While print interviews are the easiest (writer-posted questions, giving you time to think of your answers), readers want to see and hear an author they have read, or may want to read. It’s best, then, to practice your interview skills so you are prepared for a variety of questions. And before your local television or radio station calls you, the best thing you can do is film your own video as part of your media-marketing package.
Here’s what has worked for me:
1. Write out a list of questions. Keep the first 2-3 questions focused on the book; ask about characters and themes and intent. Try not to give a plot report; the question can do that. Have 1-2 questions introduce YOU to the audience, where they can learn what makes you tick, what makes you happy.
2. Have a friend who speaks well (a fellow writer, perhaps) conduct the interview. The interviewer should hold to 4 to 6 questions; interviews should be held to 5-6 minutes, the average interview we’ve all come to expect while watching tv or listening to the radio.
3. Rehears the interview with the camera set up, but NOT turned on. Get used to the camera staring at you while you practice your answers. This lets you change your answers, make mistakes, improve on your delivery, and be ready for the unanticipated question.
4. Press the “film” button and see how well you’ve prepared. Scary, isn’t it? And the outcome is different than what you practiced. This is okay. It’s all part of the learning process.
5. After three or four takes, you’ll have found your voice, your interviewer will be able to ask the questions clearly, and you’ll have figured out what to do with your hands. Isn’t this fun?
6. Relax now, and make a last take. This is the one where you remember everything you’ve said for each question, and are able to speak fluidly and authoritatively about your work.
7. Upload your interview to your website, Facebook page, YouTube, etc.
8. Ask friends to comment on the interview. Let the public comment as they wish. It’s all part of the process. If you have a thick skin for writerly criticism, you should fair well in front of the camera, too!
Here’s the result of a recent interview of me conducted by Siren & Muse Publishing for my novel, The Village Wit: