Why do all author interviews fail miseraby?


In my view, because they tell you absolutely nothing about the author. Read one and you’ve read them all…

I’ve read literally hundreds of them over the decades. Without exception they follow an inevitable mind numbingly boring formulae.Β  I’m sorry, but the last thing I wish to know about is an author’s favourite book, or where they live and with whom. Or even what their latest book is all about and other entirely banal questions!!!

What I really want to know is how their mind works. Don’t you?

To begin to gain an insight into what makes any author tick, all you have to do is read their books for yourself. It couldn’t be simpler! Do that and there is no need for the totally redundant author interview.

Each and every single one of us reveals far more about ourselves in our storytelling than any damned interview ever will. You just have to have the intelligence to sift out the often unconsciously inserted clues which we leave about ourselves by the way we write the text. Believe it or not but actually reading our blog posts (not just liking them) will also help you to get to know something about us you never knew before as well.

Only a publicity seeker (you know the beast – those who refer to themselves as Author Bill or Belinda Smith across the entire social media system) will ever delude themselves into thinking that by having taken part in an author interview, that somehow or other, by osmosis their book sales will automatically increase. What total bunkum – they won’t!

Book sales still only occur after someone has actually bought and read your work, and told their friends about it. Granted, these days they may have been initially attracted to it by its often lurid cover and quite possibly, its range of good and bad reviews.

If you are a fellow writer, take my tip, get on with your writing and forget about participating in any interview until the questions on offer show a far higher degree of intelligence. As far as I can ascertain, the day when interviewers pluck up the courage to dare to break the mold and ask truly pertinent questions of their interviewees, is the day when hell will finally freeze over!

PS – As you will have gathered I have little time for time wasting foolishness in its many forms. Something else you’ve just learnt about me. πŸ™‚

47 thoughts on “Why do all author interviews fail miseraby?

  1. Couldn’t agree more. I never read the stupid things these days and I don’t run them or give them, either. As you say, they’re boring, vapid and tell you nothing (well, you didn’t quite say that). What’s worse (also as you say) they don’t sell books. So there is really no point in them at all, except to stroke the author’s ego. And I agree, if you want to get to know what a writer thinks, read what they write.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve done a couple, maybe? Primarily because having read their book/s I had some nosy questions so it was a good way to satisfy my personal curiosity and was totally self-indulgent.
    Reading others though, they can often be mind-numbingly boring, and if an author can’t make themselves sound interesting, it doesn’t hold out much hope for the chances of them writing a riveting book. Still, the questions are often toooooo predictable and equally mind-numbing. I like off-the-wall something different interviews.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree with you that by reading an author’s work we can learn a good deal about them. Authors and/or poets may (deliberately or otherwise) hide what they are trying to say, leaving readers to reach their own (sometimes erroneous conclusions):

    β€œThe poet may redact
    The light that through his poem does refract.
    But the reader will therein construe
    That she believes to be true”.

    I have learned what led an author to write their book by listening to author interviews. For me learning why an author put pen to paper in a given instance is of interest as are the amusing stories which sometimes form part of an author interview.

    You are right, author interviews in and of themselves will not sell books nor will (in my experience) author websites/blogs. They may, however spark interest in the work of an author and (in the longer term) cause readers to pick up their books.


    Liked by 1 person

      • I agree Jack. However an interesting interview may spark the interest of a potential reader in the work of an author which is no bad thing. Obviously there is a problem if an author is spending most of their time participating in interviews rather than writing, but if its an interview here and there it cant do any harm and may even do some good. Kevin

        Liked by 2 people

      • Just remember one thing – if you don’t ask ‘interesting’ questions, you cannot expect to receive ‘interesting answers from the author’. The onus is always on the interviewer Kevin, never the author, which is where so many interviews fall down…


      • I read a lot of author interviews, enjoy them very much, met many new authors from all over the world, I have purchased some of their novels because of the interview. When I invite guest to my blog, I pose 4 questions and the author has the choice of changing the questions to anything they think might be more pertinent. None do.

        I liked this one. http://allanhudson.blogspot.ca/search?q=jack+eason . What’s your opinion?


      • My biggest beef Allan has always been that nearly every one I’ve read (thousands) always stick to a few common questions. None of them really let the reader(s) know what the interviewee is all about. If anyone is going to conduct an interview, I would argue that they take a leaf out of a professional interviewer’s book. There are many excellent examples on radio and television. Here in the UK there is a program called Hardtalk. Just take a look at how the interviewer gets inside the head(s) of the interviewee. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mg2m/episodes/player. Not once will they be asked totally banal questions. Just saying… πŸ˜‰


  4. You can “interview” yourself. Smashwords has a standard set of questions authors can respond to, but one can just ignore those and write one’s own questions, making them and the answers as quirky as one wishes. On the other hand, one may, as you point out, skip the whole interview scene and direct the efforts to writing more books.


  5. Great advice. In my experience, many “interviews” are simply done to get free books from the author. Unless you’re appearing on a web site or broadcast system with millions of viewers, sales from interviews are generally a big fat zero. Worse, you’ll occasionally discover you’re being interviewed to be made to look like an idiot because the interviewer is “into” making fun of guests to show his “superiority.” Add in misquotes and such, and there’s no real upside for an author.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of them are scammers. On the odd occasion when I’ve been asked to participate, I insist on seeing their questions. If as in 90% of the cases, the questions are plainly pointless and unimaginative, I refuse to go any further. πŸ˜‰


  6. I will gladly take the other side of this. It’s fine to sit back and look down upon authors who participate in interviews and hope to rely on the quality of your work to bring in recognition and book sales. It’s just not realistic. Are we trying to impress other authors with our interviews or gain interest from potential readers? As an indie author, a term which is looked down upon by many, you can’t realistically attain success by just writing and publishing your books without some measure of promotion. My job as an indie author is nearly a 50/50 split between writing and promoting. I also like to help other indie authors gain exposure by featuring interviews on my blog. The reaction to the interviews has been positive. The questions might not be deep and intriguing so that we learn about the inner workings of the mind of the writer, but they do give new and established authors the opportunity to talk about their work and bring it to new audiences. I enjoy providing this service for authors and gladly take advantage of those that wish to do the same for me.

    You may look down upon me, but I’ve had some measure of success in jump starting my own career by submitting to interviews. If you want to put your literary masterpieces on the virtual Amazon shelf hoping that enlightened readers will naturally gravitate to them among the millions of other selections, I would ask, how is that working for you?

    Liked by 4 people

  7. If someone wanted to interview you …or for you to write a blog about your life as an author…what sort of questions would you prefer …what prompts, to tell your story so readers get to know the person behind the books. How would you do this?


  8. Jack it’s an interesting opinion but if you only ask questions about how a writer’s mind ticks that will appeal greatly to a writer but what about the rest of the populace? Perhaps it depends on what genre and the type of writing you engage in. A reader might enjoy some insight into the author’s life and personality. But I do accept that writers spend too much time on activities which they shouldn’t. Too much time on social media for example. It’s difficult to get the balance right. I never have enough time to write. Nevertheless, I’m not 100% in agreement with you on this. I believe that author interviews create a sense of community in the indie community and allow new and up and coming authors a chance to promote their work.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I recently interviewed Alex Pearl on my blog and he thanked me for asking such interesting questions. I try to research the author before I interview but yes sometimes if they aren’t done well or ignite much interest they are a waste of time. Also Stacey at Whispering Stories seems to put a nice spin in them and puts a lot of effort in getting you out there as does Camilla Downs. Unfortunately, I’d much rather be writing but sometimes I write them, or feature authors to engage with and develop new writing relationships. Perhaps that is why they are worth doing?

    Liked by 1 person

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