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 advice of successful Internet marketers – “find 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 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 person truly is an expert in 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 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 ebook you create. If you are unwilling or unable to provide what expert wants, find another expert.
2. Determine FOCUS of 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 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 readers with information they’re looking for? In our example, our readers would probably want to know 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 best METHOD for interview. Interviews can be done in person, on phone, or even via email. All are effective. Use method your expert prefers.
5. SCHEDULE interview. Make time (and possibly place, if doing this in person) convenient to your expert.
6. SEND your questions to your expert in advance of actual interview. (Of course if “interview” is being done via email, this isn’t necessary.) But be sure to let them know that other questions may arise during interview. This allows you to gain two types of information from your interview: prepared, carefully thought-out answers you need, AND spontaneous, off-the-cuff remarks that will spice up your copy. If your expert balks at 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 answers to questions, read them over and think of a follow-up question or two… then CALL expert and ask for clarification. NOTE: If doing interviews via email, always give them a deadline to reply back to you.