Monday, March 14, 2011

Interviews or Reviews?

So, The Strange Man is out and I’m having a blast promoting it. I really like getting out there and pushing the product and talking it up. I’ve had some great reviews, and done some fun interviews and I’m discovering an interesting thing about myself that I always subconsciously understood but never fully realized.

I actually prefer interviews to reviews.

A review is so subjective. The Potential Consumer is reading another person's opinion of a certain product and therefore base their opinion, not on the product in question, but on another person’s interpretation of it. That seems really detached to me.

I’m not generally one who pays attention to reviews. Most of the movies I like are critically panned and would never, ever grace something like the Oscars. Don’t get me wrong--I’m eternally grateful for everyone who has reviewed my book and recognize that there are those who buy a book based on a trusted opinion. A good review is a wonderful thing, I’m just not--as a consumer--personally invested in reviews.

What I am interested in are interviews. Here’s a prime example, so prepare to be enlightened:

Folks I present to you...

Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

Yes, that’s a real movie. No, it’s not a very good movie. It’s ridiculous, cheesy, low budget, and to most, would fall in that “so bad it’s good” category. But, you know what? I’ve watched the commentary and the interviews with the makers of it--three brothers (the Chiodo Brothers) who are passionate about this project. To many, Killer Klowns might be considered a waste of film, but to these guys, it’s a boyhood dream come true, a love letter to their childhood. Listening to their intentions, their heart, their struggles to get it made, to see the care they took in crafting this movie, the unbridled joy and satisfaction they felt as they realized their dreams--suddenly I love Killer Klowns. I’m moved by it, in fact, because their passion for it has covered the blemishes of the imperfect movie and now I see art (though, I’ll admit it’s still not a “good movie” :p).

An interview, to me, is a product in and of itself. Only, in this case, the product is Me: The Writer. But instead of forming an opinion on my book secondhand--like they might from a review--the Potential Consumer can form their opinion of me in a very personal, one-on-one way. Maybe they’ll like me, understand my heart. Maybe that will prompt them to buy the book. The stories I write are usually scary and full of monsters and many have told me "That's not my kind of book." But, as they get to know me and see where I'm coming from, they give it a shot and discover that it is their kind of book, they just didn't know it yet. And, to me, that's the strength of an interview.

So, that leaves me curious how others feels. A question for readers: When considering purchasing a product (book, DVD, etc), what influences you more--a review or an interview with the creator/artist/whatever?

And, likewise to writers: Recognizing both are important, which do you prefer in regards to your own work--reviews or interviews?


cara said...

I guess I'd have to say, as a reader, I prefer the review. Only because it's readily available right under the book descriptions on most websites. I don't see interviews that often, unless they're tucked away in a printed magazine somewhere. Also, I have to mention that I'm not partial to interviews in general. They're often too long and drawn out and I usually get lost on the way to the heart of the discussion. The format is just too distracting for me to consume.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

I often read reviews, but like you, I go for the movies that the reviewers pan.

And I try not to read too many of the reviews of my own books. You cna't please all the people all the time, so I just write the story I feel compelled to write and go with it.

Jillian Kent said...

I like both, Greg. Yes, reviews are subjective, but I like to know what others are saying about a product. I also like interviews, a chance to see who wrote the book, and what they're like. I'm careful not to get caught up in really awful reviews of books or movies or music. I've loved things that never got good reviews and probably disliked some things that good reviews. It's all about personal taste.

Mike Dellosso said...

Greg, I'm with you 100%. I'd much rather be promoted with interviews than reviews, if the interview is done well. Reviews begin to sound the same after awhile (except those 1-star bombers that plaster you with "this is garbage!") but with interviews I can control the direction it takes by the way I respond to the questions, even if they're the same questions as the last interview. Also, like you said, with an interview I can share my heart behind my project, the reader gets to know ME and not just my book. Great post.

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar said...

I prefer interviews too. But it seems reviews happen more frequently because of influencers, etc., so they are probably the better marketing tool.