I would like to introduce the Hungry Monster Book Review as this weeks’ special guest. The Hungry Monster devours books and uses the nutrition from consuming literature to post book reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, the Hungry Monster Book Review website and many more. The Hungry Monster has a loyal audience with over 5,000 total followers from both Goodreads and WordPress.
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Engaging Author Interviews
Interviews are great tools to help promote your work and you as a writer. Keeping your answers short, simple and to the point are good when you’re doing an author interview, but it should not diminish your ability to be funny, engaging, entertaining, charming, (insert other positive adjectives). I’ve conducted a lot of author interviews and what I enjoy seeing is a well thought out answer that elicits investigation into you and your book. As a reviewer/interviewer I love it when authors give me great engaging answers because it helps me promote their work and makes for great blog content. But often enough, I get one sentence answers. Take this example question posed to an author:
Q: What made you write a book about vampires in space?
A: Because I always liked space and vampires so I decided to combine the two.
This answer doesn’t exactly make people excited about who you are and what you’ve written. If you think you’re not that exciting or there is nothing special about you, you’re wrong. You wrote a book! That automatically makes you brave and interesting. I once interviewed a person about their book and asked him a question that led to me learning about his aversion to bologna sandwiches and how his father thought it was not a masculine sandwich. Bologna sandwiches are not an exciting topic (depending on which circles you run in), but the interview was funny and engaging and most importantly, made you want to keep reading.
Granted, the interview question should be more stimulating, but as writers in the world of mass media we don’t often get this luxury. Sometimes reviewers will ask stock questions; What inspires you? Why write this book? Why did you start writing? My suggestion, if you don’t have an engaging answer, is to respond quickly and then transition into a topic that allows you to tell a more interesting story about you, your book, someone you know, something you saw, or something you dreamt one time; anything as long as it pulls people in. Look up transition words and phrases if you need help with that. As writers this should be easy if you think of your answer as a story, a story about you, but a story nevertheless.
There have been several articles published that say (I’m paraphrasing here) internet users are notorious skimmers. See this article at the Washington Post. Which is why I say short, simple and to the point is a good way to go, but if you want people to continue reading about you instead of skimming your interview and moving onto the next article then you have to balance brevity with appeal.
So, keep it short, be engaging, and try to connect with people all while answering the interviewer’s question. If it seems hard, then start by not giving answers like the example I gave here. Interviews are great tools to help promote you and your work. You get to be a person now, instead of only being associated with a collection of words people rate usually on a 5 point scale. This is your chance to tell your story and to tell people why what you wrote is meaningful. All while being intriguing, witty, amusing, charismatic, likable, enthusiastic…