Lessons Learned In August – on author interviews
It seems that every month there is a lesson to be learnt somewhere on the authors journey and August has been no exception. As regular visitors will know, every Thursday I hold the Thursday Throng, which is an author interview, with possibly a giveaway of a book or two and a review of the book the author in question has just finished writing or is trying to promote. This month I realised that there is a huge variability in the way in which authors use this opportunity and I wondered if I now need to pick my authors with more care.
When the interview has been completed and added to the blog it is broadcast out on to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If there is a giveaway then I also tweet it out during the week too. My aim with the Thursday Throng is two fold:
- Promote the author and not just their book
- Introduce my blog to a wider audience who, hopefully, will come back for more later on
However, the success of this depends on two things:
- That the authors participate in the promotion of the interview and engage with readers
- That I make mention it enough in the right places to make it interesting to the readers who are already engaged with me.
When either of these fails, then the interview fails to achieve the objective. It seems that there are two types of author:
- The author who is interested in promoting themselves and their work
- The author who is expecting it all to be done for them.
I’ve seen the same thing before in many different guises, but perhaps the closest example I can share is of women undergoing hysterectomy (as the Founder of The Hysterectomy Association, I do have a bit of experience in this area :-). There are two types of patient, those who know that their body is their responsiblity and those who hand it over to the doctors and say ‘give it back when it’s better – it doesn’t take a genius to work out which type finds their way to the website.
Some of the difference could be explained by a lack of understanding about how social marketing works; some of it could be explained by a lack of awareness about how blogging works; but to be honest I’d have thought that if an author were genuinely interested in getting their name in front of an audience that doesn’t yet know them, that they would be keen to make the most of the opportunity to be tweeting and commenting away.
I know from my email inbox that those authors who make even a small effort get sales. The people they talk to here on their interview appreciate the fact that they have got involved in the conversation, answering questions and genuinely being helpful. Those that don’t participate are lucky to get anything at all, despite my best efforts.
So, if you are a book blogger or another author perhaps you could answer the question I have, how do I identify the authors who are happy to be helped by helping me?