Turning the Tables – Alex Laybourne Interviews Nick Wale

I first met my guest today a few months ago on Facebook. We were introduced by a mutual friend. At the time I was looking for someone to help me get some interest in my novel which had just been released. I started chatting with Nick, and it soon became apparent that he was a man that had a plan, and was going places. In the time since, we have chatted often, and he never fails to amaze me with his hard work, and great interviews. Maybe that is why I am so happy that I have gotten this interview, for the chance to put him on the spot for a change.

 This was my first ever live interview, and I could not think of a better first person to talk with. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… Nick Wale


 Who is Nick Wale?

Nick Wale is a guy who decided to create a free blog and then turn it into a business. He found some writers, interviewed them, decided the process was fun and made himself a writer for other writers.


You look a little sleepy, has it been a long day?

Sorry, Alex. I just woke up!


Just woke up? It is seven in the evening. Was it a late night or did you have a nap?

I was working all night interviewing and editing. Sometimes, I find myself doing five, six or even seven interviews in a row. It’s a good thing I’m a night owl.


That would explain how we always overlap each other on Facebook.

We usually find ourselves talking at 4am– you’re the early bird and I’m the owl.


We make quite the team, 24-hour coverage.

Indeed! Writers need never worry about interviews again.

we’ve got them covered.


Would you say that you hold somewhat irregular sleeping hours?

Yeah, I do if you are thinking in terms of England. Since most of my clients are in the US, I accommodate my schedule to best suit them. I’m around when they have finished dinner and are most likely to have the time to work on getting their book promoted.


You are far more used to being on this side of the pen. How does it feel to be having the questions fired at you?

Well, a lot of the pressure is off. It’s easier to answer the questions than think of them on the spot. Although, frankly, I think you are doing a great job! How does it feel to be interviewing live? Have you got into the groove?

 I think I am getting there. You’re right that I normally email my questions. I must admit that there is something special about a live interview.


A good interview should be fluid. When you are talking to somebody you need to be prepared to take the interview in any number of directions depending on the answers received, so that you don’t get caught flat-footed, do you agree? Are live interviews the way to go?

If it wasn’t for the busy schedule of writers I’d say. it’s the only way to go. It’s an art! You have to keep a writer’s interest– be direct and to the point. Do your research and come well prepared. You can’t cheat time– you can’t repair typos– if you are doing a live interview the heat is on… Pressure? Yes.  Fun? Always.


It clearly sounds as though you love what you do.

It’s something every blogger does to some extent – it gets you exposure, hits, it gives you an audience. I just happened to become an interviewer rather than a fiction writer. I love meeting people, connecting, networking; that is the word of the day. You don’t know where it will lead you.


The power of networking is something that I can certainly attest to. Do you find it strange that so many people struggle with networking, even in today’s social media age?

No, not at all. The social media age is pretty complex when you think about it. It’s a huge thing and it has to be explored fully to get the most out of it. I think as a writer you need to be at least able to use some elements of social media—at least Facebook or Twitter? But, if you want to take advantage of the biggest market in the world, you need to sit down and learn all the facets of social media and exploit them.

When used effectively, I believe it can take a book from 0 sales to 10,000 overnight if used properly.


So you would agree that now is a great time in history to be a writer.

Actually, it’s the most difficult time to be a writer in some ways. It seems like the whole world is writing a book. Right now, to get noticed, you need to really make use of every tool in the PR tool box. Saying that– it is amazing that anyone can write a book and have it on sale within a few days… I think we may well see the return of the novella! Short stories are coming back and being sold weekly!


Short fiction does seem to be making a comeback and I, for one, am all for it.

I know! How are your short stories doing?

 They are doing very well, thank you. I just finished the fifth one in my series today.


You are a young gun, you just turned 23 last week right? Yet, here you are making a name for yourself as an interviewer. Have you always been more of the wise and mature sort of character?

Yes, I turned 23 last Saturday. I’m Aquarius which is ideal for an interviewer. I am also a pretty old soul which gives me an edge. I can pretty much work with anyone and hold my own. I’ve never been the stereotype of my generation. I’ve always been a few steps ahead and looking in new directions. I get a lot of people who say, “You’re 23?”

So, yes, I’d have to say I’ve always been a little older than my real age.


Twenty-three years old and already you have been crowned the King of Interviewers. Who was it that bestowed the title upon you?

(Laughs) Eve Littlepage, who wrote a fascinating book called “Celestial Bodies” decided I was “King of Author Interviews”… I think it’s rather funny actually. I’m just glad people enjoy my work to such an extent!


So, you don’t feel any added pressure from the title?

Well there’s always pressure from titles.. But it’s not a widely known title and I can normally laugh it off. I’m just a guy doing good work and enjoying himself.


Let’s talk about interviewing a little bit. You need to build up a good rapport with your client, right?

Yes, if possible it’s always best to chat with a writer first and work out his/ her personality. You need to fit in with the way the writer thinks and try to make them as comfortable as possible. You can only really get good rapport if you can get them onside. That means no sharking around– you need to ask good questions that lead to good answers. It doesn’t happen every time, and that’s when you ‘can’ the interview and rebook it.


Have you had to ‘can’ an interview before because the timing and ‘banter’ was just not there?

Sure, plenty of times. The first instance was with a writer who was so drunk they just gave endless “eeeeeeeeeeee” answers. I’ve also done interviews where answers I got were just yes or no, and nothing else. You can’t publish an interview with twelve yes or no answers.


A drunk author? I bet that won’t be the last time you encounter such a problem

Hey – everyone gets drunk sometimes, feels angry or has a bad day. Normally, you can calm a writer down by asking good questions and taking their mind off their problems. Sometimes, however, it just doesn’t work, and it is easier to break away and arrange a later date.

My advice is don’t drink and interview! 🙂


Take us through the process. How do you prepare for an interview?

I always chat at length with a writer beforehand and learn about them. I try never to over-prepare. I like the writer to sell his/ her books to me. I always start with the usual questions – just to build the overall quality of the interview – then I just wander off and explore those wonderfully creative minds! There’s so much to see and learn.


Is that why so many of your interviews are with writers? The creativity that is there waiting to be explored.

Yes, exactly. Writers are the most fascinating people to me. Each has a distinctive and wonderful style – each tells stories and makes new worlds just through thought. That to me is fascinating – by interviewing them, I can learn how the magic happens. When writers start doing their thing, the magic flows and when you start interviewing a writer that same magic flows onto the page. It’s a wonderful feeling to read back over an interview and think WOW He/she answered those questions in THAT way! How original!


You have mentioned to me in the past the editing is the key to a successful live interview. How long does it take for you to edit an interview and bring it live onto your website http://www.nickwale.org?

 Well, I do the first edit to tighten an interview up. Then it goes to my proofreader to correct all possible punctuation and grammar errors. Then I write the blurbs, add appropriate photos and publish. It’s usually a fair few hours between the end of an interview and the finished property. I learnt to take my time and learn the art! You can’t cheat the words!

It helps that LoriAnn is an excellent proofreader!


Tell me, what is it like working with your wife-to-be? The two of you are, for want of a better word, business partners after all.

LoriAnn is a perfectionist, and she’s a real grammar demon. I mean, she’s been an English teacher and has all the English qualifications you can ask for. I’m more of a freewheeling soul– so I’m sure I infuriate her at times. She will work for hours editing something and I’ll rewrite the whole piece and present her with a further few hours of work. The thing is, Alex, she’s much smarter than I am and that is why she’s the proofreader and I’m the interviewer!

Working with your wife-to-be is a wonderful experience; we can depend on each other. It’s wonderful and the connection we share astounds me.


It sounds like the perfect relationship in both life and business.

You know how it is, Alex! It’s a partnership! You have to share and give, you love one another and argue at times– but it’s always wonderful.


Speaking of your business, you have just started charging for interviews and other promotional services. How has the response been to this?

Well, I’ve always charged for interviews because I invest so much time into them. I professionally cater to writers and promote all interviews to a vast audience. It’s a full time job. The response has always been the same. 90% of writers love it and have no complaints because they want results; 5% can’t afford the 20 bucks and we work out a deal; and 5% think I’m a shark. It’s the way of the world. Most writers believe in paying for a service, and for the prices I charge who is really going to complain? What is 20 bucks? When the end result is a professionally written and edited interview, with promotion to a vast audience… it’s nothing!


That is true, and you do deliver a consistently great quality of work. Well done on that, by the way.

Thanks, Alex! Well, I know you’ll move into the paid interviews soon! We’ve already discussed it and I think you have the right ideas.

It is something that I am toying with the idea of I will admit. It would help pay the bills.


So what are your plans? Where do you see Nickwale.org and Novel Ideas heading?

We have just diversified and created “Nick Wale presents Hot Books”. This is a new service that gives writers a place to advertise their books. It’s a dollar a day and it’s taking off. People read the interviews and click over to Hot Books and buy the novel. It’s a simple process. I’ve been making deals all week to get authors from all genres and walks of life onto our “Hot Books” service. As regards interviews, I have emails everyday requesting my services. Business is booming and I’m excited about the future.

I do have another idea already in my mind. I want to start an online magazine and pay writers for content. I think it will be a great way for writers to make money from their work. I hope to take that even further and create a printed magazine and one day maybe even a publishing house. Writers have to eat and it’s about time someone made it possible for every writer to do so full time. Too many writers are working 9-5 jobs they hate just to pay the bills. In my opinion, writers should be writing.

 I couldn’t agree with you more. I work 9-5 and write in my free time. While I enjoy my job, I feel… caged.


 It certainly sounds like you have your head screwed on right and you have some big plans. I like the phrase ‘Aim big or go home’ and you seem to have that mastered.

That’s exactly how it is Alex! “Aim big,” nobody else will aim big for you! I’ve been unemployed, employed, broke, and affluent. All have pros and cons and none beat living your dream. A friend of mine, writer Don Keith, told me once, “You can’t please everybody– so you’ve got to please yourself.” You know what? He was right.


You are writing a book on Marketing at the moment.

I am indeed! It centers on the use of social media. I believe all writers can use social media to sell more books than they can imagine. Again, it is all down to networking. You need to meet bloggers, find a market and seek out new avenues. You need to sell yourself and then your books will sell. People buy into you as a writer first and then buy the books. I want people to start using social media in a way nobody has used it before. It’s one huge market and it needs to be tapped.


So many people seem to direct their marketing plan to the US based audience that they forget about the other countries out there. Being based in the UK, do you make it a point to advise people not to forget the rest of the world?

I think the US is a huge market but US writers are breaking it, too Many US writers want UK and European sales. I think the home turf should be conquered first. Let’s get the European market, the UK market, the Australian market covered. Let’s sell books instead of wasting time trying to break into a market so vast AND inundated. I believe people DO forget the home markets and that’s a mistake. The UK is a big book market and publishers like Salgad are making headway. So, let’s all look at where the market has room and get those books sold!


Being based in the UK do you feel that gives are a more rounded view on global marketing opportunities?

Yes! I do believe I have a more rounded view. I’ve travelled extensively and I know that people read books the world over. If they read books– they buy books, and if they buy books– they’re quite likely to buy yours!


Well, that about sums it up Nick. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me tonight.

 No problem, Alex. I am a huge fan of your work and I’d just like to say that you have a great writing style.


Thanks, now I am off to conquer that home market!


You can find out more about Nick or to read some of his amazing interviews, check out his website www.Nickwale.org. He also offers a wide range of author publicity services at very reasonable prices.


If you have a book that you want reviewed or promoted, then check out www.hotbooks.nickwale.org.


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