I started interviewing authors not long after I decided to blog about writing. At first most of the authors I interviewed came from MuseItUp Publishing, at the time a brand new Canadian ebook publisher. These days I work with authors from numerous small presses, mostly Musa Publishing, and interview the occasional self published author.
Why I originally started interviewing authors
I’ll be honest: when I started interviewing authors, my intentions weren’t exactly noble. I was struggling with severe depression, and creating my own content week after week became exhausting. An entire article would feel impossible, but a handful of questions sent out to an interesting author? That felt easy most of the time.
Back then I participated in the Muse Online Writers Conference every year and I was part of the related Yahoo group. The Yahoo group gave me pretty much unlimited access to authors of many different experience levels, and I even interviewed a couple class instructors from the conference.
Author interviews were both simple and valuable. When I started out I hadn’t published anything, so my experiences were of limited usefulness to readers. Bringing published authors from all walks of life on board added an enormous amount of value to my blog, and often also brought that author’s audience to my blog.
Why I continued interviewing authors
As I’ve built the foundation for a successful career in publishing I’ve also discovered several new reasons to interview authors every week.
Here are a handful of reasons why I plan to interview authors as long as I continue blogging, and why maybe you should too:
1. Each author is unique
— Have you ever read two books with identical stories and characters? No? Well no two authors are exactly the same either. Even authors whose works are clearly derivatives of other books have always added their own twist.
Authors tend to be interesting people, with widely varied careers and interests. I’ve hosted authors who took 20+ years to get their first book published and others who were published before they hit 20 years old. I think showing this variety is crucial, because it’s important for all of us to remember that no two journeys are the same. This knowledge helps us stay out of the comparison trap and focus on our own work.
2. I’ve learned more than I thought possible
— Even though the vast majority of authors I’ve hosted have been small press or self published authors, I’ve learned interesting things from all of them. The authors I’ve hosted have taught me about running a successful Kickstarter, what working with an editor is like, and what it’s like to co-write a novel–with your mother.
So far, it’s been a fascinating journey, and I know I’ve only scratched the surface. Every writer has many stories to tell beyond the ones they’re paid to publish. Stories of their journey to publication, stories of their lives, stories of things they’ve learned or overheard throughout the years. I’ll never have time to interview them all, but I can interview the ones who interest me most, one author at a time.
3. Authors are fantastic people
— Some of the authors I’ve interviewed have gone on to become my strongest supporters. A handful have even hung around so long I feel like I can confidently call them friends. They’ve helped build my confidence and the community here on The Dabbler, and I’m grateful for their support. Nothing is more encouraging than knowing you have a small fleet of published authors interested in seeing your book when it’s finally published.
Oh, wait, maybe there is: knowing you already have several authors who will be willing to host you on their blogs when you have a big release day coming up.
4. Book promotion is a constant struggle to get noticed
— If you’ve been reading a lot of articles about writing novels lately, you’ve probably noticed a common theme: the vast majority of novelists don’t make much money from their writing. There are already hundreds of thousands of books and more are being published all the time.
The sheer number of authors makes it difficult for anyone to get noticed in the crowd. Small press and self published authors in particular struggle, always hunting for places willing to host them and people willing to help them spread the word about their release.
I believe in the power of karma. Sooner or later–no matter how long it takes, because I’m stubborn like that–I’m going to have one of my own novels published. When my release day is looming, I’ll be the one frantically looking for places and people willing to host me. And guess what? People I have an established relationship with via an interview are more likely to host me.
Besides, I love spreading the word about great books and helping other writers build their success.
The moral of the story
Whether you’ve already started blogging or you’re thinking about starting a blog, author interviews are a feature you should definitely consider. You’ll learn a lot, make some great friends, and maybe even get to interview a couple of your personal heroes(I have).