by Sherrie Wilkolaski

A marketing tool all authors need to utilize to market and promote their books is the author interview.  It’s quite simple to create and the investment of 30 minutes or less will go a long way to produce a tool that can be used time and again, both on and offline.  If you’re interested in treating yourself to one of the most valuable 30 minute book marketing exercises…please read on.

What is an author interview?

An author interview is a series of questions and answers that is prepared by the author.  Questions are typically pulled together by the book publicist and coordinated with the overall goals of the author’s marketing and PR campaign. The questions are developed and put into a Word document and then the author types (writes) out their answers.  That final interview Q&A is then ready to be used and re-purposed in a variety of ways.

What kinds of questions should an author be asking themselves?

Authors should be asking basic questions (see list of examples below) about how the book came to life as well as questions that provide a deeper insight and teasers about their new book release.  Once the book basics have been covered, then the questions can get more personal and the author can talk about everything from their writing style and what books are on their own bedside table.  This is an opportunity for authors to share more about who they are. Authors should have fun with their questions and answers.  Asking questions about things outside of writing, like favorite foods, or types of music make for an interesting interview.

Note:  Questions for fiction and non-fiction authors will be different.

7 Tips to capitalize on an author interview:

  1. Use the author interview on their website.  Authors can use their online Q&A and publish it in their “about the author” section of their site.  It is more than just an author bio.
  2. Incorporate the Q&A into the book media kit.  Every successful author media kit has prepared questions and answers for the media to use.  An author’s book publicist will use the author’s media kit to pitch the author to the media for interviews, both on and offline.  Radio interviewers will always require this of every author before putting them on the air, why not be ready for the invitation.
  3. Online author interview is ready for instant guest blog appearances.  There are thousands of book sites looking for online author interviews.  Once the Q&A has been pulled together, it can be submitted along with the author’s bio and book summary to any website looking for this type of content.  Makes for quick and easy book marketing.
  4. Elevator-pitch preparation.  Amazingly, authors learn a lot about themselves doing this exercise and it helps to prepare them their elevator pitch and for any typical questions they are likely to encounter while marketing their title.
  5. Book signings and events.  Bookstores and other venues that may be interested in considering an author for a signing will see how professional an author is because they have their Q&A pulled together.
  6. Social media.  Authors can use their online author interviews to promote their books in an interesting way.  Send out a Tweet to your online interview, post random questions to your Facebook fan page or pin it.  So many possibilities!
  7. Get creative!  There are so many ways for an author to use their author interview to present themselves to their audience and the media, think outside of the box.

Embrace the author interview. 

The author interview opens so many doors for authors and is a marketing cheat sheet that will be used more than an author could ever anticipate.  It will showcase the author as a professional while creating interest from readers looking or an insider’s peak at what the author is all about.

If you’re looking for an example of how authors are using their own Q&A, check out www.salemwitchtrilogy.com.  The author’s Q&A is included in their online media kit, as well as on the individual “about the author” pages, for co-authors, Jack Heath and John Thompson.

affiliate_program_generic1

Author interview questions you may want to consider using for your own Q&A, here are just a few:

Tell us a little bit about yourself. (Short author bio)

Can you tell us where people can find you? Website, social media, blog, etc.

Fiction:

Here’s your chance to market your book.  Describe it.  And why readers should pick it up?

How did your book come to life?

Who is you favorite character in your book and why?

How did you name your characters?

Are the characters in your books based on people you know?

Why do you think your readers are going to enjoy your book?

Are your characters’ experiences taken from someone you know, or events in your own life?

Non-fiction:

Here’s your chance to market your book.  Describe it.  And why readers should pick it up?

How did your book come to life?

What other books are most similar to yours?

Why do you think your readers are going to enjoy your book?

How long did it take you to write your book?

Who designed the cover?

What are you doing to market the book?  Are you using social media?

In two sentences or less can you tell readers something unique about your book.

Don’t forget personalize your questions and answers so that they best position your book.  If you’re looking for a customized author interview and need help with building your personal media kit, please email services@authorsboutique.com.

Best of luck!

Sherrie Wilkolaski is a public relations and book marketing expert for independent authors and traditional publishers. Her unique balance of real-world experience as a best-selling author and her insider knowledge into the mechanics of the publishing process has allowed her to help thousands of authors successfully translate their creations into published works of art. A former Director of Publishing Services at Lulu and Director of radio show, “The Publishing Insiders.” Currently, she is a columnist for Press Pass and a variety of other publishing sites. She is a consultant and publishing services broker for a variety of small to mid-sized publishers, including Infinity Publishing. In December 2011, she launched a traditional publishing house, with modern-day twist, Pressque Publishing with partner Ellie Maas Davis. She is the author of best-selling book, “How to Start a Wedding Planning Business” and the “Cookies and Cocktails” series.  She has several books coming out in the new year and will also be launching her radio program, PubSmart.  IFWTWA board member and treasurer.  www.authorpublishingservices.com

Image courtesy of Loretta Humble.

 

Sherrie Wilkolaski

About Sherrie Wilkolaski

As the founder and president of Author’s Boutique and PubSmart Sherrie Wilkolaski is a Renaissance woman of the publishing industry. She brings to the writer’s table an effective fusion of marketing proficiency, best-selling accolades and a background in journalism. Her international public speaking credentials and social media savvy provide independent authors and traditional publishers a multifaceted strategy to achieving success. Sherrie’s specialized insight into the mechanics of the publishing process resulted in the formation of her distinctive boutique publishing house style, which bridges a client’s status from aspiring writer to published author. As a best-selling author, Sherrie has first-hand knowledge of the creative writing experience and the challenges involved in printing, packaging, marketing, and selling books. She has effectively harnessed the benefits of social media and site promotion to maximize an independent author’s circulation and public readership. In 2011, Sherrie co-founded traditional publishing house Pressque Publishing and is a consultant and publishing services broker for a number of small to mid-sized publishers and printers, including HP, and Infinity Publishing. She is columnist for Press Pass, Publisher and Editor of Luxe Beat Magazine and a featured blogger on a variety of industry publications. She is the former Director of Publishing Services at Lulu. Sherrie’s new radio program, PubSmart, is launching later this year. Sherrie sits on the board of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association and was a featured speaker at the 2013 Annual Conference in Hawaii presenting, “The Power of a Book”: How to Use a Book to Enhance Your Career/Credibility as a Journalist”. A global conference speaker, she addressed members of the HP Dscoop Graphic Arts Asia Conference in Beijing, China in 2013. Sherrie is the author of best-selling book, “How to Start a Wedding Planning Business” and the popular coffee table book series, “Cookies and Cocktails”. Her much-anticipated book “How to Bulletproof Your Book” is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2013. Sherrie is a broadcast journalism alumnus of SUNY College at Buffalo and is a 2012 graduate of the Yale Publishing Course.