I'm not Lady Gaga or anything, but I still get interviewed a few times a week (check out my press coverage), and I've quickly learned some secrets.
1. Be brief -- You can say 99 amazing insights. But that one stupid thing you say, that's the thing that will be quoted in the piece. (Like when I mockingly noted that I was going to "Get rich or die trying" here.) So, I guess, only say smart things, which is decreasingly hard to do the more things you say.
2. Be long -- A paradox, but not exactly. Like all of us, journalists can be lazy. So the more of their piece you can "write" for them, the easier it'll be for them. I've yet to completely ghostwrite both sides of an entire interview for a journalist, but I'm thinking about suggesting it next time. I enjoy talking to myself any ways because I'm an egomaniac that works alone all day.
3. Be well-edited -- Misspell a word in an email interview and good chance it'll appear in the final piece. Again, people are lazy and cutting and pasting your direct quote from your interview into their piece is what they'll most likely do. All the more embarrassing if they add a mocking (sic) behind your misspelled word or misstated fact.
4. Answer the questions you want to answer -- Donald Trump's brilliance is in turning any question into an answer to a question that was never asked but that he'd rather answer instead. "Why is your book selling so poorly?" the interview asks. "I'm being honored with a film festival for my short story collection this weekend!" you reply. They move onto the next question.
5. Butter them up -- Any question the interviewer asks, respond with, "Oh, good question!" before answering the same lame question you've been asked a zillion times. Sometimes, even extend the good. "Oh, gooooood question!" After the interview, tell them that was seriously the best interview you've ever had. Give them free shit. Copies of your book and what not. No one's going to blast a interview subject that loads them up with free shit.
6. Get them drunk -- Likewise, no one's going to have anything but positive things to say about a person that's fun to hang with. Bonus points if you get your interviewer so drunk that you flip the tables on them, start asking them questions which they answer in embarrassing fashion. By the next morning, they'll be certain to pen a beautiful piece on you, for abject fear that you could retaliate by writing something terrible about them.
7. Send along pics -- Writing pieces is easy enough, but increasingly in today's society, all people care about are the images. "Art" they call it in the journalism business. So attach a full photo set of you in various positions (none erotic) along with book cover images and what not. Almost a lock the interviewer will add them to the piece and now you've just one-upped all the other bozos that were interviewed but didn't include art.
8. Don't keep emailing them asking "When is this piece gonna run? Is it gonna run soon? When will it run?!!!" -- Makes you look like a pure rube. A cool writer would just pretend they have enough coverage to not care about a single piece here or there. "Oh, that interview with me finally ran in Time Magazine? I totally forgot about that..." you aloofly smirk before picking up 75 copies.
9. And, for the love of God, don't rip the finished piece -- Yes, when the piece is finally published, you're most likely gonna find that it sucks. Hardcore. It's gonna be poorly written, use the worst pull quotes, get basic facts wrong, and not even perhaps mention the product you wanted to pimp. What can I say? Most writers are shitty. Still, what you can't do, is link to the piece on Facebook or Twitter and add: "Here's an interview with me. The shitty fucking writer totally botched it." All that matters is the emotion of the piece. If it's favorable to you, nothing else matters. So, smile, be proud, and when your friends look at you askew and ask: "Did you really say, 'Get rich or die trying?' respond: 'You're goddamn right I did!'"
10. Pretend you're a media superstar the next time you beg someone to interview you -- If they don't believe you, just arrogantly say:
Any journalists, bloggers, podcasters, radio hosts, or just old fashioned yahoos with their own poorly-followed Tumblr that want to interview me--or have me ghostwrite their own interview of me--contact me at:
another kind of interview -- How to Fail at a Job Interview
upcoming...How to Not Feel Like an Idiot While on a Photo Shoot