed!

      I hope you do give it a try.

      Reply
  6. Anne R. Allen

    Essential advice for indie writers. Everything is about collaboration these days. Nothing better than doing a favor for a fellow author. The goodwill can come back 10 fold.

    Reply
    • Jason Kong

      Anne: I do think the idea of goodwill is key. Like blogging, you don’t know precisely what opportunities will arise, just that they often will.

      Reply
    • Jason Kong

      May: Looks like Maria blogs here. Her social media accounts can be found there as well.

      Reply
  7. MayGerry Kawaala

    This is good to know always how far we have come from.It give someone courage to believe in yourself and know that you can always start from some where,and through all the journey you can become a different person.I have felt like you’re right person I need for now to review my first book.I’m now on editing,thanks

    Reply
  8. Frances Caballo

    I love this post, Jason. We should always consider other writers as colleagues and help each other to succeed. I see a lot of writers doing this on Twitter … promoting each others’ books. I encourage my clients to do the same thing.

    Reply
    • Jason Kong

      Absolutely, Frances. I think viewing other authors as potential collaborators rather than competitors is a very valid approach.

      Reply
  9. Maria Karamitsos

    Great post! This is true for non-fiction writers too. Over the last decade, I served as associate editor & senior writer for a small ethnic newspaper (not defunct). During that time, I developed a reputation as a book reviewer. As a wife, mom, and writer with a full plate, this was a great way for me to get back to reading, and make sure I did it. After reading a book for review, I always interview the author. In this capacity, I have been fortunate to discover new authors, and rediscover some I’ve previously enjoyed. This has been a tremendous opportunity to engage with them and learn from them. And wow, have I learned! I’ve interviewed fiction writers, non-fiction writers, newspaper and magazine writers, cookbook authors, — seasoned and rookies — the full gamut, in all genres. One such interview led to a mentoring relationship, that’s still strong 6 years later. This author encouraged me to do more with my writing, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve learned that both seasoned writers and newbies face similar challenges, and we all spend time silencing our inner critic. I learned that even multi-published, multi-award-winning authors have a “bad novel” in the drawer, which they say was crucial to getting them where they are; they couldn’t get to the “good stuff” without it. In many cases, these interviews have resulted in an ongoing relationship. I helped them to promote their work, I am near the top of the list to review subsequent titles (sometimes before others!), and we actively endorse and promote each other on social media. One author was so thrilled and grateful for my review of her book, that she has invited me to meet this summer when I’m in Greece, where she will prepare a special dinner! ;-) My readers always told me that my reviews and interviews not only introduced them to new authors, but created excitement for the books, and they purchased based on my recommendations. Author interviews are as exciting for me as the interviewee, and the benefits are mutual. This is one of my favorite parts of my work!

    Reply
    • Jason Kong

      How awesome, Maria! Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Reply

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