Interview Questions

An important part of the media kit is to have at least ten and preferably as many as twenty interview questions, along with the answers, on the author’s web site. This allows an interviewer to get a real feel for the author’s expertise and viewpoint to help them know whether the author would make an interesting guest for their viewers/listeners/readers.

One of the key mistakes made by authors when they talk to journalists is this – journalists (and their audiences) don’t care that the author wrote a book. They only care about how the author’s expertise can help them in their own lives. So the author’s answer should not mention the book itself. Let the interviewer bring up the book, as in, “In your book, you talk about….”

The author should talk with passion about the subject matter only and never say anything like, “You’ll have to read the book to find out!”. The whole idea of an interview is to be generous with the audience or you will never be invited back.

It is also vital that the author talk only to the interviewer. The best interviews are intimate conversations between the interviewer and interviewee. You want the listener to feel as if he or she is listening to a private conversation and hearing information that he or she would not get elsewhere.

Too many authors make the mistake of trying to offer special bonuses or otherwise try to sell themselves or their books. That will only backfire as listeners are used to being sold and aren’t on the call for that reason. Listeners are on the line because they are looking for answers to their own problems.

Typical interview questions should be about the author him or herself or controversial aspects of the topic of the book. When you create questions, think about what the listener would want to hear. Do not ask and answer questions like “What is the book about?” Instead, ask questions such as “You say there are three keys to financial independence. What are they?”

Some more examples from an actual interview from the book Right-Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee:
Why do we need to do business differently in the new creative economy and how can the Right-Brain Business Plan help?
Why is it important for entrepreneurs to have a business plan?
What are the top three things that stop creative types from doing a business plan?
What is a Right-Brain Business Plan? And how is it different from a traditional business plan?
You challenge the concept that a business plan has to be a stodgy, boring, traditional document. Why take a right-brain approach to business planning? What are the benefits?
Creative entrepreneurs often feel challenged by the numbers and asking for money. What suggestions do you have for them to overcome these challenges?
Being an entrepreneur often means you’re working on your own. What advice do you have for people to get support in their business?