However, interviews and Q&A panels can be challenging, regardless of whether you are an introverted writer or a self-indulgent type. You also do not want to miss an opportunity to make a good impression because interviews are a chance to promote yourself and your work.
So here are five quick tips for participating in a successful interview.
1. Loud and Clear - when answering questions, you need to follow the same rules as when you are speaking at a spoken word event. Specifically, you need to be loud, clear, well-paced and make eye contact with the audience.
2. Short and Sweet - writers could talk for hours about writing (we are quite a vain bunch considering we are supposedly introverts) but short, relevant answers are the best. We all know that the second draft of a story is much shorter than the first and your answers should also be trimmed around the edges. It is even more important to provide short answers when part of an interview panel because everyone needs time to respond to the questions. Do not be selfish.
3. Be Prepared - you cannot predict all the questions that you will be asked but there are some questions that will always be asked. What do you write? Why do you write? How do you write? What is your favourite book? Who are your writing heroes? And, of course, that dreaded question: where do you get your ideas? You should therefore draft and re-draft answers for these questions so they are concise, insightful and maybe even a little funny. This will save you thinking on your feet and waffling.
4. Be Mindful of the Panel - spoken word events feature multiple writers which often means the post-performance interview will consist of a panel of writers. Writers should help other writers so refer to the other writers on the panel, discuss their work and feel free to ask them questions yourself. Intra-panel questions often make for lively discussion and helps get the ball rolling in case the audience are to shy to raise their hands.
5. Plug Away! - it would be a shame not to plug your latest projects, especially when you have a captive audience. Therefore, mention upcoming appearances and the next novel which you are hoping to publish. You may feel a little guilty for plugging away but writers need to become comfortable at self-promotion. Try and tie your plugs into an answer to make it seem more natural and less of a hard sell.