Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Interview Intimidation

So I've been trying to expand my horizons on how I can help my fellow authors but for some reason this reviews and interviews thing intimidates the heck out of me.

So I thought maybe before I dive into the season where I've promised some half dozen of these various things, I would have a little therapy session with Yibus.

Why on Reviews

Well see, it's like this... There are a bunch of bloggers who write KICK-ASS reviews! They know stuff (and yeah, I know I know stuff), but they know stuff about the elements of books... the pieces that need to be there, the comparitive works, what books of the genre call for... A couple of my regular haunts that do great reviews include (but are by no means limited to) Leigh and Mason. And they just know how to review books!

How the heck is a hack like ME supposed to review books!?

But even more intimidating is the INTERVIEW

I've only done... two maybe... but I have three currently scheduled... I HAVE read one book, am READING one, and will read the other in August...

I guess the thing here is... I really prefer both the questions and answers to interviews where the interviewer is familiar, can ask original and relevant questions that are FRESH. I think the interviewee comes across better too—it is something that they haven't answered a thousand times, so the answers are more fun.

Anybody else intimidated by these things? Any tricks of the trade you want to share?

For the Record... What's Coming

Review: Very Bad Men by Harry Dolan: July 6
Review: South of Superior by Ellen Airgood (when it's written)
Interview: Harry Dolan: July 16
Review: My Fearful Symmetry by Denise Verrico (early August)
Review: Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis (early August)
Interview: Denise Verrico: August 16
Review: String Bridge by Jessica Bell (November)
Interview: Jessica Bell: (November)

So if any of YOU have fresh unusual questions for any of my interviewees, I will be thrilled to consider them! (I'd actually love the help!)

[NOTE:  All this grumble is about MY inadequacies... these are totally skills I want to master, so THANK YOU for you fabulous people letting me give them a go]

[Also Wik:  I finished What Ales Me (first draft) last night:  Wordcount currently 55,148]

[Also also wik:  I love yibus!]


Trisha said...

I'm intimidated by interviews, for sure. As for reviews, I know I don't do those the "traditional" way, I don't know anything about the required elements of a book review, etc. I just know what I want to say and I say it :P

Jessica Bell said...

LOL. Don't be intimidated. You can discuss them with me if you like. I'm as intimidated by answering them so don't worry! lol

PS: my stuff is in November, not October. Or are you referring to the month that you have to have it done by?

Really, if you want to have a chat, I'm fine with that :o)

Hart Johnson said...

Trisha-that is sort of how I feel like I am on reviews... I give a brief summary, then the things I liked. Sometimes I will hit a 'this is for people who..." if I feel there is a subset who particularly will or won't want to read, but I only do negative stuff with best sellers if they need it.

Jessica-I know you well enough, that I think your interview will be the easiest, but I will surely shout if I have trouble... And yeah... I couldn't find the 'post date' but saw October... will fix that!

Old Kitty said...

Awwww you just be your lovely NAKED self and all will be well!! Yay!! Take care

Siv Maria said...

Congrats on your first draft on What Ales you! I find it very hard to believe that Interviews and reviews intimidate the naked part of Hart, so just ask her to do it :)

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Yay!! Congrats on the draft! I hit 35K yesterday and am on track to hit 40K by the end of BuNo

Creepy Query Girl said...

Congrats on your draft! I don't usually write reviews unless I absolutely loved the book. Like you said, there are so many great reviewers out there already. INterviews do make me nervous too-I usually read prior interviews to make sure I'm not giving already available information out. I like to know about their journey to publication especially, the inspiration behind their book, etc but I try and ask questions that are a little different or more specific than interviews theyve already done. And I try and include some fun questinos too for kicks. Good luck!

GigglesandGuns said...

Wish I could help. Speak in front of a large group; no problem. One on one interview; you must have me confused with someone else.

Connie J Jasperson said...

Aw... you will do just fine! I look forward to reading your posts, and find myself enjoying the fact that you keep it real!

Hart Johnson said...

Jenny-funny, but somehow it's easier to be naked in a group...

Siv-thank you! And I will try...

Sarah-thank you and YAY!

Katie-sounds like you and I approach both of them the same. That is sort of why I find it intimidating.

Mary-well you're ahead of me. I don't like speaking, either.

Ah, Connie-thank you!

erica and christy said...

Congrats on the finished draft!

If I run out of interesting interview questions, I just ask them who their favorite elephant is. :)

Melissa Bradley said...

I had no experience with interviews when I started a couple of years ago and I understand where you're coming from. For interviews, I prep by looking at the available info about the person and the book. I also read other interviews. Then I try to formulate questions based on what I'd like to know more about. Then I ask a couple of general questions for my own readers who are not as familiar with the material as I am. I do try to ask those questions in as different a way as possible.

As far as reviews, don't worry. Just concentrate on what you liked and didn't like. I try not to be over harsh because I have been at the receiving end of some of those. At the end of the day, just be honest. Your review style is your own and you are a great writer so your reviews will be awesome.

Sorry if I sound too preachy or know-it-all. I tend to run on when I enjoy a topic. :) I wish you the very best as you embark on this project.

Johanna Garth said...

If anyone can find a way to make both interviews and reviews come off as fresh and fun I think it will be you. Good luck on all of your upcoming projects and don't sweat them too much, just go with your gut. It seems to be taking you to all the right places!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's why I don't do interviews - they all sound the same. Familiarity will definitely help, especially if you have time to read the book. As for reviews, I'm just more comfortable reviewing a movie.

Mark P Sadler said...

Hart, Please take a moment, and your readers too, to check out the reviews I write on my blog

These reviews are mostly mirrored in Suspense Magazine where I review books every month, and occasionally conduct interviews and am a regular contributor -I am currently preparing an interview with Lisa McMann to coincide with her new release this fall - and then all reviews not related to suspense, thrillers, horror or mystery are placed on Amazon.

I must be doing something right as Amazon has just appointed me an offical reviewer for their site too.

Please stop by my blog and comment or rate the reviews, I'd love to have you all!

Raquel Byrnes said...

I'm with you. I worry about asking lame questions or tired ones. It helps when I ask what the author wants to get across. That way I ask questions that help them connect.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

RaShelle said...

Hey Hart - I love Leigh's reviews, too. I'll have to check out Masons.

As for questions to ask? Make them different. Use your snark. You'll be great! Cuz hey, it's YOU!!! xoxo

Hart Johnson said...

Erica-yeah, I have a couple animal questions I can fall back on... teehee

Melissa-great point on reading other interviews! How dopey am I that that never occurred to me?

Johanna-you're so fabulous. You always make me feel good.

Alex-yeah, I don't like interviews that look like people all get asked the same stuff, either.

Mark-I will check out your strategy--that's helpful. Part of the problem is I don't READ a lot of reviews as it frustrates me and my limited funds--I want to go buy books and can't afford to.

Raquel--Oh, NICE to ask the author's goals! That's a great angle.