Author Interviews

Author Interviews

Ever notice that sometimes author interviews can backfire? One of the most interesting things for me as a reader when confronted with an author interview is the responses offered. The questions are invariably all just deviations of the same thing over and over and thus kudos to authors who continue to give the same interview time and again, but I wonder if authors really stop and think about the answers they’re giving.

I’ve been turned off more than one author by their answers to an interview.

With the plethora of authors and books currently available, it’s remarkably easy to pick and choose who to read and not read. With only so many hours in the day, I can easily shrug off one author or another. You always mean to go back and read such and such author but somehow they slide to the end of the stack and suddenly they’re gone. It’s easy to come up with reasons not to read an author, most based on the interest in the book itself. But this translates to online behavior and so on.

I’m curious specifically about interviews. So far I’ve mentioned the negative aspects of interviews but really has anyone read an interview and decided to buy that author’s book? I certainly have as well so it’s clearly a two way street. Authors can lose or gain readers by interviews. I assume the positive outweighs the negative but I’m (as always) curious about others’ perspectives.

I’ve recently been reading several of the RR interviews and on other sites such as Book Wenches and so on. I was surprised and shocked by some of the answers authors gave. Some alluded to be fanfiction authors that get bad reviews but their critique group likes them. One subtly demeaned women readers. Another mocked the popularity of their own book. This type of behavior turns me off an author. I read answers like any of those above and just think there are any number of other authors to spend my money and time.

What about you? Authors or readers..
Are interviews worthwhile?
Do the answers influence your decisions?
Are you careful about what you say?

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13 thoughts on “Author Interviews

  1. It’s just as you say, Kassa. There are a ton of books, and it’s very easy to just not buy the books of someone who has an obnoxious online persona or who has created a bad impression in an interview. I think it might even be unconscious on the part of us readers.
    I know I found it a little offputting when I read in interviews an author self-described as “sarcastic” and another who mocked her own cover art (I mean, c’mon, artists have feelings, too!). I also ran across another author today who posted an exceedingly cruel review of another author’s book (not an inteview, but even so I found it disturbing). All that can be very offputting.
    On the other hand, if someone seems fun in an interview I will often go pick up their book (or at least save the purchase link so I can get it later). Great post, Kassa!

    • Great answer Val. This seems to tie into my poll where the majority said they pay attention to an author presence. Some only if that author is obnoxious and thus avoid their work and others said they’d buy an author who came across friendly and fun online.
      I can only imagine how authors have to censor themselves from saying things publically so they don’t influence their readers. Such as ensuring that they don’t say something off putting and ensure they are polite and interesting. Talk about pressure.

  2. I’m with Val on this one. I’ve often gone and bought books from particular authors who have presented themselves well in interviews. I’ve also been put off authors who have come across as condescending, especially towards other authors and even readers.
    I’ve also read author interviews where I’ve shaken my head at the missed opportunities. An author really ought to treat interviews as an opportunity to plug their books, by telling us about the thought processes which went into the writing of their books, and also giving the readers an insight into them as a person. I’ve read a number of interviews where an author has been incredibly evasive so by the end I’ve known very little about them or how they write, in which case why bother doing the interview at all? At the very least authors should mention their books otherwise how are readers going to know about them?

    • Very good point Jen. Sometimes I think authors answer interviews with more questions and try to be mysterious when readers don’t necessarily appreciate that. Answering an interview well is no doubt a skill where balancing plugging the author with the work and trying to be witty, charming, and funny all at the same time.
      I think some authors just answer the questions they’re asked and especially lengthy interviews get boring. Even if the author is being honest and direct, if the interview is too long with random question after random question and a TON of text, most readers lose their attention span. So not only being aware of what they’re saying and how they’re saying it but to keep in mind readers have short attention spans.
      There are a ton of author interviews floating around blogs and sites and I wonder why so few people read them (or it seems that way). Most interviews with comments are because they offer a prize and I sometimes think the interview should have a code word hidden within the interview to force commenters to read it lol.

  3. I don’t generally read author interviews, although I do pop in occasionally and support an author who is all nervous. Even if I comment, I rarely read the actual interview, mostly because they’re long and tedious and I really don’t want to know how many sexual contacts a particular author has had (yeah, one Bobby Michaels interview I read was WAYYYY TMI. Didn’t want to know that the dude boinked over 1000 people and he’s really sick from complications of AIDS).
    Would self deprecation cause me to not buy an author in the future? No. Interviews can be a good tool for a new reader to get to know an established author, or for old readers to meet a new author, but they’re mostly wasted on people like me who don’t really care either which way. I prefer to do my fangurling/stalking behind the scenes.

    • *scrubs eyes because I really dont want to know that… really*
      I agree that most interviews are long and tedious. They’re also repetitive. With so many blogs and sites doing interviews, there is VERY little that differentiates them so really if you read one interview – havent you read them all?
      Clearly TYR’s comment about google maps is the only important question for ease of stalking.

  4. Author presence on the internet definitely influences me, but to be honest I’m not a huge fan of author interviews. I think most of them are too long and are as boring as bat shit.
    The main reasons I end up reading them is if I like the blogger and know that they will give me something different in the interview as opposed to same-old, same-old, or if I want to be supportive of the author and/or the blogger. Otherwise… meh.

  5. I’ve only ever done one interview and I have to say that I’m not sure of how I came off “sounding” with my answers.
    It was really difficult to try to find a voice that would be respectful but still fun, and some of the questions were of the sort that invited either over-sharing or a tone that seemed stand-off-ish. Or dull, because I’m truly not that interesting.
    That said, I tend to like author interviews when they’re about the WORK. A little real-life info is fine. Like if someone has pets or collects buttons or something, but I don’t want to know someone’s sexual history or whether they’ve tried all the drugs their characters do or have done.
    Yes, the same-old, same-old questions can become tedious to read, but every once in a while an author will surprise me, and that’s almost never a bad thing.
    It depends, of course, on the questions and length of the interview, but I find it kind of fun to get a bit of insight into the people who are writing the stories I like. Sometimes it clues me to why something was written in a certain way or makes me wonder what was going on when they decided to have their characters do such and such.
    In some cases, I’ll actually give someone another try after deciding otherwise, just because they come across as someone I like in an interview… though I’ve never decided against reading someone whose books I like just because they seem crass or annoying outside of their work.
    ~Tis

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