One year of blogging and looking into the rear-view mirror.
Some weeks ago I began this post series about what blogging brought in my life.
Twelve months after I can definitely that I am a changed person.
So far I spoke about using Photoshop (Post HERE) and connecting with other people (post HERE)
Today I would like to speak about something that I never thought would be allowed or possible some twelve months ago: interviewing my beloved authors.
I will also explain how I contact them and how I build my interviews if you’d like to dabble in this business.
When I was “only” a reader and reviewer authors seemed unattainable creatures. The kind you rever follow and admire from afar. Aside questions via Goodreads I did not speak with most of them except some authors that I beta read for or did some editing.
Yes I am a beta reader for a few authors that began talking with me through Facebook.
I was too intimidated to contact other authors and frankly I did not think they would spare some time to answer questions from a small fish like me.
This is until I became friend with Ramona at Ramona Reads With Love . Ramona is the wizard of interviews. To my utter astonishment I discovered several interviews on her blog. What? Authors answer even for small fish?
It was a revelation!
You have to know that I’ve always been fascinated by the process of creating story and publishing said story.
What makes someone decide to write and publish? Is it hard? How do you find your ideas? How do you make your characters come to life? How….
I decided to be bold! I will interview authors!
Now baby step here. Who would I interview first? I began with an author that I talked with on Facebook: Leigh Shen (LJ Shen).
I put my big girl panties on and sent her a private message. She answered immediately! It was like Christmas and my Birthday rolled into one! I was so giddy I think my scream frightened my dog.
What would I ask her? Where to find ideas?
I didn’t want to have a “seen a hundred time” kind of interview. I also never cheat in my reviews reading other reviews before writing mine as I want authenticity. Everything I write is 100% me. Don’t get me wrong I get ideas for posts while visiting other blogs but I want to have a distinctive signature.
As I’ve been following Leigh from the beginning it was not too difficult to come up with relevant questions.
Now after sending my questions I was all “What have I done? Will she like it? Is it too common? Naïve?”
She was sweet and answered everything.
It was the start of a series of interviews with authors that I love. I also did two characters interviews and two collaborative interviews with Ramona.
Today I have around 17 interviews published and two more to come in the coming weeks.
I never tire of asking questions and reading answers! My latest interview was about Stuart Reardon and Jane Harvey-Berrick. I had a blast asking some sassy questions and then laughed out loud reading some of their answers. You can find it HERE.
Now if you are interested in interviewing authors here are my tips to be the next Oprah Winfrey (kidding… barely 😉):
–Choose authors you know really well. Authors you die to ask questions. Nothing would sound more fake than interviewing someone you don’t usually follow and admire.
–Contact them on their favorite social media but please avoid Twitter except if you can send them a private message! Nothing would be ruder than putting pressure on their shoulders by calling them for everyone to see. They have a right to refuse without being seen as the bad guy.
–Some will never reply. It happened twice. One author I was not offended the author I had a hard time not being disappointed as this author claimed that she “loved chatting and speaking with her readers”. I was all “don’t say you love reader’s feedback and conversation if you don’t plan to answer them”.
–Some will turn you down and that’s totally all right. Know that authors with a publishing house are usually really hard to interview as you have to go through their PR etc. Indie authors are much more “reachable”. I posted an article about Indie Author vs Traditionally Published if you are interested. You can find it HERE. Authors don’t HAVE to answer your questions. They do you a favor never forget this!
–Once they agreed to answer your questions you have to find what to ask them. I would say follow your instinct. What are you dying to know about this author? If you had to read his/her interview what would you want to know and learn?
I usually have three main parts in my interviews: first part to get to know them better as a person, second part to speak about their writing process and books. The third part is to have some fun and random questions about them.
–I also always research the author even if I know him/her well. I conduct a “background check” to avoid repeating questions that would have been asked a thousand times or to avoid any embarrassing questions. I want to know my facts juts like a journalist. I don’t want to look ignorant. That’s why interviewing Stuart Reardon was a challenge. I knew and followed Jane Harvey Berrick but I never followed Stuart. Not when he was a rugby player, not since he is a cover model and fitness coach either. So I dug and dug… to come up with good questions.
-Depending on the author’s “style” and the relationship I have with him/her my tone will be formal or sassy and fun. You are best placed to know how to formulate your questions.
–Last tip: go back to the author with the links to your post. They can share with their followers if they want. It’s never mandatory as they are in the driving seat.
And of course always thank them as they invest time and give you a beautiful gift.
Pfew that’s it for today’s blogging bolder.
I hope I did not bore you to death.
Know that if you want personal advices or would like your first interview or any interview to be a collaborative one I’m always ready to help.
Thanks for reading!!! And happy Saturday!
PS Now I have to follow my feed and comment on all your lovely blogs as I’ve been buried in my blogging cave for days preparing posts.
Get it girl! Happy 1 year! You are an amazing blogger and you do so well with the interviews! <3
Thank you so much Adrienne!!
This is so helpful for an interview junkie like me! I’m still waiting patiently for the right time to start an author interview series on my blog and am glad this one gave me enough pointers 😀 And of course, what can be better than coming across an author who genuinely loves talking to their readers because that’s a dream come true for every bookworm <3
Thank you Fanna! I’m glad I can help. If you have any questions when the time comes please send them my way
These are wonderful tips. I’ve never interviewed an author and thinking about it, I’m not sure I would be able to overcome my own nerves. There is also the matter of coming up with enough original questions, but your post has me rethinking this. Great post!
Thank you so much Alicia! Dare please what would be the worst to happen? I’ll hold your hand 😉
I’m going to disagree slightly on the “choose authors you know really well” point. I’ve done a crap-ton of interviews, and sometimes knew basically nothing about the author when I agreed to do it. However, I consistently get told that we do original, in-depth, ‘non-cookie cutter’ interviews.
(Side note here: I get asked to do interviews much more often then I ask to do interviews. And I think that’s a key difference. I also a lot of movie-oriented interviews. (Directors, actresses, writers, etc.)
I think the key is to be willing to do your research. With about 30 minutes of reading, referencing, researching, you can come up with some unique questions that are very specific to the writer even if you know nothing going in.
Hi Lilyn! So happy someone (slightly) disagree! I love a good conversation with someone having another POV. Yes you are right you can do research of course! That’s what I did for Stuart Reardon because as much as I knew Jane I had no idea who Stuart really was. So your comment is of course valid. But I think it’s easier or I would say that to begin with your interview you would feel more comfortable with authors you know. Thank you for this different insight!
Great tips Sophie! I ask for guest posts normally so this Ismaili something I’d love to do more…. I feel like I learn a lot reading their books so questions to ask stump me! I’ll need to look at some of your interviews and get an idea of how it all works question wise! ♥️
Thank you Dani! I hope you’ll get inspiration 😉
Great tips! I love interviewing authors (one of my favorite things to do on the blog), and I think your advice will definitely help those who want to start doing more interviews find the courage to do so. I’m actually planning on making a double discussion on making interviews and reaching out to authors soon, and actually many of your tips aligned with some of mine! I really love your interview style (I’m more professional in mine) and I agree that research and dealing with rejection are two of the most important things in the interview process.
Thank you Kester! And yes I am sassy in my questions but I know these authors will accept and even like it. If I had to interview let’s say Ken Follet I would adapt my tone and be much more formal. I will look after your post as I’m curious what you’ll advise bloggers 😉 If you ever want to have a collaborative post I would be happy to work with you. Have a great day!
You’re welcome! And yes, it’s so great to see a variety of interview styles in the blogosphere! It’s what makes interviews fun for the readers, authors, and bloggers! And definitely! I’m doing a collaboration with Avalinah regarding those two posts I mentioned, but I’d be happy to team up with you in a discussion in the future! Let me know if you have any ideas, and I’ll see if I could do it. 😉
I will certainly do it! 😉
Thank you so much Erica! <3
Being a beta reader is such a special thing 🙂 but it’s also not easy work!
I agree that starting to wrap your head around that AN AUTHOR would want to talk to YOU is so daunting at first 😀 but then in a year… It just becomes all so normal 🙂
I agree with you Evelina but we should always be amazed when they accept. I want to keep my “newbie eyes” and stay amazed LOL
AWESOME..thanks so much! I’ve been thinking about doing this but its kinda intimidating!
I was in your shoes Trisy but most authors are super friendly! Just try it. And if you have any question please just ask me I’ll be really happy to help you!
LOVEEE these tips!! I’ve only interviewed two authors in my blogging “career” but I’ve been thinking about doing more. But I don’t know a lot of authors and the ones I do know, they haven’t written anything new in years. 🙁
Well that’s the hard part indeed! Select someone you really want to interview Danielle. I would say even if it’s an author who hasn’t read anything new why not if you are curious about his writing. Do it for YOU 😉
Great tips Sophie!
Thank you Susan!