It's time for another one of these posts. At this moment in time I have twenty 5 Minutes With interviews sitting in my inbox. Many of them have been there for months, one of them has been there for almost six months. I'm now at the point where I don't think I'll ever get round to publishing them, I open them up and I just can't bring myself to take time out of my day to get them formatted. The reason for this is simple, they are just so dull.
Come on guys, you're supposed to be writers, spinners of tales, weavers of magic, Gods of the worlds that you create. You should be able to answer a few simple questions. You should be able to appear interesting.
It doesn't matter how good your writing is, if the first contact a reader makes with you is through an interview you did, that makes them want to stick their heads in an oven through sheer boredom, they won't buy your book.
Seeking out new readers is like one marathon speed dating session, you've only got a few minutes to make a good impression. If you come across as a sullen monosyllabic dullard, then you’re not going to get a date. There are thousands of potential dates out their all flexing their muscles, and flashing their pearly white teeth all in the hope that one of us will take you home and curl up in bed with you.
You have three avenues to engage with a reader, reviews, word of mouth and social media interaction. The first two are kind of out of your hands, unless you're into sock puppetry, or do something really amazing or something so terrible that everybody starts talking about you.
However YOUR social media presence is something you can shape and control. You have to engage a reader, whether through interesting and funny Facebook updates. Or through interviews and guest posts on review sites. How you come across is totally down to you. All we can do is add a little polish to your posts with a nice graphical touch here and a little bit of formatting pizazz. As the old saying goes we can't polish a turd.
Take a look back through some of the interviews and guest posts on my sites, you'll see the whole range from brilliant interview responses from the likes of Carole Johnstone, and Chantal Noordeloos, and some wonderful guest posts from the likes of Jasper Bark and Kit Power. See what they did them, they were interesting, funny, and talkative and above all they weren't dull. I can tell you right now that the viewing figures for these articles are huge. There a huge spike in my daily viewing figures on the days that they were posted. People talked about these articles, they shared them and looking at my Amazon Associate account they bought books.
I used to offer in-depth personalised interviews to ever author who asked for an interview. I've stopped doing that. The amount of research that goes into doing these is astronomical. I can't justify getting spending that amount of time on an author who replies to a question like "What do you think of the current state of the genre? With "it's alright" That's from the interview that has been sitting in my inbox for over six months. It's never going to get published, and I'll never get round to reviewing their book.
So please, please when you do an interview for any site, please try and be interesting. It will be worth it
And if you don't believe me here is an excellent post from Chantal that says the same thing, but much more eloquently than I ever could
Here is a small postscript to the original post.
While searching for SEO tips I came across this quote with regards to the ideal length of posts so that Google can discover your site. I like the quote as it pretty much sums up the feeling of this post.
If you can't write at length on a subject, then it probably doesn't merit its own page or post.
It turns out that the minimum recommended length for google to take notice is 600 words. Now I'll tweet share and talk about your posts as much as I possibly can, and this is something that you should also do. But the thing is this only gets so much coverage. Unless you are some big name horror writer, your each through fans will only get you so far. To maximise your potential reach for your interview or guest post you need to get into Google's mind. For the most part there is not much you can do from your end. I target my SEO for Horror and Horror Website, if there is any way in which you can incorporate these terms into your article then great.
Where you can help is by boosting the word count past 600, ideally 1000 and if you are feeling particularly eager 200 - 25000 is where Google really takes a liking to your post. (By the way Google is not stupid, adding a thousand random words will just get Google to penalize you). See even an emotionless algorithm can tell when you are being interesting. I told you it was important. When it comes to my interviews even the basic one has 382 words already written for you, so you really have no excuse to get some good quality interaction with Google.
Looking back over the last few months the articles that have had the biggest reach and the largest number of referring sites have been not from the most well known authors but from the ones who have been the most interesting.
So please if you want to maximise your reach put the effort in. Together we can rule the world.