My previous post on conducting interviews was largely addressed to inexperienced interviewers. Some of the comments on that post have me wondering what the point of conducting an interview is. For those who simply want to interview their favourite author and find out everything they always wanted to know then that’s your point right there. But I get the impression from quite a few of these interviews that they exist because the blogger feels that that’s what you should do on a blog about books. As you can imagine that does not usually make for a good interview.
I also wonder if people run interviews on their blog because they think it will increase traffic.1 Especially if the author includes a link to the interview on their own site. However, if the interview is not very interesting, i.e. includes those generic questions I was talking about in the previous post, that traffic will be fleeting. Hardcore fans of the author won’t be interested.
Also I’m not convinced that people are particularly interested in interviews. Looking at my site stats, I can tell you that my interview page is probably the least trafficked page on the site. I suspect that many people, even those who love books and have many favourite authors, are uninterested in reading interviews. Unless those interviews are amazing. I know that’s how I feel. I have zero interest, unless the interview is on a topic that I care about, or is with someone I’m interested in who is rarely interviewed.
The book blogs I like best are full of excellent discussion of books. Opinions about the business, trends, books, authors and readers. One of my favourite recent posts was Miss Attitude’s passionate call for a greater variety of YA African-American historicals—ones not about slavery or the civil rights movement. That post generated a great deal of discussion and, I hope, some authors taking up her challenge.
What I’m trying to say is that interviews may seem like an easy way to create content and generate traffic, but they’re not either. A good interview is very hard to do and even then is unlikely to generate much traffic. I’ve conducted two interviews on this blog: one with Doret Canton about YA & girls playing sport and one with John Green about lying. Neither generated much traffic. Fortunately, I didn’t do them for the traffic, but for the fun of talking to two very smart people about two very interesting topics.
I would love to see bloggers doing as Ari and all my other favourite book bloggers do—writing about what they feel passionate about and conducting interviews not because they feel they must, but because they want to add to the conversation on their blog.
I’m sure there is varying mileage out there, feel free to share.
- Part of why I suspect this is the blogger whose interview request also asked if I would link to the completed interview. [↩]