If you’re an indie author like me, you love listening to other authors talk about their books and writing process… but when it’s your turn to share your thoughts about the fictional universe that you know EVERYTHING about; you get nervous.
Nevertheless, your dream is to one go on blog tours, book signings, and have interviewers ask you those deep and hard-hitting questions you’ve watched your writing idols answer.
How do you do that if you’re extremely shy and introverted (like me)?
I’ve outlined seven tips that will help you get through your author interview without too much anxiety.
1) Write yourself a script/outline (even when you don’t know the questions)
You can always count on the host to ask you to introduce yourself and having a few points of reference will make you more comfortable and ease you into fluid, natural sounding conversation.
I hate talking about myself, and I get uncomfortable listing my accomplishments. It sounds too much like bragging. So I like to plan out what I’m going to say ahead of time.
- Come up with a tag line to describe your writing
- Write a more conversational version of your professional bio
- Narrow down in two or three sentences what you want your writing to accomplish (really pinpoint what you’re giving to your readers)
- One or two fun facts your audience might like to know about you
Remember to keep it short and sweet. This is just your introduction.
2) Have a motivational picture in the background
When I found this piece of advice, I was skeptical. I’m not one for affirmations or gratitude lists. But this really works. I printed out a graphic of “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” (Suzy Kassem) and every time I felt myself panicking I looked at it.
Having a sentence or two that grounds you in your purpose, or a confidence booster, in big letters that you can tape to the wall behind your camera goes a long way.
3) Emotional support cat
Pets can be unpredictable but I look at that as part of the genuine, unscripted experience.
As long as my cat isn’t showing his butt hole to the camera or trying to push something off of my desk, having him next to me while I’m talking about my book definitely helps keep my blood pressure low.
4) Get there early
As I write this, all the interviews and events I’ve been to were virtual, but this applies to in-person events as well. If your interviewer says they’re going to be on Zoom or Stream Yard fifteen minutes early, get there fifteen minutes early. Don’t wait until the last minute to show up. Getting to your interview early gives you time to ease into talking to your interviewer, which is really great for meeting someone for the first time. You don’t want to start an interview cold.
Also, getting there early gives you time to prepare, ask questions, and tell your interviewer about any announcements you have ahead of time.
5) Wear headphones
This applies more to virtual events.
Headphones cut the background noise down and feedback. Having headphones with a built-in microphone helps, and they don’t have to be expensive. Just have them.
6) Have all your technical issues and background set up ahead of time.
Another one that applies to virtual events.
Test out your lighting and internet connection before the interview is recorded or goes live. If you’re using bluetooth devices, make sure the connection is working before you start the interview. This might seem like common sense but I’ve been in situations before where I’ve *meant* to check something and forgot.
Sometimes technical issues can’t be helped, like if there’s atmospheric interference. So, don’t worry about what’s beyond your control.
7) Do your research
If you’re doing an event or interview that is part of a series or a regularly broadcasted video chat or podcast, listen/watch previous episodes. (Do this before querying to be a guest too.) You get a feel for how the interviewer runs things and you’re not coming into a stiff conversation.
I like to check out my interviewer’s website beforehand or read one of their books just so I have a good idea of what their writing is about. I know all of our TBR piles are enormous but doing a little background research can help with making a professional connection.
And use the mistakes you think you made to make your next interview better. One of my goals is to research how to set up better lighting so I don’t look like I’m broadcasting from a cave.
Have tips of your own? Please share them in the comments.