Unexpected consequences of writing a book: Public appearances

Raymond Chen

One of the consequences of being a minor book author is that you can’t be a private person any more; you’re automatically a public personality. If somebody asks you for an interview, you can’t just reject it as a matter of principle. You’re now doing it not for yourself but in the service of your book. (Major authors might be able to get away with the whole “reclusive author” shtick, but you have to be pretty darn huge in order to pull it off.) This means that you’re going to see me popping up more often than before. Today, my interview with .Net Rocks! went up a week ahead of schedule. (I had originally planned to write up this introduction over the weekend, so this entry is a bit of a rush job. Notice that their schedule of upcoming interviews along the right hand side lists me for January 30th, not January 23rd.)

Interviews are exhausting because you’re not just having a friendly conversation. First, you have to prepare for it, thinking up some stories or at least preparing answers to likely questions. Of course, the answers you prepare rarely match the questions you receive, but you have to be ready for them anyway. The interview itself is an improv performance before a microphone. You and the interviewer (assuming the interviewer is friendly to your cause) are working together to produce entertainment and insight simultaneously. Meanwhile, everything you say is being recorded for posterity, so you have to run your brain’s “Should I say this?” filter on maximum power. There are no take-backs.


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