Author interviews are a great way to promote your work, network with industry professionals, and build your reputation. But how can you find these opportunities?
A few weeks ago, I shared how to create an author FAQ to prepare for interviews. Today, I will share:
- The types of places you can contact for interviews, including some out-of-the-box suggestions
- How to land author interviews: a 5-step process
When you’re finished reading, you’ll be ready to start hunting down interview opportunities of your own.
Before we dive in though, I want to clarify something about the language I’ll be using in this article. There are numerous mediums author interviews can be conducted in: blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, even TV shows. To avoid repeatedly listing these mediums, I will refer to the places where interviews are done as “publications and shows”.
With that out of the way, let’s jump right into it!
Where to find interview opportunities
The first, most obvious places to look for interview opportunities are book blogs in your genre. You might also look to booktube channels or book review podcasts. These are great places to promote yourself and your work, but they’re far from the only option.
Publications and shows for writers
The second type of publication you want to pitch is publications and shows for writers, especially specialized publications for writers in your genre. There are a few reasons why these publications and shows are great interview opportunities:
- You’re probably already familiar with the types of content they produce.
- You can honestly approach them as a fan.
- Fellow writers understand any awkwardness during the process, so they’ll be kind to you if you stumble over your words.
Unfortunately, there’s also a drawback to these publications: they don’t actually reach your target audience.
I can already hear your objections. Writers have to read, right? Writers in your genre presumably read in the same genre, right?
Well, yes. Most writers do read within their genre. As you dive further into writing, however, your reading time shrinks. You also become friends with more and more people who have published works that you’re obligated to read. You might take on some beta reading for those friends too. All in all, you’re left with very little time to discover new authors.
Your target audience, then, is the people who have both the desire and the time to read your books, and you’re going to have to think outside of the box to reach them.
Non-book related shows and publications
The final, and often best, source of interviews is shows and publications that aren’t directly related to books. In order to land interviews in these publications, you’ll need to find a way to connect either your career or your book to what they talk about.
A great place to start looking for these opportunities is in your local media. If you live in a small town, your local newspaper might be eager to hear from a local published author. They might even consider your publication newsworthy, especially if your story also takes place in your town/region.
You might also seek interviews in publications or shows related to topics discussed in your books. For example, all of my books feature women who struggle with depression and PTSD, disorders I share. I can use this information to pitch interviews and even guest articles to publications and shows about mental health.
To find these opportunities, list all of the major topics in your book(s), then run searches for each topic on Google, YouTube, Spotify, and your preferred social media network. This will give you several lists of publications, shows, and influencers who are already known for talking about these subjects. Most will have details about how you can contact them with show ideas or promotion requests on their websites.
If your books are wildly different from each other, you may also want to create separate lists for each book.
How to land author interviews
Like any kind of pitching, landing author interviews is something of a numbers game. The more you pitch, the more opportunity will come to you. You can use the following five step process to send dozens of pitches in a short period of time.
1. Build a database of publications
The first thing you’ll need to do is research publications and shows that are interested in your chosen topics, using the process outlined at the end of the previous section. As you look at the website of each publication/show, take special note of the following information:
- Publication medium
- Publication topic
- Name of the publication
- Content types (what types of content you can pitch to this publication; many are open to more than just reviews)
- Pitch email (the email address you’re supposed to pitch to)
- Pitch name (the name of the editor/creator of this show or publication)
- Pitch type (the type of content you pitch them)
- Pitch date
- Pitch answer
For your first round of pitches, aim to collect 30-50 publications. Yes, that’s a lot, but you’re not going to receive a response from every publication. You’ll also find that pitching gets easier the more you do it.
As you send out pitches, record them in this document. This will help you avoid accidentally pitching the same publication twice or missing shows on your list.
Pro tip: Your publication/show database should be a living document! Keep an eye out for content about your chosen topics as you go about your everyday life. When you find a site, podcast, or show that regularly publishes this type of content, add it to your list.
2. Create pitch templates
Pitch templates are pre-written emails that can be copy + pasted and sent to different publications with only minor changes. This is a great way to save time while also ensuring consistent quality throughout your pitches.
A pitch template should establish who you are, why you’re approaching this particular publication or show, what you can offer them, and how you would like to move forward. Pieces of information that need to be customized for each email should be bracketed and highlighted.
Here’s an example of what this might look like, using my own information:
I am an author who writes honestly about mental illness in her fiction. I appreciate your dedication to sharing stories like mine. I also think my stories and resources would resonate well with your audience. As such, I would like to be considered for an interview on your (type of show/publication).
If you’re interested in conducting an interview, let me know and I’ll send you my bio, author headshot, and book blurbs.
Thank you for your time,
Fantasy Author and Mental Health Advocate
Create a separate pitch template for each topic you’re interested in doing interviews about.
Pro tip: When you’re gearing up to release a new book, create a pitch template for it. This will save you an enormous amount of time in organizing your book launch.
3. Start with small publications and work your way up
Big publications are constantly inundated with interview pitches. They only have a few seconds to look at each request, and they can only work with a fraction of the people who contact them. There can also be an enormous pressure to act or speak a certain way during these interviews, which is difficult to deal with when you’re already nervous about the whole interview process.
Small publications often receive way less interview requests. They also tend to be friendlier environments for people who are new to author interviews. And you shouldn’t discount them because of a small audience; small and medium-sized audiences are often more devoted and engaged than larger ones.
The other reason to start with small publications is to build your reputation. Every interview helps establish you as an author and an expert in the topics you discuss. Those links can be included on your author page, in your media kit, and even in your interview pitch templates. They will show larger media outlets that you’re serious about what you do and that you know how to conduct yourself during interviews.
4. Be honest
In my earlier pitch template, I included a line about “appreciating the work you do to share stories like mine”. I always do some research on a publication/show before I pitch them, so I know I’ll have a surface level appreciation of their work.
What I didn’t do, which many people will suggest, is say I’m a big fan. In most cases, that’s an exaggeration, and when you get to the actual interview, they’ll notice. If you’re not a fan, don’t pretend to be.
You also don’t want to fake expertise you don’t have. When I pitch mental health publications, I focus on my experience as a person with mental illness and an online advocate for better mental healthcare. I don’t pretend I’m a therapist or even that I’ve taken a psychology course past high school.
Lies may get your work in front of people once, but in the end, they’ll always come back to haunt you. Never use them during the pitching process.
5. Send pitches in batches
Last but certainly not least, you want to batch your pitches. This means scheduling a specific day of the week or month where you will sit down for 1-3 hours and send as many interview pitches as possible. If you do this on a weekend, consider scheduling the emails so they’ll reach the people you’re pitching on Monday morning (although many editors and publishers work weekends too, especially at small publications).
If you’re pitching interviews about a variety of topics, you may want to schedule different times or even dates to send pitches for each topic. This will stop you from accidentally asking someone to do an interview about something they’re not interested in, or worse, something offensive to them and/or your audience.
Pro tip: Always wait to enter the email address into the “Send” area until after you’ve changed all of the highlighted details. You don’t want it to be obvious that you’re working from a template!
Final advice on how to land author interviews
If you’re an author, someone out there wants to interview you. You can find those people with a methodical approach and a few best practices:
- If you’re comfortable with it, include multimedia options like YouTube channels and podcasts.
- Look for opportunities related to topics within your books, not just publications/shows about books.
- Use a spreadsheet to track publications and pitches.
- Create pitch templates for each topic you’re interested in talking about + one for each of your books.
- Start by pitching small publications and work your way up.
- Be honest with the people you’re pitching.
Most of all, remember that your story is worth telling. You might not get a response for your first pitch or your first twenty, but eventually, you’ll find someone interested in hearing what you have to say.
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