Interview Advice & Guidelines

Written by: Sanguinarius
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  1. Make sure the interviewer is who s/he says s/he is are and what s/he claims to be. If they say they have a book contract, check with the publisher to see if they are telling the truth; ask the person to see a copy of their contract. If they say they are doing a story for a magazine, ask the magazine. If they are freelance, ask for their credentials, and try to verify these if possible. Do not rely on their word alone. Some people do lie.
    • Anybody can claim to be researching vampires, or writing a story or book or article. Some may be sincere; some may just be curious, telling you whatever they think you want to hear in order to get a story out of you, then disappearing with your info, never to be heard from again.
  2. Any agreements or arrangements that are made between you and them, get these in writing.
  3. Use a pseudonym, or get a guarantee that they won't use your real name (unless you wish them to, but I'd advise against that!).
  4. Also, –and I cannot stress this enough– get them to agree to allow you to:
    1. Look over the final draft of the interview, article, book, or whatever, or at least the parts that concern you, before it goes to publication
    2. To have the control over what is said about you, that you can offer suggestions for improvement (or better yet, require them to make appropriate changes) before publication, so that you are not misrepresented, or what you have said to them is not taken out of context, etc. Get them to agree to this in writing, before you do the interview. Otherwise, you may end up looking utterly stupid or ridiculous or insane! If they don't or won't agree to it, or if they hum and haw and try to weasel out of this, or if they say they can't do that, then do not agree to do the interview; they aren't the only fish in the sea.
  5. If they take pictures of you, make sure that you have control over the picture or pictures that they choose to use, as well as the layout or placement of the pictures. That may seem insignificant, but trust me on this. It CAN make a difference... *Sanguinarius winces* (In fact, that is one of the major reasons why I am interview shy...)
  6. If they have your best interests in mind, as they should, then they will be willing to work with you. Otherwise, they are just interested in exploiting you to get a story. If you want yourself to become a sensationalized freak, then contact the Enquirer or the Weekly World News type of tabloids...or talk shows such as Ricki Lake.
  7. Do not sell yourself out in your eagerness to be interviewed. In the long run, you will end up regretting it. What do you want? A bunch of interviews / stories / articles / profiles that make you look like an insane moron, or a handful of high-quality interviews, etc., that get you or your point across in a decent way?
  8. A nice thing: See if they would be willing to pay you, or at the very least, give you a copy or copies of the book, magazine issue, etc., that your interview, story, whatever, appears in. If not, well...that's life, but definitely try. :)

I've had three or four interviews, and blown off about five or six. Of those that I have done, one made it to a local paper, and that was a fiasco (ergh...); one fellow supposedly had a book contract, but he lied about that and after making a big splash, and getting all these people to pour out their life stories to him, just blew everyone off and dropped out; one was for a private publication, which ended up making a one or two sentence reference to me; and one was a part of a screening process for a private organization.

In fact, I completely blew off Tony Sokol a few years back, because I'd just recently been "screwed" by the fellow who claimed he had the book contract. They had both come "highly recommended" and were (supposedly) legitimate...and that point, that meant absolutely nothing to me. I'm babbling, so I will shut up before this turns into a rant. >:)