While interview books can seem like an easy way into publishing, they can spiral out of control if you don’t keep them on a tight rein, and know what you’re looking for before you begin.
We’ve all seen these celebrity interviews where the chat show host knows their job and gets the best out of their guests. We’ve also seen the bad ones where the guest takes control of everything and leads the interview in a direction they want it to go in. In some cases, it can be the same celebrity but two far different results because of the interviewer.
Because of that you need to be on top of your game. You don’t want to go through the whole process and come away with a drab, long winded, and dreary book that no one’s going to be inspired by or take action on. – Because who wants to read that book?
And since it takes the same time and effort to do both, it’s well worth knowing what you’re doing before you start. So, let’s kick it off…
Know What You’re Talking About – If you were interviewing an expert on Astrophysics and you knew nothing on the topic, how well do you think that interview and book would be? Not only would you be lost and not know what to ask questions on, but what would any fan of that person or Astrophysics get out of that book? Nothing.
Doing your research on the person or topic beforehand will make sure you know what you’re doing. Not only can you get more information by not asking the questions everyone else asks, but get deeper under the hood of that person and find out what inspires them and drives them. This will give more depth to your interview than the bland tennis match of question and answer rallies that weaker books have.
How Is Your Guest Going To Be Rewarded For Their Time? – While you will find some people will be glad to help you, for the publicity or the ego boost that a book about them can give, you should consider how you’re going to repay your interviewee. Are there going to be live links to a website, business, or course of theirs that you’re going to add to your book?
If you’re finding it hard to get someone to give you their time and knowledge, consider it from their point of view. What’s in it for them?
If you’re not sure, put the shoe on the other foot. If someone had to convince you to give up your time and knowledge, what would sway you to take action on their request? If you haven’t got the money to pay for their time, think about what else you could barter with to get them in the hot seat.
Structuring Your Interview Book
When you’re planning your book, you’ll also need to consider the structure of your book. Things like…
Cover Photo – Are you going to feature your guest on the cover of your book, or are you going to use something abstract or businesslike? How would your interviewee feel about seeing their face on a book? This may be something you’ll need to find out before you get your book cover created.
When considering what photo to use, consider how the person looks in the photo. Does it convey their credibility, show a side of their personality, or professionalism in the snap? Although you mightn’t have much control over this, consider how they come across in the photo when choosing one.
Copyright – Once you’ve finished your book, will you have full copyright to the information in it? For example, will you be able to take some of the content and use it for promotional material (on a blog or video), or is the content solely for the book and nowhere else. Discussing with your guest and getting them to sign off on it, means you both know where you stand on what can and can’t be done with the content of your book.
Dedication – Although this is your book after all, and you may want to dedicate your book to someone, how about your guest? When it comes to swaying that person to give you an interview in the first place, you might want to use this as something you’ll forgo and give to them instead. Who knows, this may be the only time they’ll be featured in a book so it’s a chance for them to dedicate a book to someone in their life?
Foreword – Is this something you’ll tackle yourself, where you introduce the person you’ll be interviewing and what they’ve done for you? Or are you going to go to a third party (possibly a celebrity in your niche) and let them write the foreword for the book instead?
Introduction – Although you may sell books to your audience because your interviewee is well known, don’t pass up on this opportunity to add an introductory few paragraphs or pages at the beginning of your book.
In it you can explain…
- What the person has done for your life, health, or business.
- Why you’ve chosen them for this book.
- Why you’ve decided to go down the interview route.
- What the reader can expect to learn from the book.
Content Of Your Book – When it comes to the rest of the content of your book, look at what you’re providing from both angles, your interviewee and readers. It can be easy to go down a rabbit hole of questions that give nothing of use to your readers, or not providing any emotional connection for your readers to latch onto.
This can be a thin line to walk between, but by looking at your interview book from both sides you can give your interviewee and reader the type of book that want.
Conclusion – At this point you may want to finish with a quick summary of what was discussed in your book. This can also include an offer from your interviewee, apps, books, or websites that the reader may find helpful on the topic discussed in the book.
While Q&A books may look like an easy one to create, a little work on your behalf, along with a concrete idea of what you’re looking to create, can lift a limp and drab book into one that you’ll be proud of having in your catalogue.
Best of luck with it!