The Number of Questions to Ask in an Author Interview

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Many book reviewers expand their sites simply by incorporating author interviews. When they review a book, they also interview the author so if readers are interested in the book from the review they can learn more from the interview. But that can create a new problem in the mind of the interviewer. How many questions do you ask them? Is there a right number? Too little? Too many? Yes and no.

As you prepare to interview an author, keep in mind that it takes time to create the questions for the author. You need to read their book(s), research their personal information via websites, and check out their reviews. It takes more than a few minutes to create the questions to ask an author, well quality questions that result in interesting answers take time.

It also takes time to answer the questions presented to an author. It’s not easy to just whip out an answer. The question has to be read, and the answer thought out before it is laid out and answered. Some authors can easily answer a question while others take hours or days to answer one. Why? Because they want the answer to be right and to represent them as authors. Most authors take as much pride in their interviews as they do their published works.

So, how many do you ask?

Too little questions asked has the danger of being boring. You don’t want readers to barely start reading before they skip on to something else on another site. The desire is to entertain the reader and have them glad they stopped by. Too few questions does the opposite of that. Think about it. Do you like to read interviews that are only two or three questions long? It won’t get your attention, and won’t keep it either.

There can also be too many questions. Keep in mind that you are not writing a novel here. You are interviewing an author. Too many questions can be overwhelming and exhausting for the author to answer. It can also be daunting for the readers when they pull it up on their computer. In fact, they might just stop reading and go on to another site. Do you want that?

So, how many questions is perfect for an author interview? I’ve seen some promotional companies say to do no more than five questions. To be honest, I think that is too few. It doesn’t give the interviewer enough space to get some standard questions in as well as several creative and fun ones to help connect the reader to the author.

A good rule of thumb to follow is on average ten to fifteen (10–15) questions. This allows the interviewer to ask introductory type of questions as well as more detailed ones followed by easy closure ones. If you go too far above fifteen, you risk overwhelming the author and the reader. If you go too far below ten, you don’t allow room for an effective interview.

Also, you need to keep in mind that the more creative and fun questions you ask, the more questions in total you can have. Entertainment is the key. Can you keep them entertained?

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Writer for ten years, lover of education, and degrees in business, history, and English. Striving to become a Renassiance woman.

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