Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Being Interviewed (Part 6 of 12)

Focus on the questions for the interview. When I work with other authors, there are a few tips I offer.

1. Don't use yes-or-no questions. Once asked, you mumble the single word and the question is over.

2. Ask open-ended questions. Especially ask the kind that will enable you to tell a brief story. (By brief, I mean about 30 seconds on a story.)

The most obvious questions to elicit stories are:

* Why did you write this book?

* What was the most significant lesson you learned from your experience (or book)?

* What do you want readers to learn from your book?

* How did writing this book change your life?

3. Ask questions that will show your humanity and not only your successes. People identify with writers who fail (even repeatedly) before they finally win.

After writing Aging Is an Attitude, in my questions to the host, one of them was, "Why did you write this book?”

Here's my answer: "I was getting older and I didn’t like it. The ads on TV showed older adults as diseased, constipated, or not very bright. I wanted to discover the good things about getting older. And there are many."

Those last four words usually led the host into following up with, "What are some of the advantages of aging?"

I said I asked 100 people over 50 to give me one positive fact about aging—hoping I'd get at least a dozen responses. Every person responded, often with several good answers.

Did you notice that the why question led to a story and so did the follow-up question? Stories are strong. Use them as much as you can.

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