Interviewing Authors by Tim Knox

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I have been away awhile. I hadn’t even realized it had been 3 months. Life gets busy and often in the way! A couple of months ago, I received an email from a gentleman by the name of Tim Knox. Tim, like me is an entrepreneur, but, unlike me, happens to also be an indie author. Tim had informed me that he had been given my name by an author that both of us know and that he was interested in interview me for a new show that he was launching called INTERVIEWING AUTHORS. I was immediately intrigued for several reasons. First, he had lined up an interview with someone I consider to be a guru of personal finance, Larry Winget. I read everything I can get my hands on by this guy and watch everything he appears on.  Second, Tim’s mission for the show is similar to the goal of The Author CEO, which is to educate indie authors on the business side of bringing their book to market.  This often includes utilizing best practices of those in the industry who have navigated the rough terrain of the publishing world and have successfully brought a book to market. Third, I love his format. He uses a radio/podcast format so listeners get to hear and absorb what the interviewee is saying. Furthermore, Tim opens it up to all aspects including business, writing process, roads to success, etc.  My motto is education is key. Interviewing Authors is just one more tool in that toolbox that every indie author needs for navigating the business side of the indie market! So, as our schedules match up, be sure to watch for The Author CEO on Interviewing Authors. In the meantime, check out Tim’s show.

 

How Being Nosy Led To The Launch of Interviewing Authors

Tim-Radio-2I’m often asked what prompted me to launch the popular Internet-based, talk radio show, Interviewing Authors.  It wasn’t because I’m particularly enamored of my own voice or that I’m particularly gifted at asking questions others want answered.  The fact of the matter is I launched Interviewing Authors because I was, in a word, nosy.

You see, I’m an old entrepreneur and as such, believe that success in any endeavor stems from a system of process and execution, meaning that a series of actions, reactions, and interactions, when skillfully executed, typically results in the outcome desired.

I believed, and still do, that successful authorship is a result of such a process and execution, mixed in with a good amount of talent, a decent sense of timing, and a whole lot of luck (luck being when action and opportunity collide).

I wanted to know how successful authors became successful authors.  I wanted to know how authors who sell a ton of books sell a ton of books.

I wanted to know how John Grisham went from selling copy center books out of the trunk of his car to being one of the bestselling authors of all time.

I wanted to know how Hugh Howey went from being a yacht captain to the king of self publishing.

I wanted to know how Russell Blake churns out a new novel every 4 to 6 weeks.

I wanted to know the path they followed, the process they executed.  I wanted to know their thought processes, their tactics, their strategies.

I wanted to know their secrets.

And I wanted to know all this for one simple reason: so I could replicate their model.

Here’s how it all began.

Back in 2007, I wrote a small business advice book called Everything I Know About Business I Learned From My Mama: A Down-Home Approach To Business and Personal Success.

The book was basically an edited compilation of some of the articles I’d written for my syndicated newspaper advice column over the past five years.  I had written over 300 columns and had an abundance of content to work with, so it was a fairly easy book to produce.

Once I had the manuscript in what I considered a presentable condition, I researched the publishing process and concluded that all I needed was a good agent, who would sell the book to a large publisher for a fat advance.  How difficult could that be?  Fortunately for me, it wasn’t difficult at all (see reference to luck above).

I went to a writer’s convention where I knew agents would be.  I met, schmoozed, and signed with an agent at the convention.  He sold the book to a large publisher (John Wiley & Sons) the following week, I got my fat advance check, and some six months later the book hit the store shelves.

As most new authors discover, the publisher, while doing a great job of printing and distributing the book, did very little to market the book, but thanks to my own marketing efforts and connections the book sold moderately well.  I did a little book tour around the southeast, did a few book signings in large bookstores, launched a speaking platform, and milked it for all it was worth over the next few years.

Then my ADD kicked in.  I grew tired of the whole process, so I went off to mark other things off my bucket list.  I stopped writing the newspaper column, stopped speaking at events, stopped peddling books, and completely forgot about the publishing business.

In fact, I didn’t write anything else for several years.  Not a book, blog post, or article.  The well was dry.

Then, a couple of years ago, while watching a reality TV show (I forget which one) I had the spark of an idea for a novel about a reality show where the guests actually die.

The spark became a wildfire and within six months I had a finished novel called Angel of Mercy.   I attempted to repeat the process that had worked so well with my first book, but this time the outcome was far different.

I queried agent after agent after agent and over the next few months collected enough rejection letters to paper my master bath.  No publisher would talk to me without an agent.  It was the classic author Catch 22: publishers won’t read your manuscript unless it comes from an agent, but your chances of getting an agent are slim to none.

Then it finally hit me.  I had to publish the book on my own if it was ever going to be read by anyone other than my mother and a handful of Facebook friends.

The only hitch: I had no idea how to publish a book.  I had no idea how to build a brand as a fiction author.  I had no idea how to attract a following.  And worst of all, I had no idea how to convince eager readers to give me their hard-earned money.

So I got nosy.

Rather than reinvent the wheel I started researching authors who had already accomplished what I wanted to accomplish.  I wanted to learn how they became successfully self-published authors so I could replicate their process.

The problem was, I couldn’t find the level of information I wanted.  I didn’t care that they had gotten from point A to point Z.  I wanted to know how they got from point A to Z.

Don’t just tell me that you sold 1,000 books last year and 100,000 books this year.  Dammit, tell me how you did it.  Lay out the steps for me.  Give me your process and execution.  Tell me what worked and what didn’t.  Come on, man, help a brother out…

Hampering my research further is the fact that I’m an audiophile.  I’ve hosted talk radio shows for years and was an early podcaster.  I didn’t want to read about authors’ accomplishments.  I wanted to hear how they did it; from their lips to my ear; their journey described in their words; warts and all.

So I went in search of podcasts and radio shows that featured interviews with authors.  Surely there were programs out there that had the information I wanted in the format I liked, but I found no such program that gave me what I wanted.

I didn’t want 45 minutes of an elderly author reading the first chapter of his book.  I can read the damn book.  I wanted to know how he came up with the idea for that book; how he published that book, how he developed memorable characters, how he built an audience that’s lasted forty years, how he’s making money now.

Again, I could find no such program to give me the inside information I wanted.

So, I decided to create one.

A short time later the Interviewing Authors podcast debuted with two authors that I had a personal connection with (that’s how they became my first guests).

My first interview was with bestselling author and adventurer, Homer Hickam, author of The Rocket Boys, The Coalwood Way, and many other great fiction and nonfiction books.

My second interview was with six-time NY Times bestselling author and television personality, Larry Winget, whom I had met during my time as a corporate speaker and remained friends with.

And from there the rest, as they say, is history.

Now, just a few short months later, I have interviewed over four dozen authors across all genres and sales levels on the topics of writing, editing, publishing, and marketing their work.

And thanks to the willingness of my guests to refer their peers, my interview schedule is now booked months in advance with amazing guests.

I’ve interviewed the likes of Outlander author Diana Gabaldon (20,000,000 books sold), eleven-time NY Times bestselling author Joseph Finder, self-publishing phenom Hugh Howey, legendary Playboy interviewer and biographer to the stars Lawrence Grobel, and the list goes on and on.

And most importantly, I’ve made some great friends and learned a lot from them; inside knowledge that I can now use to create my own success as an author.

That’s right, they’ve shared with me their secrets, strategies, methods, and tactics for becoming incredibly successful authors.

And here’s the really cool thing.

They’ll also share it with you.

Just visit InterviewingAuthors.com and listen.

Comment here!

Comments

  1. Wow, awesome article! I a off to post a link on my Facebook page and tweeting to share with other. Tim Knoz is an awesome interviewer, but I didn’t realize he is also an Indie Author. I’ll also spread the word on Angel of Mercy.

  2. You ladies are gonna make me blush….

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