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Prepping Your Author for Interviews

Interview season is finally here. Perhaps you’re thinking, “Where do I even begin?!” Don’t worry—Ooligan Press has you covered.

Let’s start with the basics. Start by creating a list of background questions that are most likely to be asked, and work with your author on preparing answers for them. These questions are often formalities to establish your credibility, create rapport with the interviewer, and set the stage for more important questions later. By anticipating these questions and ensuring the author is comfortable answering them, your author will be able to get through these faster and therefore increase the amount of time that can be spent on the more critical questions that follow.

The next step involves promoting your book (and your author). It’s important to plan for the types of opinion and perspective questions the interviewer might ask. Knowing that more difficult questions are coming helps you prepare your author and prepare their responses, which can be used as opportunities to promote your book and your personal brand.

Here are some tips and suggestions to keep in mind when thinking about how to best prep your author for their upcoming interview:

  • Make a list of questions you would ask if you were interviewing yourself or the author.
  • Prepare answers that give the opportunity to reference the book—themes, key selling points, or anything else you want people to take away from or remember after the interview.
  • Don’t try to fully “script” or memorize your responses to the basic questions about education, general interests, employment (or self-employment), history, etc. Instead, prepare a mind map or fact sheet that lists the background questions you’re likely to be asked, along with the key ideas and connections you want to make for the book. Be sure to use a large type size so that you can glance at it during the interview.
  • Avoid full sentences when organizing before the interview. Instead, jot down the main ideas and phrases you want to include in your answers. Sentences encourage your author to read their responses rather than to respond in a confident and enthusiastic tone.
  • Never read your answers! Instead, review your cheat sheet beforehand and have it handy to quickly glance at during the interview. This works especially well when using Zoom or with virtual interviews.
  • Make sure you and your author are on the same page! Set up a meeting before a publicity interview to discuss key selling points and other topics to ensure consistency.

Lastly, it is important to emphasize to your author the importance of how you say something, not just what you say. It isn’t just your message that improves when you anticipate and prepare for your interview. The more you prepare, the more comfortable you’ll be during the interview, and your comfort instantly communicates itself to your interviewer as well as those reading, viewing, or listening. With anticipation and preparation, your responses to the interview questions will not only be on-point and relevant, but your delivery will also communicate your confidence, likability, and enthusiasm for your book. With a little anticipation and preparation, you’ll emerge not only as an expert, but as a likable expert!

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