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:
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.