If you’re not yet a recognized expert in your field, you will have to work a whole lot harder to get anyone to buy your book and/or trust in what you’re saying. But, get someone who is a recognized expert to agree to an interview for your book…and you’ve just considerably raised your chances of success.
Think about it…when you’re browsing titles at the bookstore and come across an author you’re not familiar with, don’t you do a little extra flipping through the book and/or checking out the competition before heading to the checkout? But if the book is endorsed by, or contains excerpts from, someone whose name you do recognize…well, that just ups your confidence in the book’s quality a bit, doesn’t it?
So, how do you get an interview?
Assuming that you aren’t up close and personal with any big names in your industry, you’ve got to get out there and solicit interviews from strangers, many of whom are insanely busy and many of whom have assistants (a.k.a. gatekeepers) that you have to get through first. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Make a list of 8-10 potential interviewees and get their contact information (email address or phone number) from their websites.
- Prepare a script so you can tell people why you want to interview Mr. or Ms. BigShot. (Yes, they will ask and no, secrecy won’t pique their interest…it will likely just spur eye-rolling and phone messages that “accidentally” find their way into trash bins.) Be honest: tell them that you’re writing a book in the expert’s area of specialty and think his or her opinion would greatly increase the value of your subject matter.
- Don’t forget to tell potential interviewees why they should give you their time. So you’re writing a book? Great. So is every other Tom, Dick, and Harry. But if you’re writing a book from a unique angle, or have an “in” with a publisher that can almost guarantee mass publicity for your chosen expert, tell him that.
If you can’t reach your expert’s office by phone and choose to email or snail mail a letter requesting their input, be sure to address it to your expert’s attention and get straight to the point of why you’re writing (and why they should care). As mentioned earlier, experts are busy people and don’t have time to wade through five paragraphs of beating around the bush…just come right out and state your intent and what you can offer in return for a set period (say, 15 minutes) of their time.
You may not snag every interview that you go after, but here’s the thing: you won’t know unless you try, and there’s not harm in at least giving it a shot. And hey…you just might meet a new friend, mentor, or biz associate in the process!
So how’s about it? Are you going after a few experts today?