We business authors have several sources of content. There’s our own experience, of course. We learn a lot from the secondary source research and the surveys and studies we conduct ourselves. But the source with the most potential to make a book great is individual interviews.
I’ve been writing for business for more than forty years now. I’ve done hundreds of interviews and I’ve learned how powerful they can be.
I’m like most business authors. I’m not an investigative reporter or a police interrogator. I’m not trying to catch people in a lie or turn their words back upon them. I interview people because I want them to help me tell a story or explain something so the person who reads my book will benefit. That happens four ways.
Interviews are a direct source of facts and figures
When you interview experts you learn things that you won’t learn any other way. Experts have up-to-the-second knowledge of what’s happening in their field. They’ve usually got facts and figures and stories at the tip of their tongue.
Interviews are a source of interpretation
Experts know more than the facts. They also know which facts matter most and how they all work together. They can help you explain things in a way that your reader will understand.
Interviews are a source of stories and quotations
Stories are another way that experts know more than the facts. They’ll share stories that make your book come alive. And you’ll usually be able to pull great quotes from your interviews to help make your points.
Interviews can point you to more information
During an interview your subject is likely to mention books, articles, blog posts, web sites and other sources. Get the details so you can follow up.
At the end of every interview, ask your subject who else you can talk with to learn more. They’ll often come up with names you didn’t know before. When you interview those people you’ll get even more to add value to your book.