Click Here!
Article Sections: | Internet Marketing | Web Design | Web Development | Business | Internet and Businesses Online | Self Improvement |  
>> Home > Internet Marketing > Online Business II

How to Interview Your Way To Ebook Success

By Bonnie Lowe
Posted Sunday, January 2, 2005

Most “create-your-own-ebook” advice tells us to write about something we know or are interested in. That’s a good place to start, but it isn’t absolutely necessary. And if you follow the advice of successful Internet marketers – “find the market first, then develop your product” – it might not even be possible. For example, what if your market research tells you that an ebook about teaching ferrets to do tricks would be profitable, but you’ve never seen a ferret in your life?

The answer? Research. And part of that research can include interviews. If your initial research turns up the name of a noted ferret expert, for instance, an easy way to incorporate that person’s expertise and knowledge into your ebook is to interview him.

Here’s a step-by-step process for conducting effective interviews:

1. Decide WHO to interview. Make sure the person truly is an expert in the field and knows what he’s talking about. Contact him (preferably by phone) to see if he’s willing to do an interview. Let him know you’ll provide the questions in advance. Negotiate a deal that he’s agreeable with. Some will do interviews for free as long as you mention their name in your ebook. Some will expect to be paid a fee. Some will be want rights to sell the ebook you create. If you are unwilling or unable to provide what the expert wants, find another expert.

2. Determine the FOCUS of the interview. In our example, we’re interested in writing an ebook about teaching ferrets to do tricks, so we don’t care about their mating habits or the quality of their fur.

3. Once your focus is clearly defined, create your list of interview QUESTIONS. Keep your target audience in mind… what do THEY need to know? What answers are needed in your ebook to provide the readers with the information they’re looking for? In our example, our readers would probably want to know the best motivator for ferrets… is it food, petting, play, verbal praise? Put yourself in your readers’ shoes: if YOU wanted to know how to teach a ferret tricks, what questions would you ask of a ferret expert?

4. Determine the best METHOD for the interview. Interviews can be done in person, on the phone, or even via email. All are effective. Use the method your expert prefers.

5. SCHEDULE the interview. Make the time (and possibly the place, if doing this in person) convenient to your expert.

6. SEND your questions to your expert in advance of the actual interview. (Of course if the “interview” is being done via email, this isn’t necessary.) But be sure to let them know that other questions may arise during the interview. This allows you to gain two types of information from your interview: the prepared, carefully thought-out answers you need, AND the spontaneous, off-the-cuff remarks that will spice up your copy. If your expert balks at the idea of unknown questions, assure him that he will have final approval on his comments that are included in your ebook. Spontaneous questions are also possible with email interviews. Once you receive back the answers to the questions, read them over and think of a follow-up question or two… then CALL the expert and ask for clarification. NOTE: If doing interviews via email, always give them a deadline to reply back to you.

7. RECORD your interviews -- even if you take excellent notes!. There’s no substitute for being able to replay the comments as many times as needed to get an accurate transcription of what was said. Minicassette recorders are cheap, small and easy to carry around. If doing a telephone interview, there are inexpensive devices that connect the recorder to your phone. NOTE: Some states do not allow recording of telephone conversations without the knowledge and permission of those being recorded. Some people do not feel comfortable having their conversations recorded. Whether doing the interview by telephone or in person, it’s always best to ask permission to record it. Just tell them it helps you to get their comments as accurately as possible because your note-taking skills are lacking. Also tell them that they will have final approval of their comments used in your ebook. This will ease their reluctance to have the interview recorded.

8. TAKE NOTES of the interview -- even if you’re recording it! Never totally rely on a recorder… the batteries can die, the tape can wear out or end without auto-reversing, the telephone connector might be hooked up wrong, etc. Always get as much down manually as possible to back up your recording.

9. TRANSCRIBE your interview as soon as possible. (Again, email interviews do not apply). This is particularly critical if your recorder failed and you’re relying on your hastily scribbled notes – and your memory to decipher them!

10. INCORPORATE THE EXPERT’S COMMENTS into your ebook. This does not have to be done in the typical interview Q&A format, but that is easiest. How you incorporate the comments depends on the writing style of your ebook. (This article doesn’t go into that.)

11. PROVIDE THE FIRST DRAFT of your ebook to your expert and ask him to verify the accuracy of the information attributed to him. This is important. The last thing you want to do is misquote him or get some of the facts mixed up. Plus he may even provide additional useful information as he reviews your ebook. Another added bonus… by getting his approval, you’re gaining his trust. If you wish to do follow-up ebooks in the future on the same general topic, it’ll be easy to get this expert to assist you again.

12. MODIFY the draft to incorporate the expert’s comments.

13. FINALIZE and sell your ebook! (This is the really fun part!)

14. FULFILL YOUR AGREEMENT with the expert. Has he been paid? Did he receive his copy of the ebook? Even if he did the interview for free and asked for nothing in return, send him a free copy of the ebook along with a nice thank-you note.

See? You don’t have to be an expert or write only about what you know. Virtually anyone can write about anything with the right tools. For more information on how to write and sell your own ebooks, visit (

About theAuthor
Bonnie Lowe is an award-winning writer who has had thousands of articles published in both offline and online media.


Click Here!



  Articles are submitted to EDN and licensed from various content sites.
  To report abuse, copyright issues, article removals, please contact [violations (at@)]

  Copyright © Evrsoft Developer Network. Privacy policy - Link to Us

Contact Evrsoft