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Write and publish with love and fury.

Why your interviews don’t work and how to fix the problem

See on Scoop.itWriting and reading fiction

A fun yet uncomfortable author interview: The Questions with Robert Chazz Chute: Writer on dSavannah Rambles

Robert Chazz Chute‘s insight:

Most author interviews don’t get read. If they are read, they are lightly scanned. Too often, the same questions are asked and worse, the same answers squeak out to an audience that does not care. There are people who care about where you get your ideas or how you started writing. Those people are your mom (maybe) and the fans who are already into your books. No conversions for you!

Regular Interviews Don’t Create New Readers

Regular interviews bore old readers. They convert no one. Some author interviews make me wish they’d preserved the mystery and shut up. Mostly, I just delete, ignore and move on to see if the Internet has any playful cat videos (like you). Author interviews as they are generally practiced are lousy promotional tools. If you’re going to bother with an arduoous guest blog tour for your book, break the old paradigm.

The Solution is Umbilical Lint

Writers should avoid cliches, so enough about (slurp) how much coffee we drink. Tell us about the Hunter S Thompson acid trip you took in Juarez at spring break. Tell us about your hilarious colonoscopy (I did on the All That Chazz podcast). Share news. News is new. Be entertaining and don’t go for the standard questions and useless answers.

This week, in my post “Author Armand Rosamilia Hates Canada” we got a lot of hits, retweets and comments. People had a good time with Armand’s fun answers to my silly questions about his secret life as a belly button lint sculptor. We made people laugh and intrigued them. Getting read, whether it’s in your books or for your book tour, starts with getting people interested. Don’t lead with “How long have you been writing?” Who cares? Those sorts of questions are for authors who are already on the NYT bestseller list. (And even them, yech.)

Don’t be Afraid to be Bizarre…or Honest

In my latest interview with dSavannah (at the link below) I give honest answers and some of them are funny but uncomfortable. Some answers involve time travel to save my childhood and career. I give an honest answer that involves my mother’s death. (I didn’t kill her. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) Be honest, informative, helpful, make jokes and use more imagination. You do that when you’re writing your books. Do that when you talk about your work, too. Just don’t be so earnest! To sell art, be more artful.

If You Want Nice Fans with a Sense of Humor, Be One of Them

Another example? Listen in to my giggly interview with cool Jessica McHugh at CoolPeoplePodcast.com. You might hate me but you’ll fall in love with her and you’ll want to check out her books. Our books are extensions of our personalities. Have one. That gives a reader hope they’ll like your books.

Read Armand Rosmilia’s audacious Fatty Arbuckle reference in his post here. Armand looks like a death metal biker dude, acts like a teddy bear and is a fun guy. We got such great feedback on “Author Armand Rosamilia Hates Canada”, he told me that in his next interview he plans to bomb Alaska. I think that’s something we can all get behind.

Entertainment is the first step to engagement. Are you not entertained?

If not, the author interview failed.

See on dsavannah.com

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Filed under: author platform, author Q&A, authors, My fiction, publishing, , , , , , ,

18 Responses

  1. dSavannah says:

    HEY! Thanks for including a link to my site and your interview! When creating The Questions, I wanted them to be different… and, quite honestly, something I would *want* to read. After all, I have to spend time coding them and promoting them. And reading them, for that matter.

    I’m glad you enjoyed rambling along with me.

    P.S. Thanks to this article, I’m now going to add a question about “Belly Button Lint”. 🙂

    • Chazz says:

      Glad, to. Thanks for asking interesting questions so I could play. Sometimes I hear authors say we should act “professional”. I think they mean us to look more like the establishment. I am a professional. I’m a professional brain tickler and Internet word clown. Ooh! My next business card!

      • dSavannah says:

        Ooooh! I like your new titles!

        “Professional” for a creative being is faaar different than “professional” for a non-creative (i.e. establishment) being. Here’s to clowning and tickling!

  2. Karen Soutar says:

    Great post – made me think and had given me some ideas for future interviews!

  3. Karen Soutar says:

    *has* given me – stupid autocorrect!

  4. Reblogged this on Armand Rosamilia and commented:
    Robert Chazz Chute and Boring Interviews

  5. cocomias says:

    I absolutely agree, sometimes author interviews are so boring it makes me rethink buying their books. If you can’t entertain me with a short interview, even if it’s just with snarky answers, how are you going to keep my interest throughout a book!
    I’ve added Armand’s books to my Audible to-do list because of your interview with him : )
    nice work!

  6. I couldn’t agree more … most author interviews are bland and banal. But I think it has as much to do with uninspired questions from the host as with boring answers from the interviewee. I prefer guest blogs to interviewees, as they allow to explore new ideas and travel down new avenues.

  7. […] Why your interviews don’t work and how to fix the problem (chazzwrites.com) […]

  8. […] Why your interviews don’t work and how to fix the problem (chazzwrites.com) […]

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