Thursday’s Pre-Publication Post: Permissions Phase Ends; New Focus Begins

Two weeks ago, I gave you an update on my permissions quest. I am delighted to report that that particular phase of the journey seems to have ended at last: The Big Publishing House charged half again (150%) of the original fee I was quoted to use an epigraph in the print edition of Quiet Americans so that I can include said seven-word excerpt in the e-version, too. Just in case you were wondering! The agreement has been signed, sealed, and mailed back. And I’m glad to check that particular task off the to-do list!

So we move on. As the summer progresses, I expect to be focusing much more time on the redesign/consolidation of my Web presence (something else I’ve mentioned before in these pre-publication posts). Many of you offered helpful comments when I first brought this up. Now, I’m going to ask for your advice once again.

I’ve noticed that some author websites feature Q&A material that might best be described as a “self-interview.” Interestingly, “self-interviews” have shown up lately as topics on various book marketing sites/feeds I follow, too (for example, this one).

The self-interviews labeled as such tend to have at least a bit of humor attached. That is to say, they are very self-consciously self-interviews, and they tend to revel a bit in the inherent oddity/awkwardness of the form. On the other hand, an author can also create a Q&A that is completely serious and doesn’t necessarily present itself as something s/he wrote on his own (and maybe it was, in fact, guided by a publicist or other PR professional). At this point, I’m still considering both approaches.

Here’s what I’m hoping you’ll tell me: What kinds of topics/questions do you think should appear in an author’s self-interview? Are there any such interviews you’ve found especially interesting? What made them so engaging? What are you hoping to learn about authors—and, more importantly, their books—when you read these features?

What’s your take on the more humorous approach (for an example, see a self-interview on Stephen King’s website–look for the entry dated September 4, 2008) compared with something that may be more, well, somewhat more nuts-and-bolts-and-business-like (again, just for an example, see Mark H. Zanger’s “Behind the Scenes” feature for The American Ethnic Cookbook for Students).

And if you’re an author who has written one of these interviews yourself, what suggestions would you offer? Whether they’re your own or others’, please point me toward author website Q&As that you think I should be sure to see as I formulate something along similar lines to help introduce Quiet Americans and its author–moi!

Thanks very much in advance for your comments, you wonderful people!

5 thoughts on “Thursday’s Pre-Publication Post: Permissions Phase Ends; New Focus Begins

  1. Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. says:

    Why self interview? There are huge numbers of book blogs that host authors on virtual tours and will interview you. You can either ask them to let you put the post on your blog, too, or link to their blog. Generally, all this costs is a book, as they want to read the book and do an interview and review. Try for hoards of blog owners willing to do just that. Yes, there are some flakes in there, but most are good people who do a good job. They also often post their review to Amazon and Goodreads, too, adding to the value of the interview. My blog has a few such interviews and reviews, if you are not sure what I am talking about.

  2. David Abrams says:

    I'm partial to the self-interviews over at The Nervous Breakdown:

    They're a good blend of humor and information–but mostly humor (thanks, Steve Almond!).

    David Abrams

  3. Erika D. says:

    David, those are good pieces (though I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable having my mom read all of them!). Stephanie, I'm familiar with blog interviews (we've got many of them linked here, and I'm certainly planning to pitch a number of bloggers myself). The self-interview can, in fact, be useful for potential interviewers to read on an author's site when considering whether to interview an author or not. At least, that's my understanding.

  4. b.mousli says:

    you might want to go look at Tayari Jones Blog, who has been talking about promotion, etc. In this post, she talks about different websites where she registered, etc.


  5. Erika D. says:

    Hi, Beatrice. Yes, I've been following Tayari's journey, too. I just don't think I can keep up with all the sites she's joined (and keep my day job and sanity!). I have just joined Goodreads this week (will post more about that once I've built up my profile a bit more).

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