How to Get an Author Interview

by Gwen

So, your blog is growing and you want to start having some interaction with authors. Congratulations and I bet you are wondering how to go about getting the authors to clamor at your inbox for interviews, right?

You want in on the secret? The big secret? Come over here, I don’t want the person sitting next to you to hear…….You have to ask. It is often that simple.

Now, hold on dear book blogger, you have to ask nicely and tell them a bit about yourself and your blog. Don’t gush, telling them that you would dance naked, just die if they agree, or that you sacrifice animals nightly on the altar where you store their book. Authors, for the most part, like to hear from readers/bloggers. Point out something that you really liked about their book; what touched you. Then tell them about yourself and your blog and ask if they have a few minutes to do an interview. It shouldn’t be a long email, just a few sentences. After all, we want them to be working on their next book, not our novel of an email.

**Big learning note here-It is a good idea if you already have some basic questions in mind before you ask. I can’t tell you how many times I have not been prepared, assuming that they would say no, only to have them say yes, get the questions to me ASAP.

Oh, are you like me? Not so sure what to ask?

Well, what do you want to know that someone hasn’t already asked them? Do your research. Look at their website, FAQs if they have them, bios, other interviews they have done, other books that they have written. You are a cub reporter now. You must do your research.

For the best interview, in my opinion, you MUST be original and flexible. An interview that I read recently at Rose City Reader with Audrey Braun has fast become one of my favorites. It was fun to read and made me feel like I was sharing drinks with friends. Even better for the author, I wanted to go out and buy her books.

A Note on Timelines

Authors, just like us bloggers, have lives and can’t drop everything to respond to you immediately. If they don’t respond right away, give it some time. It isn’t all about you. Also, once they agree and you send them questions, give that some time too. They often have book tours, kids, laundry, writing contracts, etc., and all of those things that take a back seat to answering your insightful questions. I suggest to them that they get back to me within 3-4 weeks. They often come back much sooner, but this allows me some time to schedule it in my editorial calendar and them some breathing room.

Let’s recap before we move on and tell you to stay tuned for the rest on Thursday

  • What interviews? Don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Keep the request simple and succinct.
  • Do your research & be original without being weird or campy.
  • Let the author take their time. Don’t expect it to happen overnight.
  • Remember to leave out the creepy gushiness that you are really feeling. You are a confident semi-pro blogger, not a crazy woman at a rock concert tossing your underwear at them.

Still with me? Let’s chat again on Thursday and don’t forget to check out the other great participants in Armchair BEA!

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28 Comments to “How to Get an Author Interview”

  1. Great advice. I know everytime I send a email out to a author I think, they are not going to respond. Sometimes I think, that then several days later I get a email. Then its like oooooh they answered, what to do, what to say…LOL I will admit I have a hard time coming up with questions that haven’t been done a million times already..ugh.

  2. Great advice. I know everytime I send a email out to a author I think, they are not going to respond. Sometimes I think, that then several days later I get a email. Then its like oooooh they answered, what to do, what to say…LOL I will admit I have a hard time coming up with questions that haven’t been done a million times already..ugh.

  3. That’s a really good post! Thanks for all those tips, I’m going to bookmark this page!

  4. That’s a really good post! Thanks for all those tips, I’m going to bookmark this page!

  5. Wonderful interview tips. DEFINITELY check out the FAQ’s before you ask your questions.

    It’s also fun to have one question that you ask everyone. Sort of a staple “thing” for your blog.

  6. Wonderful interview tips. DEFINITELY check out the FAQ’s before you ask your questions.

    It’s also fun to have one question that you ask everyone. Sort of a staple “thing” for your blog.

  7. Wonderful tips! I now a “confident semi-pro blogger” so I know what to do 🙂
    I think I now have the right attitude to contact an author right after BEA. Looking forward to chatting on Thursday!

  8. Wonderful tips! I now a “confident semi-pro blogger” so I know what to do 🙂
    I think I now have the right attitude to contact an author right after BEA. Looking forward to chatting on Thursday!

  9. Thank you for using my interview as an example! I am flattered. And kind of giddy, because it was my first author interview. I guess those days spent as a college newspaper reporter finally paid off! 🙂

  10. Thank you for using my interview as an example! I am flattered. And kind of giddy, because it was my first author interview. I guess those days spent as a college newspaper reporter finally paid off! 🙂

  11. Hi Gwen, this was a great post. I’ve never done an author interview because I didn’t know what to ask. You’ve given great advice here. Especially the part about not gushing or throwing your underwear at them. That’s what you said, right? Heh heh

    Really, though, maybe, just maybe, I’ll get up the courage.

    Lynne’s Book Reviews

  12. Hi Gwen, this was a great post. I’ve never done an author interview because I didn’t know what to ask. You’ve given great advice here. Especially the part about not gushing or throwing your underwear at them. That’s what you said, right? Heh heh

    Really, though, maybe, just maybe, I’ll get up the courage.

    Lynne’s Book Reviews

  13. Gwen – this is a very concise, logical overview – I enjoyed it very much. I have been toying with an idea for a series devoted to helping book bloggers with the process of author interviews – how to find them, how to get them, how to conduct them and how to present them. I’ve never done any myself – I just know the kinds I do and don’t like to read. How to help bloggers craft original questions is something I’d really like to touch upon – your advice to research and be prepared is key to that. If I get my act together perhaps I’ll put together a set of guests with experience in the matter – maybe even a few authors to get their perspective – to interview & feature. Any thoughts? I’d love to get your insight.

  14. Gwen – this is a very concise, logical overview – I enjoyed it very much. I have been toying with an idea for a series devoted to helping book bloggers with the process of author interviews – how to find them, how to get them, how to conduct them and how to present them. I’ve never done any myself – I just know the kinds I do and don’t like to read. How to help bloggers craft original questions is something I’d really like to touch upon – your advice to research and be prepared is key to that. If I get my act together perhaps I’ll put together a set of guests with experience in the matter – maybe even a few authors to get their perspective – to interview & feature. Any thoughts? I’d love to get your insight.

  15. I enjoyed reading this ‘guide to author interviews’. I love how you’ve broken the whole process down into pieces and adressed the things that many bloggers might have difficulty with. I personally would be too afraid to approach an author, I think. If I did, I know that formulating the right questions would be another thing I’d worry about.

    Once again, very good overview.

  16. I enjoyed reading this ‘guide to author interviews’. I love how you’ve broken the whole process down into pieces and adressed the things that many bloggers might have difficulty with. I personally would be too afraid to approach an author, I think. If I did, I know that formulating the right questions would be another thing I’d worry about.

    Once again, very good overview.

  17. The first time I asked for an author interview I was so nervous.

    Here is my first Armchair BEA post

  18. great post with good tips for those new to obtaining interviews.

  19. great post with good tips for those new to obtaining interviews.

  20. LOL!! I can’t wait to come back on Thursday for more!! 🙂

  21. LOL!! I can’t wait to come back on Thursday for more!! 🙂

  22. Good advice. I’ve contacted a few authors myself in the past, and really they have been more responsive than not.

  23. Good advice. I’ve contacted a few authors myself in the past, and really they have been more responsive than not.

  24. This was great! I especially like the “Rock-star” comment with the panty throwing excerpt, although there is now a very big book blogger I know with that as her slogan (Rebecca from The Book Lady’s Blog). LOL.
    Author interviews can be such great experiences. I’ve found that for me, I just have a signature “There’s A Book” interview where I asked one or two questions that revolve around what my readers know from my site. It works well and if I want to add to it I can.

    Fantastic post! I will definitely be back! Thanks!

  25. This was great! I especially like the “Rock-star” comment with the panty throwing excerpt, although there is now a very big book blogger I know with that as her slogan (Rebecca from The Book Lady’s Blog). LOL.
    Author interviews can be such great experiences. I’ve found that for me, I just have a signature “There’s A Book” interview where I asked one or two questions that revolve around what my readers know from my site. It works well and if I want to add to it I can.

    Fantastic post! I will definitely be back! Thanks!

  26. The first time I asked for an author interview I was so nervous.

    Here is my first Armchair BEA post

  27. I was terrified when I asked the first time. I think that I wrote and rewrote the email for an hour. Luckily, the author was very receptive, it worked out well and she and I still chat back and forth via email.

    You just have to remind yourself that you have something to offer too. You are helping them market their book. Approach lesser known authors, respond to tweets thanking you for your review, you never know when a great chance to put your foot in the water will come along. Go for it!

  28. I was terrified when I asked the first time. I think that I wrote and rewrote the email for an hour. Luckily, the author was very receptive, it worked out well and she and I still chat back and forth via email.

    You just have to remind yourself that you have something to offer too. You are helping them market their book. Approach lesser known authors, respond to tweets thanking you for your review, you never know when a great chance to put your foot in the water will come along. Go for it!

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