Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Author Interviews



Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down is feature on my blog to promote discussion and the sharing of opinions because I’m curious what other readers/bloggers think about the topics relevant to the book/blogging world  Every other week I will give a topic to be discussed. You can give your vote on whether or not it is a thumbs up or a thumbs down for you and then explain why. The topics will cover anything related to reading, blogging, the book industry, etc. etc. Basically whatever is on my mind! This feature is NOT intended to be a place to bash anybody or start a nasty fight or controversy. It is a platform for a mature discussion and sharing of opinions. It is also NOT a feature in order to TELL you how you should blog or act or think. Just a discussion of ideas.

I originally had another topic scheduled today but there was something on my mind recently so I decided to switch topics. Ok, so what I want to talk about today is author interviews on blogs. I did my first author interview with the wonderful Kimberly Derting the other day and I was all excited for it because I felt like I asked some engaging questions and Kimberly gave me something interesting answers… so I thought it would create some fun discussion at least with the last question. Nope, it was like pulling teeth to get anyone to comment on it. I was a little discouraged for it being my very first interview. It took a lot of time and effort and I wonder…is it worth doing them? I want to help the author out any way I am able to if they are genuinely helpful to them. And I realized I’m not alone in this..I’ve heard from multiple people that their interview don’t get much comment-wise and I’ve seen so many people asking for people comment for the author’s sake. All this makes me wonder..why are they so popular? Do people actually like them? Do people actually read them? Why are they not getting comments–does it have to do with the subject matter, the variety of questions, etc.  I’m hoping that this discussion will help answer these questions so that bloggers, like myself, can better gauge why their author interviews might not be generating interest.

So here’s what I want to know: As a blogger, do you like doing author interviews and do you like reading them on other people’s sites? Do your interviews tend to get comments? As a non-blogger, do you enjoy reading author interviews? As an author, do you like participating in them on blogs? Do you find them helpful in promoting your books or are they not worth the time you put into them? 


Rock that vote:

My Opinion: I gave it a thumbs up. I do like author interview BUT if I’m honest..I skip over them a lot. I only really read/comment on ones that feature authors that I’ve read or am really interested in reading at some point and I’ll comment if something in the interview struck a chord with me or made me laugh or anything. I’m already there and reading it..I might as well say something. Sometimes I don’t read them if they are too lengthy or about a topic I don’t really care about. For me, I might not read an interview about tips to being a published author because I don’t have a desire to become one personally. So, for me, I guess it depends on how engaging it is and who the author is.

PAST THUMBS UP, THUMBS DOWN 

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. I don't know how to 'thumb' this one… I like the idea of author interviews, but the reality is never as great for me. I always worry about interviewing authors, because I want new/original questions, and I have no idea how the really ask them. I also don't read a lot of them. I'm like you- I'll read if I love the author or am planning to start their book soon, but usually I'll skim fast and only stop if something really catches my attention.

    I also don't usually comment, partly because I don't know what to say.

  2. Ashley– I had the same fear..so I tried to think of a variety of questions. I keep wondering if maybe my questions weren't "good" or something. But who knows..lol. I might do them here and there for authors I feel strongly about but I don't think I'm going to make it a point to do them. Hopefully I'll develop my "skills" as an interviewer in time!:)

  3. I liked your interview… I first saw it on Twitter, so I clicked, skimmed it, and moved on. Then, you retweeted that no one was commenting, so I came back and read it better and really liked it. But, I'm a horrible awful person and still didn't comment… :/

  4. Haha..nah you aren't horrible. Sometimes it's just so darn hard to say anything more than "Great interview!' lol. I'm in the same boat so don't feel bad! I'm just trying to get into people's heads and see why they are so popular and if people read them and like them!

  5. Jessica (Firefly Book Loft) says:

    I read a lot of author interviews but don't get to comment on a lot. Most of the ones that I read already have people commenting what I wanted to say and I hate being a comment repeater.
    I just did my first author interview and had so much fun. She was such a great author to work with. So I figure, as long as authors are willing to let me pick their brain, I'm going to do interviews. Even if I don't get a lot of comments.

  6. Jennifer (An Abundance of Books) says:

    I enjoyed reading your interview with Derting, and that last questions was great.

    I do like reading author interviews, but rarely comment because I don't feel that I have anything to really say other than "great interview", "very funny", "liked the book". I often find myself wishing that these types of posts had the Facebook "like" button. That way you could see that I read it and liked it – quality comments are my weakness.

  7. Jennifer, I was JUST thinking about wanting a 'like' button! :)

  8. YES!!!!! A like button would be perfect in those situations where you just don't have anything to say or somebody already said it!

    Although..I bet discussions would go down because everyone would be too lazy to comment and just "like" a post! lol

  9. And thanks Jennifer–appreciate it!

  10. The possibility of a blogger getting an interview with an author I would really, really want to read about are pretty slim. I generally skip over them and find they are kind of a waste of time. They often seem like filler to me, even though I know they are a lot of work.

  11. The1stdaughter says:

    I really like reading author interviews, but I think I'm falling into the same category as others. I just don't ever know what to say. If for some reason they touch on something I am interested in, maybe a favorite book from their youth or something I might comment about that, but otherwise…???

    One of the reasons I like reading author interviews is because I feel it gives me a bit of insight into whether or not I'm going to enjoy reading their books. I tend to like authors that are fun, open, honest and generally considerate to the interviewer. That doesn't mean if I read a bland interview I won't read the book, but I might be more likely to read it sooner if it's a good interview. So, in answer to one of your questions, I do think it helps with book publicity.

    My own interviews…I got tired of the same old same old and decided instead, to let my 3/4 year old interview the authors. It's been a blast and most of the authors have really had a fun time answering all the silly questions like, "what's your favorite color crayon?" Fun, which I guess makes sense with what I said earlier about liking certain types of interviews more. Anywho…I'll stop blathering. :o)

  12. I'm on the fence about author interviews. If I absolutely LOVE an author I will of course read the entire interview, and I'll make it a point to comment on the post.

    If it's an author I don't go totally fan girl over, or if it's an author I'm not familiar with, I'll typically skim through it. If I'm not interested in the questions asked then I'll typically navigate away. More often than not, this seems like the case.

    I kind of feel the same way as Ash does about interview posts. Sometimes they *do* seem like a filler. Some sites will post several interviews in a row or several times a week, and sometimes it becomes redundant.

    Lately, I've been seeing the *same* author pop up on a number of sites, and as a reader that can sometimes also be unappealing– to essentially read the same thing one several different sites.

    But, after admitting all of this, I do feel kind of awful. I understand these people are taking time out of their busy schedules to conduct the interview or post it. Considering this, I feel like I should make it a point to be a more active reader when it comes to these interviews.

  13. fatbooks.org says:

    good topic, but like some others have noted, i'm not sure whether i'm for or against author interviews. in theory i love the idea and if, say, i had the opportunity to interview kelly link or nathan englander or another author i love, i would just at it. but i tend to skip over interviews that show up in my reader, because i've never heard of the authors or if i have, i'm not real interested in their work.

    – ellen

  14. I love a GOOD author interview but there are so many that are just blah, they give interviews a bad name.

    The most important thing is DO NOT ask the usual suspect questions! Please no "Where do you get your ideas?", "So, what's this book about?", "Are you like your characters?", etc. Authors get asked these questions ALL the time and they are tired of answering them – and it shows.

    Before doing an interview, do a google search and read as many interviews as you can find (and stand) with the author to get a good feel for their personality and the type of questions they really respond to. And don't ask them Qs they've already answered.

    Don't go to the other extreme either where you ask them some obscure question just for the sake of originality such as "Which would you rather ride on in a parade through your hometown? A pig or a mutant chicken?" Unless of course that question relates to a plot point in their book, and then please do!

  15. Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) says:

    I don't read author interviews when they are on other blogs usually. I have done a couple author interviews myself for my blog and I like doing them as a blogger. For some reason author interviews, when I open my reader, if I don't have a ton of time are the posts I skip over.

    I do love seeing the author/book out there more. If I'm seeing interviews from an author a lot, I know they are nice and personable. Even if I don't read the interview, it still puts the book in my head if I've yet to read it.

    Do people who visit the interview just not comment? Do people maybe read the interview and not know what to say? I know I sometimes may go to the post, but have nothing to say about the interview.

  16. I'm kind of on the fence about this one as well. I have never done an author interview myself – honestly, I wouldn't even know how to get started. Sometimes I read author interviews if I really love the author, but if I haven't heard of them or read their book, then I will usually just skim it or skip it altogether.

  17. Letter4no1 says:

    I like the idea of author interviews. The ones I do read are usually very thoughtful and personal. However I usually just skip over them when I see them on my reader feed. If I haven't heard of, or don't really know an authors work I don't really have incentive to read the post, no matter how much insight or awesomeness it contains.

  18. For me… author interviews on blogs rarely interest me as half the time I don't know who they are. Maybe I should show more interest… hmm not sure.

    I haven't done any author interviews and too shy really to approach any – besides I figure most of the authors I read probably would be too busy to take part. Either that or they're dead.

  19. Ash–I see what you mean. I think they can become "filler like" if you are doing them all the time. I personally don't want a lot of author interviews on my blog..personal preference..but I'm sure other people do. I'm with you though..there are a few favorite authors I'd die to get an interview with. I need to feel strongly about it.

    Thefirstdaughter–That is such a good point about getting a sense of the author from an interview. I love reading an interview and knowing that the author and I would be bff's. lol. And also..I think your interviews are the most creative out there.

    Jackie– That's another interesting thing to bring up. It always seems to be the same authors. I think this is probably due to authors doing blog tours and the blogger gets asked to do an interview as part of it. I like when they do different sorts of things on a blog tour..not just a billion interviews. It gets bogged down and I think people get sick of seeing the line "Interview with Author X"

    Lenore– Good tips! I definitely tried to keep it away from the same bland questions that you could just google but also keep a balance of fun that was semi related to the book. I think it's definitely an art to come up with great author questions and not everyone has that. I guess I'll have to learn whether or not I do if I decide to continue on with author interviews.

  20. April (BooksandWine) says:

    I don't really often read author interviews. Like, Lenore says, it's usually the same tired questions like where do you get your ideas from, etc.

    Plus, idk, I'd rather read a guest post on an interesting subject, like books that author liked growing up, rather than an interview.

    IDK, I read over 100 blogs, so when my google reader is full the first thing I skip are memes, contests, and interviews. I see it as I have to prioritize my time somehow.

  21. I do enjoy reading some author interviews but a lot depends on whether they write the kind of books I'd like to read. Sometimes I skim the answers, sometimes I read them avidly.
    I have done a couple of interviews on my blog and I really enjoyed it and was thrilled when they actually agreed to answer my inane questions! I found it difficult to ask something different that they haven't heard a thousand times before.
    Nobody commented on them at all but, as most people said on here, it's difficult to make a comment on an interview. To be honest, I don't think I've ever commented on one myself, probably because I just didn't know what to say.
    So, I think, overall, a thumbs up from me!

  22. April– That's a good point. As bloggers we have a lot on our plate with just blogging..can't read everything. Those are typically the same things that I skip over as well. This is why I just don't know if they are worth doing..for me that is. I want my content to feel like it's adding to my blog in some way and I'm just not sure that, for me, it is. And I agree..guest posts are WAY more interesting. It seems like a lot of authors won't do them though because it's more work.

  23. Midnyte Reader says:

    If it's an author I love I'll read it. Sometimes, I admit I skim the questions and just read the ones I'm interested in. I know people skip author interviews a lot so on my blog I try to make them short.

  24. I went thumbs down because I am only interested in reading really fun ones with not the same question asked over and over again. I think the blog interviews are too serious and long. So long.

  25. I like to read author interviews that ask questions about their book or books and the writing process. Their characters, their ideas, how they got published, etc. I don't care what their favorite M&M color is — I don't really read those kinds of interviews. I'm getting up the nerve, and have emailed a couple of interviews to authors, but haven't heard anything yet, so hopefully I'll be having my first interview soon!

  26. I love doing author interviews. It's an honor to get to talk to them a little and see how they respond to my questions. That said, it takes some work to write good questions and ask things that you hope people will want to know. But it's worth it! I comment on them most of the time; I enjoy reading them as well.

  27. Cat the Librarian says:

    I've never done an author interview on my blog, so I don't know anything about that part. But I find that as a reader, I REALLY like them if I am familiar with the author, but pretty much skim or skip if I'm not. An author interview isn't likely to get me to pick up the book, personally. I care more about the book than the author's personality… Great topic!

  28. I've done two interviews (and a 3rd's coming up soonish) and I like doing them well enough, but I kind of have anxiety about them. I always worry that my questions aren't good enough, unique enough, insightful enough or interesting enough!

    I like to read them on others' blogs if it's an author I'm interested in, or if the blogger asks interesting questions. I don't mind quirky questions (because I am somewhat quirky myself) and heck, authors are people too, why shouldn't we know some of THEIR quirks?

    Anyway… Thumb status: Wavery 3/4 Up. ;)

  29. Inara Scott says:

    As an author, I can say that I'm always thrilled to be asked to do an interview. I still can't believe that anyone knows who I am! Still, interviews are very hard. You absolutely want to connect with readers and promote your book, but you're often asked the same questions, or version of the same questions — which is not to say that they aren't good questions, they just happen to be very similar to ones you've already answered! It can take me 2 hours to respond to a bunch of questions, particularly if I'm trying to write something new for each question, and you can imagine how difficult it is to find those 2 hours when I'm also trying to write, work, travel, etc.

    My perfect interview would be 1) short — maybe 3 or 4 questions; 2) pertinent to the book — heaven would be someone who'd read the book asking something about the theme, choices I made, or thoughts about the characters; and 3) unique but not totally random — I love answering questions that get into who I am as a person or as a writer, but don't force me to try too hard to be cute and funny. I'd love to just be myself.

    I also like being interactive on blogs — I appreciate it when people ask questions in comments and give me a chance to respond personally. I know many authors don't respond or comment back, and they're probably much busier than I am ;-) but I do like to chat with readers. So another fabulous thing is when the interviewer ends the interview with a question for readers — gives them an opportunity to answer back, or ask more questions.

    I appreciate all of the thoughtful comments on the blog so far — and great idea for a topic, Jamie!

  30. leahclifford says:

    From the author side of things, I can tell you that personally, it takes me a long time to do interviews (I also have like, no attention span, which might have something to do with it ;) ). I really try to come up with a good and thoughtful answer to each question and it gets challenging when the same questions come in. I love questions I haven't been asked before, or anything that proves you know a bit about me. For instance, it says in my bio that I worked as a caver, and I love answering questions about that…anything that makes me more of a person than a name on a book cover, yanno? I get bummed when I check out a site and see every interview has the same questions. It makes me feel like I was just the next name on a list. To me, interviews are my chance to show you a bit of my personality, a chance for you to decide if you like my voice and if my writing style would be something you want to read. It's hard to get that across if I'm only asked my favorite color.

  31. I'm kind of in between on this one. I like reading author interviews when it's for one of my favorite authors and when they're interesting (that might kind of be a "duh" thing to say). Unfortunately, I find that most author interviews are not particularly interesting, because the questions aren't interesting–they're always the same. So while the first interview I read with a particular author may be interesting, the rest of them usually aren't, because I've found that most interviewers ask the same questions, not just of one author, but of all authors. I've never done an author interview on my blog, but I imagine I would have an extremely hard time with it, just because coming up with interesting, unique questions that aren't asked all the time would be hard to do. I get tired of all the questions like, "Why'd you start writing," "How did you know you wanted to be a writer," "What were you like in high school," "Who's your favorite character in your book," "What's your favorite book/band/movie/TV show/whatever," etc. I would read more interviews if they weren't all essentially the same.

  32. Two Readers Reviews says:

    I really enjoy reading them. I especially like them if it's an author that I like or a book that I am really interested in reading.

  33. Rebecca Rasmussen says:

    As an author, I enjoy doing them, especially when the questions are a little bit off beat. I just did one on a site that asked where I was when I found out I got a book deal and what I was doing. That was so fun to recall that moment :) I give a thumbs up, but I do understand everyone's caution :)

  34. robertparry says:

    I enjoy them, but they are best when the blogger has read the book first. Otherwise the questions can be a bit predictable – and the replies likewise.

  35. Tahleen says:

    Honestly, unless it's someone whose book I've read and really liked or someone I've had some sort of contact with, I'll just skip over it. If I haven't read the book or heard of the author, I won't understand where the author or the interviewer is coming from.

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