All self-publishing authors should be well-prepared to give interviews. Whether in writing (email/blog interviews), over the phone, or in-person in front of a microphone or camera, the ability to speak articulately about you and your book pays endless dividends. These tips will help.
- Anything you say during an interview can be recorded, so choose your words wisely. Off-color jokes may be entertaining in context, but taken out of context can shed a negative light on your image. Try to ensure nothing you say can be misinterpreted.
- There is no “off the record.” Even if the interviewer or journalist honors that particular disclaimer, things you say “off the record” still paint a particular “picture” for the interviewer, which will reveal itself within the slant of the piece or from other questions when the “record” is turned back on.
- Don’t use acronyms, confusing terminology, or jargon. Your book may be very complex or scientific, but that doesn’t mean you have to be. Demonstrate your intelligence and proficiency in your subject matter by “translating” those confusing terms and concepts so the lay-man can understand it, too. If you absolutely must use a term that few people will understand, be sure to define/describe it.
- Identify three key points you want to convey during the course of the interview. Prioritize them like this: The most important point falls at the end of the interview, the second most important point falls at the start of the interview, and the third most important point falls somewhere in the middle.
- A popular writing adage is “Show, don’t tell.” Show the interviewer (and the subsequent audience) how your book will entertain/educate them through a personal story or analogy. This is much more effective than telling them…
- Write down ten potential interview questions. Make the questions a part of your media kit, your book club kit, your virtual book club kit. Many interviewers may just ask your questions verbatim (less work for them), or may ask a slightly paraphrased version of them. There’s nothing quite as comforting as answering an interview question you wrote yourself.
- Practice, practice, practice. Practice answering those ten questions in front of a mirror. And then practice answering those questions in front of a friend or family member. Try to avoid reading your answers. Have them memorized. As Seneca said: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”