Take the Misery Out of Your Interview

Take the Misery Out of Your Interview

There are many pitfalls on the creative road to success. How you beat these odds to gain respect and notoriety in the writing world is a herculean feat. Invariably others will want to know how you did it. This curiosity could come from a magazine with a desire to put your story in print.

I’m here today to give you a few tips on how you can take the misery out of your interview.

  1. Stay within the Guidelines: Often your Q&A will come with a set of instructions to follow when you return it. Read-them-closely. Follow them to the letter. If you need guidance, don’t be afraid to ask.
  2. Be succinct: Less is more. It is easy to go on and on and on in undigestable blocks of text. Feel free to gush out every thought in the draft process, but then go over every word to leave only those essential to your meaning. What one thinks is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, to the reader sounds windy and self-absorbed.
  3. Edit: It doesn’t cast you in the best light when bad grammar and misspellings litter every response. Do not depend on the one interviewing to comb through, correct errors, and follow up to make sure they guessed the correct intent. Submitting tightly-written and properly edited pieces will earn the undying gratitude of that journal, and others hoping for your input.
  4. Submit Only High-Quality Photos: You want this interview to snap. The flash will dull with photos of you and/or your book when the pictures are poor. It’s not the personal taste of the interviewer but if the graphic designer can use them. The specifications needed are listed in the guidelines. If you are unsure, ask.
  5. Be Brave and Fill in the Blanks: The interviewer is not in your head. If there was a particular person, trial, triumph, or epiphany that created the person you are today, but they fail to ask about it – ask them if you can fill in the blank. I urge those I interview to do that. Not only does it give their audience a full view of its subject, you don’t go away feeling something vital is missing.
  6. Abandon Ego: Do-not-take-everything-personally. If more information is needed, oblige. If the interviewer sees where fat needs to be trimmed, don’t take it as an insult. If the magazine needs better photos, it’s the quality of the photos – not your face. The journal you’re working with has an image and standard to uphold. All they want is to show you in the best possible light, and look professional doing it.

Other good tips are to stay on deadline. If an unforeseen event causes you to fall behind, immediately tell the magazine. We are all human, and in many cases, more time can be allowed. If you see an error in the interview once it’s published, politely send one email with the issue stated. It will be corrected if the Q&A is online. If it’s a print journal, I suggest more read-throughs and peers enlisted to fish out mistakes before it’s submitted. In the end both parties want a human appeal to an interview. Take the misery out of your interview by adding care and common sense to your creative mix.

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