I have made a conscientious effort to post three blog entries each week for the past couple of months. This is partly to impose some discipline in my blog postings and partly to practice keeping my prose tight in whatever I write. Mostly, it’s an effort to have new material I can tell people about on Facebook and Crimespace and Goodreads which might help them to remember I have a book coming out November 16. (Grind Joint, from Stark House? I may have mentioned it a time or two.)
I have learned that writing a blog is not unlike painting a fence: it’s much easier if you con others to do it for you. A third of all the posts I have to write between now and the end of the year will be written by others, submitting answers to interview questions as part of the Bouchercon project. (Running every Friday till the end of the year. The current installment features Judy Bobalik and Jon Jordan.)
I have done interviews before, of course, especially after reading a book I like. The problem there is, I often don’t read books until they have been available for a while, sometimes years. (Witness my recent “discovery” of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.) Then, by the time I get around to the interview, not only is the book no longer news, I’m lucky the author remembers writing it.
The long tail may be of more importance in this era of e-readers and perpetual availability, but that only goes so far. Authors need exposure most while the print book is still a blushing debutante in the public eye, and print media resources have substantially dried up for all but the most prominent. This blog may have dozens of readers, but the spider web effect means one never knows who may get their initial exposure to a new author because they stopped by for an unrelated reason. (Say, for example, to read a Bouchercon piece, and browsed a few others while they were here.)
My answer is to interview authors before I may have had a chance to read their books. Not a big deal; it’s done all the time. The trick is, what to ask them? The hoary standbys still apply: Who do you read? Who are your greatest influences? Do you outline or fly by the seat of you pants? Do you even wear pants when you write? What are you working on now? Those are gimmes.
There are others that apply to any book: Tell us about your book. Who would you cast in the leading roles when the movie gets made?
Those are all valid questions. I know, because I’d be interested in them; that’s why I asked. Blogs are not written solely for the owner’s personal satisfaction; at least they shouldn’t be. (I know some that are, and it’s a shame.) What’s more important is, what would you, Dear Reader, like to know about the authors I’ll interview and their new books?
That’s not a rhetorical question; I really want to know. I want to know so badly I’m offering a signed copy of Grind Joint as a reward for leaving a potential question in the Comments section below. Everyone who suggests a question for subsequent interviews will be entered into a drawing, one entry per suggestion, even if they’re all in the same comment, and whether I actually select that question for future interviews.
The deadline for consideration is 11:59 PM tomorrow, Tuesday, October 22. Check back on Wednesday to see who won, and to see how to make arrangements to have the book delivered.
Thanks in advance for your help, and good luck. It’s worth entering. The book doesn’t suck. Look what these nice people said at the top of the page. Those of you who know me at all know I’m too cheap to bribe them. That has to count for something.