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Interviewing Best-Selling Writers: 1 Simple Tip

Atlin Merrick

One quick tip to help you interview best-selling writers

Can you even make a clickable link with the number one? I don't know. Everything nowadays is "5 Cool Tips!" and "14 Impossible Ways!"

But I just have one. One single tip for interviewing famous folks, and I'm not even going to tease out the answer, which is this:

Go and ask them.

That's what I did, I went and I asked.

See, I have a book on fanfiction coming out next year, and for it I hoped to get the opinions of successful writers who'd themselves written, or spoke well of, fic. I wanted the words of writers I follow online, of academics whose books I own, I wanted to ask specific questions I hadn’t seen answered elsewhere.

So I just decided to ask them.

If they had DMs open on Twitter, if they had a website with a ‘contact me’ form, I figured I had nothing to lose by just going to these places and asking my questions.

And they answered.

Not all of them, no; perhaps 30% replied. But do you know what that is? It’s 100% more than nothing.

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So whoever it is you’d like to talk to, whether it’s that actor speaking at a sci-fi con, a writer whose book reading you've attended, or a significant someone on Twitter who's always saying something cool…if they’re welcoming contact, contact them.

In this way I got to talk for with several best-selling writers; I got to interview the editor of the seminal work on fanfiction; I got quick quotes from people with big books and big Twitter followings. My own work is made stronger because I reached out, even though it felt like…"Well, I mean, why would they ever even talk to me?"

Sometimes they won’t.

Yet sometimes they will and that's what matters. But they can’t reply if you don’t ask.

So ask. Nicely and in the way they’ve made available – a DM on Twitter, a web form, in a chat following a con panel – make the approach, ask your questions.

Sometimes you get to talk to them for an hour, and sometimes you get the best answers, like the one I got from a successful writer who’s gonna take up publishing fic again.


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