Friday, March 21, 2014

Author Interviews Done Right

Okay, I'll admit it. I like author interviews. It's always interesting to me to see how other navigated this crazy business of publishing and compare notes on how they write with my own techniques. I've done more than a few of them in the past...and while I always enjoy them, I think some are just much better than others. For some interviews, the questions are canned...the same ones asked over and over no matter who the author is. These are cool because when you read enough of them from the same site, you get to see the differences between various authors. But, they also don't allow for much personalization, and as such can feel a bit "phoned in."
I recently ran across Inkspokes, a site whose goal is to connect indie authors, illustrators, and readers. They have done a lot of nice articles (click here to see them), and since I have a pretty broad publishing background myself, I wrote and asked if they might like to interview me. They agreed and the post went live. I must say that this was one of the best interviews I've participated in recently. Not only did they do a lot of research, but they had a nice introduction that gave my publishing history that really helped to lay the foundation. This meant I could concentrate on the specific questions rather than a lot of back story.  And speaking of questions.  Here is what was asked:

  • What prompted you to write Hollow World? What about the work is most interesting to you as the author?
  • You have had a lot of success with theRiyria Revelations series. How difficult is it from a publishing standpoint to publish in a new genre? Have you surveyed a sampling of your readers to see if they would follow you into a new genre? Is there a focus on having those readers follow you into Hollow World or do you think you would be building largely a new audience?
  • Even though the characters and genres are different, are there elements that readers of the Riyria series might find familiar in Hollow World?
  • The way you are publishing Hollow World(which is to be released in April) is intriguing. You had noted on your website that you have sold the print and audio rights but retain the ebook rights to the book. How does that work? Are you then self-publishing the ebook version? What type of coordination is required between your own ebook release and the print and audio runs?
  • I understand that last year you also conducted a Kickstarter (crowdsourcing) campaign for Hollow World? How does that fit into the overall publication process for the book?
  • Do you think crowdsourcing campaigns (at least for novels) are more appropriate for established authors who already have some following than for new unknown authors? I suspect this might be different for art or picture books where readers can more easily decide whether or not they will like the art work. What observations can you make on the viability of the crowdsourcing model for novels?
  • Given the changes that have occurred in publishing over the last few years, if you were still an unknown author who wants to publish a novel, where would you position yourself? Would you still pursue traditional publishing? Would you begin with self-publishing and see if you could find traction? Crowdsourcing? Some combination or hybrid path? What might be one or two important factors to consider?
  • Riyria readers likely want to know more about where you are on the Riyria Chroniclesand I understand you are also working on a new fantasy series called Rhune. Can you tell us a little about your current projects and what readers can expect to see from you in the near future?

So, if you are interested in any of these questions, my publishing history, or just want to see a really good format for interviews - stop on over...and leave Neil (the author) a note saying you appreciate his work. Bloggers run sites like this with little to no compensation and sometimes an "attaboy" can go a long way.


  1. Michael - Thanks so much for the kind words. We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to interview you. We appreciate your time and were especially impressed with the thought you put into your responses. So much experience. So many helpful bits of advice. Moreover, I am impressed that, busy as you are in this crazy business, you are so generous with your time in not only sharing your experience and tips with other authors but in leaving such kind words for the blogger. Thank you - Nelson Suit

  2. You are most welcome Nelson, I meant every word. You did a great interview and have a really helpful site for authors and readers. Keep up the great work!