Decide on the topic for which you'll become the expert everyone seeks. Then follow these steps, and expect to devote more time than you anticipate. Do your homework first!
People LOVE to be interviewed, but keep it 10 minutes or less.
Do your homework first. You'll get five questions asked -- if you're lucky.
!!! Have them ready before you dial the number !!!
Interview the experts - the ones who know about the subject you want to write about. A journalist is known by his/her Rolodex of contacts.
- Ask, "Who KNOWS?" "Who is the expert?"
- Systemize your questions; entry level soft. Prime the pump.
- Expect to talk to the EXPERT 5-10 minutes on the phone. Don't be caught unprepared!
- Ask fast, effective questions only.
- If you're going for pertinent information that is only available from this one person, try for a personal interview.
A good guide for asking questions in their order of importance in an interview session is ranked by the amount of time you'll have:
- "Quickie" = #1, #2, #3. (Five to 10 minutes.)
- "Leisurely" = #3, #4, #1, #2, #5. (Fifteen to 30 minutes.)
- "Unlimited" = #7, #8, #5, #6, #4, #3, #1, #2, #9, #10. (Thirty minutes, upward.)
- If you have lots of time - Save the hardest and most controversial questions for last.
Look up books on the subject, in the library and online. To learn who are the EXPERTS, read the bibliography (generally in the back of the book)
Ø Make lateral researches to related fields.
Ø Target the TOP LIST OF EXPERTS in their FIELD. Then contact them with a prepared list of questions.
Ø Create a BRANCH of who knows what about your topic.
Ø To get an interview with the expert, ask the potential publisher of your piece to put you in touch with "..........." (who you've found in the bibliographies).
Ø Gain wisdom about EXPERTS by beginning with the least expert you know. Paul Garfinkel says, "I raise my level of intelligence exponentially."
Ø Bounce your questions from one expert after the other. Example, "So and so says... what do you think?"
Ø Get point and counterpoint so your story can reflect it..."Dr. so and so says.. (otherwise)."
You, the writer, become a chameleon, glomming onto gathered wisdom, and assimilating each scrap of knowledge you learn from each expert.
BUILD ON THE KNOWLEDGE BASE YOU'RE BUILDING... to the next higher-level expert until you, then, are The Expert!