Follow Their Rules
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
I’ve been fortunate enough to interview a lot of authors. Hundreds, in fact. Some were fabulous and I wished I could have crawled through my computer monitor and hugged them. And some? Meh. The problem is the ones that were “meh” are also the ones who seemed to be the most difficult to work with.
Authors really need book bloggers, today, so we can’t afford to leave a “meh” (or worse) impression behind. Here’s some stuff that I personally appreciated when working with authors that left a good impression.
There’s nothing worse than getting a last minute request to schedule a post (or worse, review a book) while an author drones on and on about deadlines and how exhausted they are in promoting this book and how busy they are and… sigh…
Know why bloggers hate this drama? Because they have jobs, too. They also have a limited amount of time in a day and while your book is the most important thing to you it isn’t the most important thing to them.
The best authors to work with have been respectful of my time and effort and answered my interview questions without drama.
Personalized Thank You Notes and Even Gifts
Writers are always on a budget, so gifts are a really rare thing, but I was given a couple things by authors and guess what? I remember them fondly. One sent me a cool Elizabeth I notepad from London and Starbucks gift card for being a first reader for her Tudor fiction book. Another sent me an antique coin. Both gifts tied in with their books, and the added effort was noticed and appreciated.
But I’ve also received personalized, handwritten thank you notes from several authors and those meant just as much to me. In fact, I’ve decided to make this a habit for the people that host me on a blog from now on, too. Sending a note doesn’t take much time but it does mean an awful lot to someone who made the effort to put you on their site.
When you’re doing a blog tour, and answering the same questions over and over, it can be a challenge to be interesting. But resist the urge to cut and paste answers, and really try to make every question, even the ones you’ve answered a bazillion times, reveal something cool about yourself.
Tell a story with your answer. Compliment other writers or the blogger who is hosting you. Add a photo you haven’t shared too much. Find a unique way to interact with readers.
Some of my favorite interviews have been the ones where authors took my boring old questions and were so funny and charming they made me sound like James Lipton.
Follow Their Rules
When you have a book to promote and a blog tour to do, you want to control the show. You might even send an email that says “I’ll do an interview, guest post, and giveaway” but be careful about being too limiting. Some bloggers like to do it their own way.
Several years ago I stopped doing giveaways on my writing blog. My readers seemed to hate them. They enjoyed finding out about new writers but weren’t wild about leaving comments for books, and some even wrote me to tell me they’d like my blog a whole lot better if I didn’t give stuff away.
What did I know? I thought everyone loved giveaways, but if my readers weren’t fans why should I do them? So I stopped the practice but some authors get very testy about this. One insisted I do a giveaway because her publisher required it. (I’m still not sure she had that correct, but maybe it was true.)
I once did an unusual interview where I had to answer a lot of hypotheticals about my dating book that related to pop culture. It was super fun and I got a lot of positive comments on it. Sometimes bloggers like to mix it up by having you answer questions as your character, or having you answer rapid fire, silly questions… whatever their preference, go with it.
Be sincerely grateful when bloggers are hosting you, because they really are helping your career. One author followed up an appearance on my blog by doing a post on her blog listing the top 10 things she loved about getting interviewed by me. I did mention that my questions are rather boring, right? So this was a clever and creative thing to make the interview stand out, and I was touched that she added that to her site.
However you decide to respond to and thank your bloggers, be sincerely grateful. Your intentions will show in the words and actions you choose, and your bloggers will be happy to welcome you back again when your next book is out.
Cherie Burbach has written for About.com, NBC/Universal, Match.com, and more. Visit her website, cherieburbach.com.