There’s a knack to giving a good interview—and if you’re a self-published writer with a book to promote, chances are you’ll find yourself on the “Answer” side of a Q&A. Remember: The better your interview, the better your chances of scoring more interviews! Self-Publishing Relief lets you in on the essential strategies you’ll need to give a great author interview when promoting your self-published book!
The Written Q&A: If Your Author Interview Will Be Published Online Or In Print
Keep replies short. Although readers will sit down to consume your full-length book with all the focus of savoring a large meal, Web readers prefer to snack on short sentences and short paragraphs. They’ll skip over some interview questions and linger on others. Keep them on the hook with short, light-handed replies.
Write like a writer. A written interview lets you shine—after all, you’re a writer! But if you use lackluster language to answer the questions, readers may assume your book is as dull as your written interview. Plus, online readers are barraged with distracting advertisements and web-surfing opportunities while they’re trying to read your replies. Keep readers focused on your interview with your humor, your insight, and your best writing.
Share links. When possible, include links that offer easy access to “buy now” pages, social media profiles, and freebies (like these cheap digital goodies ) that forge author-reader connections.
Don’t eschew self-promotion. Too much humility isn’t helpful when you’re giving an interview. Your host wants to help the audience learn more about you—so your job is to openly share your enthusiasm for your writing. Skip bashfulness and celebrate your good fortune at being able to write what you love.
Be gracious; say thank you. Gratitude and sincere kindness always win hearts (and followers). It pays to be a nice writer!
The Audio Q&A: If Your Author Interview Will Be Spoken (Recorded And Broadcast)
Speak slowly and clearly. Though you might order your morning espresso with the verbal speed of an auctioneer, slow down for spoken interviews. A good rule of thumb is to speak slightly slower than you would normally. Recordings aren’t always broadcast (or heard) with perfect sound clarity, so good diction helps ensure that you’ll be understood.
Avoid verbal fillers. Pauses are natural in conversation. Without occasional pauses and thoughtful “hmmm” sounds, you could sound overly scripted and stilted. However, too many “ums” in the middle of your sentences can become annoying— and don’t fill silences with the dreaded “like,” or you’ll sound like a thirteen-year-old.
Talk in sound bites. Long, droning speeches are frowned upon in written dialogue, and the same rule applies for spoken interviews. Keep replies short and pithy.
Invite listeners to connect with you directly. Close your interview by directing readers to follow you on Facebook or to download a digital freebie on your website. Make sure that your URLs are easy to remember, since listeners may not be in a position to pause and jot the information down.
The Visual Q&A: If Your Author Interview Will Be Televised Or Streamed Online
Know what looks good on you. Ask your interviewer or segment producer for wardrobe recommendations—if they don’t offer any, stick to TV standards: Solid colors, conservative tailoring that hides lumps and bumps, and professional makeup tend to show up well on screen.
Bring your game face. A smiling face is an interesting, watchable face. Keep your expressions animated, lively, and authentic to engage viewers.
Don’t think about the camera (or look at it). Most interviewers will ask that you don’t look directly at the camera when chatting—so just pretend it isn’t there. Instead, focus on talking to your host and not to the audience.
An Important Element Of Any Interview: Your Headshot
Your interview may last a few minutes—but your author headshot is forever. It will appear on blog posts, advertisements, social media profiles, and more. A great writer portrait is like a Q&A with the camera as your interviewer. It captures your personality, insinuates the tone and style of your writing, and suggests approachability. Click here for our best tips for DIY author portraits.
Question: How do you keep from getting nervous during an interview?