Interviews come in lots of flavors these days. Traditional print, radio and TV are still around, but you might also find yourself on an Internet
radio show, or being interviewed by Skype, or part of a teleconference. Some book bloggers like to ask questions over the phone; others prefer to email their questions.
No matter the medium, your core messages should remain intact. You must be able to explain your book, why you wrote it, and the big takeaways in a few short, engaging sentences.
At the same time, you should tailor your answers to suit your audience. While some crowds are most interested in plot, others want to know more about your writing process. When do you write? What do you do when you feel blocked?
A few tips to help you get organized:
– Interview the interviewer. Ask who reads the blog, watches on TV or listens to the show.
– Mine the comments. Most blogs and shows welcome comments. See which interviews drew the most interaction for clues about what interests the audience.
– Try for a second date. That is, your goal is a long-term relationship, so don’t treat the interview as a one-night stand. Make sure to talk about what’s on their mind as well as your top interests.
– Anticipate and be proactive. Especially when it comes to bloggers, be ready with materials they’re likely to want, like: photos, a well-written bio, links to trailers and social media pages, and press releases.
There’s more. Always be courteous and prompt. Watch your tone and body language. Don’t be dismissive. Learn to pivot. If you get a negative question, use a phrase like, That’s interesting, but what’s really important to me is … and get back to something you’d rather discuss. Don’t forget that you’re speaking through the interviewer to reach your real audience.
Last, always be positive and enthusiastic. You’ve probably talked about your book a thousand times. It may be getting hard to sound excited. You may even be getting bored with yourself. If that comes through in an interview, you’re sunk. Stay focused. Stay up. The cliché is true; the next interviewer hasn’t met you before, and you won’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
What else have you learned on the interview trail?
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