How to Interview Writers

Michelle Ule

Blogger: Michelle Ule

Sitting in for Wendy who is recovering from visiting Jane Austenland.

How do you interview writers?

Or, why would you interview a writer?

If you’ve been a blogger for any length of time (6 years for me, 8 if you include Books and Such), you may find a need to “fill the hopper,” with blog posts.how to interview writers, Jill Eilleen Smith, Tessa Afshar, Lori Benton, interview questions, why interview authors? authors, blog posts, latayne scott

Why not interview a writer?

Who?

I’ve interviewed writer friends on several occasions because after reading one of their books, I realized they had expertise in a subject area that interested me.

Check out posts I wrote about Lori Benton, Jill Eileen Smith, Latayne Scott and Tessa Afshar, to see the how and why.

What?

I asked them to comment about their subject areas.

Writers are full of interesting ideas and have lots to say about ideas they’ve spent years researching.

Four questions produced enough for several blog posts!

When?

how to interview writers, Jill Eilleen Smith, Tessa Afshar, Lori Benton, interview questions, why interview authors? authors, blog posts, latayne scottI sent my questions long before I planned to write the posts–and I told the writers that.

They did NOT need another deadline.

(Indeed, I’m still waiting to hear back from another writer I wrote months ago . . . hmmm, must follow up . . .).

Once I got their answers, I wrote the blog post.

They were doing me a favor in answering.

I’m thankful.

Where?

If I don’t personally know a writer, I used the contact form on their website to send them a message.

I also included links to their website and a picture of their most recent book in the post itself.

No one expected that, but it only was fair to include the information so others could benefit from their expertise.

Why?

Writers are interesting people who have thought long and hard about subjects most of us don’t think much about.

In many areas, they’re wiser than I am, why not ask them to explain things?

Inviting intelligent writers to my blog makes my blog post stronger.

As an added benefit, the social media opportunities allows them to appear to my audiences and me to their audiences, too.how to interview writers, Jill Eilleen Smith, Tessa Afshar, Lori Benton, interview questions, why interview authors? authors, blog posts, latayne scott

A win-win for both.

How?

While most knew me, I introduced myself and my queries by saying something along the lines of, “I’m writing a blog about __________ and after reading your book ________, I thought you might have interesting insight on this subject.”

Of course they did.

If I’m asking for their time, or anyone else’s, however, I tried to make the questions as simple and straight forward as possible.

This works for people you don’t know as well.

Keep the questions simple:

“What can you tell me about ___________?”

“How did you learn about _________________?”

“Where would you suggest I look for additional information?”

They’re writers. They’ll write back more than one sentence.  🙂

Last things

how to interview writers, Jill Eilleen Smith, Tessa Afshar, Lori Benton, interview questions, why interview authors? authors, blog posts, latayne scottI always let the writers read the post in advance, to ensure I’ve understood what they’ve written and to give them an opportunity to clarify or expand what they originally wrote.

Most journalists would bristle at letting a source read the material, but I’m not writing a blog post to prove a point; I want to ensure accuracy.

No one has ever complained and I’m confident I’ve not made a mistake.

You be your own judge on that!

Tweetables

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