Art of the Self-Interview – Web Marketing for Book Authors

If you’re a book author, a great feature for your professional website is an author interview.

Surprisingly, one of the best approaches is a self-interview.

At first glance, this might seem immodest or an inferior version of a “real” interview with an outside journalist. But done well, it can be as good . . . if not better.

There are some things you can do in a self-interview that you can’t in a regular one.

  1. Get it done, anytime, on your schedule.
  2. Control the questions, to highlight the best features of your book or other work.
  3. Range freely, to bring in any offbeat, auxiliary, cross-marketing info.
  4. Show your humor, skill with words, insight, and all-around scintillating presence . . . which may lead to additional outside interviews, while impressing web visitors about your book.

Here’s a glimpse of a self-interview, done very, very well. It is by author James Morrow, author of The Philosopher’s Apprentice, The Last Witchfinder (Starred Review, Publisher’s Weekly),  Only Begotten Daughter (World Fantasy Award), and other impressive books. He’s been interviewed elsewhere often, but chose to do self-interviews for his books on his website.

It’s a great tip for book marketing for writers of all sorts. The same kind of thing can be done by freelance writers, poets, anyone with a glimmer of moxie (and a creative personality).

For the Morrow interview, I’ll just give some of the questions. To enjoy the fun, interesting answers, you’ll just have to visit the James Morrow website!

James Morrow Interviews James Morrow on
The Philosopher’s Apprentice

Q: Your new novel, The Philosopher’s Apprentice, has an intriguing title. Who is the philosopher and who is the apprentice?

Q: Does Mason succeed in giving Londa a moral compass?

Q: Why is Londa’s mind a blank slate?

Q: So what is The Philosopher’s Apprentice really about?

Q: Morality is a mystery?

Q: It sounds as if you’re a novelist who benefits from interacting with editors.

Q: Is that why you’ve described the book as a cross between Shaw’s Pygmalion and Nabokov’s Lolita?

Q: Your previous novel, The Last Witchfinder — which is quite a good book, by the way …

Q: The Last Witchfinder also centers on a teacher-student relationship. The heroine, Jennet Stearne, is tutored by her beloved Aunt Isobel in “natural philosophy,” that is, science.

Q: Those scenes, yes. What the heck is going on here? On one level, the immaculoids are sympathetic, but I don’t think of you as being in the “pro-life” camp. The Last Witchfinder was a very feminist novel.

Q: You’re avoiding the question, Morrow. By bringing those wretched immaculoids on stage, don’t you end up endorsing the anti-abortion position?

Q: You obviously have a taste for grandiose themes. Where does that come from?

Q: So, for you, novels are a good way to keep experts from impoverishing our minds?

Q: We’ve talked about Shaw and Nabokov as influences. One of your pre-publication critics, covering the book for Kirkus Reviews, notes that The Philosopher’s Apprentice also “tips its hat with style to Mary Shelley.”

Q: It’s always nice to meet a fellow geek.

Q: Somebody once remarked, “Henry James chewed more than he bit off.”

Q: Nevertheless, when you named your main character Londa Sabacthani, you were obviously trying for a symbolic effect. Her name evokes Jesus’s famous cry from the cross in Matthew 27:46.

Q: You’re lying.

Q: I’m afraid we’re out of time.

1 comment for “Art of the Self-Interview – Web Marketing for Book Authors

  1. June 19, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Author interviews himself/herself is a great idea and a tool you can use on your author web site’s media page. In addition to a print interview an audio interview is pretty much required so that producers can get a taste of how you’ll sound on the air. You can self interview with a friend or hire a media coach to produce a 3 – 10 minute segment for you!

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