If you’ve read more than 2 of the Basket Case interviews, you’ll know that there’s a specific pattern to them (and by pattern, I mean that the questions are almost always the same).
When I send out requests for interviews, I have two choices. The first is to contact an artist that is already familiar with me, generally because I actively comment on their strips on GoComics. The second is to cold-call them through whatever contact method they have online (facebook, email, or a contact form on their website). The first case is usually pretty straightforward because I don’t have to introduce myself that much. Just say that I have Basket Case, and ask if they want to be interviewed. The second situation requires a lot more politeness, but still has the same goal – asking if they want to give an interview.
After that, if the answer is “yes,” then I send the boilerplate questions (who are you, what do you want your readers to know about your background, how did you get started), along with the caveats that I know they may not want to answer any of these questions, and if not, I can get the information from other sources. In almost all cases, the artists so far have been very good about replying to every single question. Then, I’ll tailor the interview by asking a series of follow-up questions specifically designed around their answers, or what I know about their strip(s). Again, I state up front they can ignore questions they don’t want to answer, or answer questions I didn’t ask. This is followed by formatting the text, adding links to pages they mention, and putting in artwork they want included in the interview, or if they let me, I go through their website and locate artwork I want to use myself.
The last step is proofreading, passing the interview back to the artist for corrections and/or additions, and getting final approval before posting it on the blog. The main thing is that the boilerplate acts as a framework for artists that don’t know me to feel like they know what to expect from the interview up front. It makes for rather predictable results, but as long as it works, I’ll keep using it.