Thursday, 23 January 2014

To Interview Authors or Not To Interview Authors...

Should I keep interviewing authors is the question I'm still asking myself.  I've been doing a two pronged interview format, posting them online and putting up displays at the World's Biggest Bookstore.  But with the bookstore closing, there goes the practical - I'm physically selling copies of the books - aspect of my interviews.  My interviews are also based more on the 'get to know the author' rather than 'here are specifics about the book', making them more appropriate for browsers at the store, since I figured that not everyone who might be interested in reading about authors reads SFF.

So now my quandary is, should I keep interviewing authors on my blog?  My initial response was no. There are much more popular blogs, and interviews require a lot of time of authors, time that would be better spent writing books.

Then I talked to an author at the store who mentioned that interviews are easier for authors to respond to than writing up guest posts.  And guest posts require them to come up with a topic and make it interesting and polish it up - like writing an essay. Whereas an interview is a conversation, and faster to complete.

The other consideration is, if I do keep interviewing authors, should I change my questions and format? Should I keep the focus on the writing life or make things more about the new book they're promoting?

So I ask you, my readers, do you like author interviews?  Do you read them and enjoy learning more about the authors?  If I keep doing interviews, what kinds of questions would you like to see me ask?

And authors, do you agree with the comments above, that interviews are easier for you and worth doing for promotion?  And what kinds of questions do you like answering?


Alexandre Maki said...

If I've never heard about the author before, then I usually like to know a little about the book (premise, genre, age range). But I don't need detailed information about the work in question, just why I would want to read it.

If I'm a fan or have heard about the author before, then it would be nice if the interview told me how this new book is different or similar to his/her previous work and, once again, why I would want to read it.

Questions about writing can go either way. Some interviewers choose generic questions like "Are you an outliner or a pantser?" that don't really benefit anyone involved. On the other hand, questions about theme, inspiration and the like can be quite insightful. But unless your blog or the particular interview is clearly focused on writing and go really deep into the subject or into specific steps of the process, I don't think writers or readers will get much out of it.

I've checked out some of your interviews and they're really great! You make the authors tell us more about the book (and why we would want to read it, thank you) and your questions about writing are relevant. You've been doing a great job.

But the questions you should ask yourself are:
- Is it worth it for you to keep doing interviews? (Are you having fun? Do you have the time and energy to keep doing it?)
- What do you get out of them? (More visitors? The satisfaction of exposing readers to authors they didn't know before?)

Please, keep in mind that these are just my personal opinions. So, feel free to disagree or to ignore whatever I say.

But I hope this helps in some way.

Jessica Strider said...

Wow, Alexandre, thank you. :) Great comments, with some good points for me to think about.