Many of us listen to or read interviews with famous folk, on-line, in magazines or the Sunday supplements. The ‘author interview’ is a staple page filler, especially when the author in question has a new book to sell and the magazine editor wants copy. The more famous the author, the greater the likely interest generated. Throw in a few artful photos and the mutually supportive media machine rolls on. They sell magazines, you get publicity which helps sell books.
But what about us minnows? The unknown authors. No-one would want to interview us, right? Or so I thought…. Since publishing ‘The Village’ I have received unsolicited requests for interviews from two book bloggers and a local radio station ( and the interviews which followed were very interesting experiences , though I’m not sure how many people listen to Radio Wandsworth ). I have also been interviewed by a local ‘glossy’ magazine ( in part at my suggestion ) and will be being interviewed on Colombian radio in the New Year ( yes, Colombia in South America ). I didn’t understand that either, perhaps they’re confusing me with someone more famous, doubtless I’ll find out. There could be a story in this ( though maybe Graham Greene has already written it ).
All this is, in part, a result of the freedoms offered by the reducing cost of broadcasting technology, the move to ‘on-line’ broadcasting and the ever-increasing readiness of people to engage on the internet. It is easier than ever to set up your own on-line talk-radio station, or even TV station. Many web-sites carry video diaries or seminars and pod-casts of interviews, made using web-cams and Skype or similar, it’s not just YouTube. Just as old-style print editors needed copy, so new-style pod-casters need people to interview. Famous people charge and anyway, who’s to say that a relative unknown can’t be witty and interesting? (That’s not me I’m talking about, obviously. )
Before I wrote a book this was an unknown world to me. Now I wonder if I ought to be doing some interviewing myself? Many little-known authors interview each other. The interview has become a standard item for Face-book fan pages and author blogs. Already a small industry has grown up around interviewing and media. Media training is touted for authors ( thankfully I did this while a Civil Servant, being a media spokesperson for major change projects helped and the folk at Radio 4’s ‘Moneybox’ and ‘You and Yours’ kept asking me back, so I can’t have been that bad ). There are media subscription services which promise to promote the new author, for a consideration, and some, free, media listing services which circulate interview requests ( some of them bizarre and often of the ‘shock-jock’ variety, but not all ). I have found one or two possibles on Radio Guest List in the past, though I haven’t followed them up.
When The Story Bazaar gets an Author page I will utilise some of the interview copy which I already have. Until then I’ll just look forward to my Colombian experience. It’s all grist to the author’s self-publicising mill.