Welcome back to The Ultimate Guide to Book Blogging! If you’ve never been here before you can catch up on previous posts in the series here.
Interviews are a great way for authors to communicate directly with readers and promote their books, plus they’re a great opportunity for you to connect with authors one-on-one and add amazing content to your blog. Here’s how to conduct a great author interview in four easy steps.
1. Read (or Research) the Book
If you’re interviewing an author about a specific book, it’s usually a good idea to read it before you conduct the interview, especially if it’s a novel. If you don’t have time to read the book beforehand, read everything you can about it online or in the publisher’s press release. I’ve conducted author interviews without reading the book beforehand in the past, but I prefer to if possible because it helps me ask better questions.
2. Write a List of Questions
You can make the interview any length you want, but generally speaking I think 7-10 questions is a good guideline. I like to ask at least 2-3 in-depth questions specifically about book. I keep a list of interview questions in a file on my computer and populate the rest of the interview with more generic items from that list. Sometimes press releases have suggested interview questions that may be useful for brainstorming. Generally speaking, my author interviews tend to have a more serious tone than my Featured Book Blogger interviews. You’ll develop your own interview style as you go along.
30 Interview Questions for Authors
- Who are some of your favorite authors?
- Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?
- What are some great books you’ve read recently?
- What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime?
- What sort of research did you do to write this book?
- What are you working on now? Any chance of a sequel?
- What started you on the path to writing for a living?
- How did you break into the publishing world?
- What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?
- How did you come up with the idea for your book?
- What does a typical workday look like for you?
- What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?
- As a new author, what is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? Least favorite? (For debut authors.)
- How do you deal with writer’s block?
- What does your writing space look like? (You might want to ask for a photo.)
- Why do you write? What keeps you motivated during creative slumps?
- If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?
- Do you outline books ahead of time or are you more of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?
- What do you do in your free time when you aren’t writing?
- Do you put yourself in your books/characters at all?
- What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
- Out of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?
- What are your top three favorite books of all time?
- Can you recommend any new or upcoming authors to us?
- Is there anything about the writing life that you think is misunderstood by the public?
- If someone is brand new to your work, what book do you think they should start with?
- What was your job before you started writing full time?
- What were some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication?
- How did you come up with the title of your book?
- Are there any nuggets of wisdom you can impart to aspiring writers?
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3. Contact the Author or Publicist
You can go one of two ways when asking for an interview: You can contact the author directly or you can go through the publicist. I’ve contacted authors directly for most of the interviews I’ve done, but which approach you choose depends in large part on how successful (read: busy) the author in question is. If you’re dealing with a debut or smalltime author, a direct approach can help you form an instant connection and more personal relationship that may come in handy in the future. If you’re dealing with an author who has a prominent profile and does hundreds of interviews for books tours, you’re probably better off going through a publicist.
4. Conduct the Interview
There are multiple ways to conduct an author interview. If you’re a BookTuber, you may want to record a live Skype interview. If you host a podcast, an audio interview is a great idea too. The third option is to do a standard text interview. All this involves is sending your questions to the author in the body of an email or Word document. Make sure that you ask for a headshot of the author to include with the interview and clearly differentiate between your voice and the authors. The easiest way to do this is make your questions bold and/or italicize the author’s answers.
For more inspiration, check out my author interview archives and have fun!
Questions? Leave them in the comments below!
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Book Blogging for more tips and tricks on how to become a book blogging wiz!