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oshun
03-01-2008, 06:58 PM
I'm developing an idea for a book dealing with Black women, education, and upward mobility. The form I'm thinking of is part research/part self-help with the structure driven from interviews with "successful" Black women.

I have an academic background in this general area (ph.D.-to-be), I've done interviews before in a research-y sense, but assuming this idea is viable, how does one go about finding interviewees? Are there ethical/professional guidelines to follow in the nonfiction writing world? I'm already familiar with those from an academic research perspective. I also have access to a network of people to draw from, but I'm not sure about the procedure...

Do interviewees get paid for their participation? Coming from a research perspective, is it "valid" to have friends recommend friends to interview, for example? How does the publishing world look at this?

Sorry, I have a lot of questions. I'm really new to the forum, and I'm sure more will be coming up shortly. :laugh:

angieMK
03-01-2008, 08:20 PM
My book is similar as far as interviewing -- I interviewed over 50 people for inclusion in the book.

Here's my process...

If I interviewed someone for their personal experience, in order to illustrate a concept/theory, then I had them sign a legal waiver giving me the right to reprint their words without having to pay them. I would then insert their story into the text in a box, so that it was clear that I was directly quoting someone I'd interviewed.

If I was interviewing an expert, then I would just take notes during the interview, and then write it into the text however I needed to. I didn't have them sign waivers. It's free publicity for them, and unless they were actually contributing sections of written word to your manuscript, they don't receive payment.

If you're just worried about how it will look if you only interviewed your circle of friends, then I would say you need to branch out and contact women at other universities and companies. I've found that by sending someone a contact email, and stating that I'm working on a book "XYZ" and would like to interview them, the response is positive.

oshun
03-02-2008, 06:20 PM
My book is similar as far as interviewing -- I interviewed over 50 people for inclusion in the book.

Here's my process...

If I interviewed someone for their personal experience, in order to illustrate a concept/theory, then I had them sign a legal waiver giving me the right to reprint their words without having to pay them. I would then insert their story into the text in a box, so that it was clear that I was directly quoting someone I'd interviewed.

If I was interviewing an expert, then I would just take notes during the interview, and then write it into the text however I needed to. I didn't have them sign waivers. It's free publicity for them, and unless they were actually contributing sections of written word to your manuscript, they don't receive payment.

If you're just worried about how it will look if you only interviewed your circle of friends, then I would say you need to branch out and contact women at other universities and companies. I've found that by sending someone a contact email, and stating that I'm working on a book "XYZ" and would like to interview them, the response is positive.

Awwww nice! Thanks, this is REALLY helpful. I truly wasn't sure how to go about this in the writing world. All of my previous interviews have been done in an academic research-y type of way and everyone was compensated in some way, either monetarily or through class credit. I feel better now knowing that I won't necessarily have to cough up money. :ROFL:


Just a few more questions... Did you also audiotape and transcribe the interviews? Or just take notes? Did you have a lawyer draw up the waiver?

SHBueche
03-02-2008, 08:27 PM
I have never heard of interviewees being paid, perhaps they will get a copy of the book when it is done, but that is about all. An excellent source for interviews is PR newswire (profnet.com), also check out associations and groups that specialize in the area you are researching. Good luck, sounds like an ideal topic.

SHBueche
03-02-2008, 08:29 PM
One more thing ... you might post this exact message at the story research forum, with Absolute Write. Also, check out Writers Weekly (writersweekly.com) they have an interview forum.

HeronW
03-02-2008, 10:01 PM
Also, ask those who do consent to be interviewed if they could pass on your email to others whom they think might be interested. This could widen your base too. Ask your local colleges, large businesses etc. if you could post a request on the university/company news site/bulletin board, or even tear off strips with your email or tel in shopping malls, universities, etc.

angieMK
03-03-2008, 05:58 AM
We got a standard copyright waiver from a publisher, and just had an attorney go over the wording. This was to make sure that people couldn't sue us for money after they told us we could use their story. Just to cover ourselves.

I didn't audiotape interviews - but I wrote down my questions beforehand and took lots of notes during the interview.
Then when I got off the phone I sat down and typed EVERYTHING into a word document so I could reference it later and not forget all the details.

That's just what I did - not sure if it's how everyone does things, since I'm a newbie at this too!

oshun
03-03-2008, 07:00 PM
I have never heard of interviewees being paid, perhaps they will get a copy of the book when it is done, but that is about all. An excellent source for interviews is PR newswire (profnet.com), also check out associations and groups that specialize in the area you are researching. Good luck, sounds like an ideal topic.

Now this is a great idea that I hadn't yet considered. Thanks for the suggestion. I will use this.

oshun
03-03-2008, 07:01 PM
One more thing ... you might post this exact message at the story research forum, with Absolute Write. Also, check out Writers Weekly (writersweekly.com) they have an interview forum.

Ooooh, thanks, I surely will!

cpickett
03-04-2008, 05:15 AM
You've gotten some good advice so far, and just to reiterate, interviewees are not compensated in the general writing world other than copies or something similar. They are agreeing to participate in order to be helpful, get some publicity for themselves etc. If this isn't enough, move on.

Also, be prepared for some to ask if they can see what you've written before you submit it. Many writers handle this issue like this: I'd be happy to double check facts with you before I submit them, but standard practice for most editors/publishers is that works in progress are kept confidential. Thank you for your understanding.

If they still balk, it isn't worth the hassle, again, politely move on.

As for finding people I would just add the following resource: There is a website called http://www.parapublishing.com There are two free monthly newsletters, Para Marketplace is all about author requests and you can ask for interviews, reviews etc.

Best of luck.