Being asked for an interview is one of the highest forms of flattery, especially for an indie author. For a brief moment, it makes you feel like someone wants to hear what you have to say. Besides being an ego-driven platform, it’s also a great way to promote what you are doing. People get an idea of who you are by watching or reading your interview; it’s a great medium to connect with your audience or frighten them away forever. In April I received an invitation from Richy Emmans to take part in an interview for an online show he was creating called The Richy Show. This would be his first episode, and he had some fun ideas. His plan was to interview various guests he had met online while interjecting his own humor. I liked the idea, so I agreed.
Richy conducted the interview several weeks later, and I genuinely enjoyed the conversation, though, at times, it felt like the conversation drifted. He brought up marriage and sex a little more often than even I would have. This didn’t bother me, but if you’ve read my fantasy novels, you know that there isn’t any sex in them. (I don’t have an issue with discussing sex, or even writing about it, but I’ve never found an appropriate place for it in my books, so I didn’t always understand why the discussion went that way.) I did my best to steer the conversation back to writing and mid-life crisis. After an hour and a half, he had more than a few sound bites to work with.
Two weeks later, he messaged me on Twitter stating that he posted the video to YouTube and it was live. I clicked the link that brought me to a video called “Sex and Angst”. The title surprised me a little, but some of that content surprised me more.
Roughly, (whew, and some of it was rough) Richy broke down the video into six segments. It started with a monologue by Richy about how boring it is to have sex with your wife. To say my jaw dropped is an understatement, and I kept my fingers crossed that my wife hadn’t seen it yet! After several minutes of interview, he cut to more monologue that we’ll just call edgy. This went back and forth, with my interview time split between discussing Angst and those awkward conversations about sex.
I was at a loss, so shared it with friends. Those my age said, “That dude will do some damage. yeeeeouch…. I actually like the interview, it’s too bad because he asked good questions and seemed receptive.” I asked some younger friends, who also enjoy raunchy humor, they felt the same way.
Richy had thoughtfully asked for feedback. Rather than a knee-jerk reaction, I tried to provide what I feel many artists want – a critique. I sent him a polite email, sharing my original expectations and my friend’s concerns. I highlighted those parts of the interview that I liked, and pointed out that this was an opportunity to make jokes about getting older! It’s not that the other stuff wasn’t funny, it just didn’t fit the subject matter – so I mentioned that. I asked him to take it down, and if he was going to rework it I requested to see the results before releasing it into the wild.
He took down the show, and replaced it a few days later. The new version is a lot of fun. Not only does it highlight more about my writing, he included new monologues – and they are great!
This turned into a great learning experience. For future interviews, I’ll do a little more homework about the host, the medium, and the target audience. While Richy didn’t have any episodes posted yet, I could have asked more questions about his process and I could have asked to see it privately before release. Along those same lines, I emailed this blog post for his review before sharing it publicly.
The other has to do with critiques and feedback. Richy was awesome about the feedback I provided; it’s the same feedback I’m always looking for. I’ve blogged about reviews before, but there are a lot of craptacular ones out there. There is a tremendous difference between, “It’s the dumbest book I’ve ever read” and, “The first book was funnier” or, “Needs more character development”. (Those are actual critiques directed at me, and I’m very receptive to the friendly suggestions.)