Neil Strauss, Addendum

How I put myself in the position to spend 45 minutes with one of my favourite writers:

  1. Read The Game by Neil Strauss in 2007. Love it; re-read it several times. Buy a used copy from eBay and a new copy from a bookstore to lend to friends.
  2. Through Neil’s mailing list, receive information that Emergency, his new book, was due in March 2009.
  3. Email several people to find the Australian publisher of Emergency. (Answer: Text Publishing)
  4. Request a review copy of Emergency for FourThousand.
  5. Inadvertently receive two copies of Emergency from different publishers. (I’m still not sure how this happened.)
  6. Review Emergency for FourThousand.
  7. Send review link to Text Publishing to solidify that relationship.
  8. Through his mailing list, receive information of Neil’s forthcoming Australian book tour in June 2009.
  9. Contact Text Publishing to request an interview Neil on behalf of FourThousand. (This request was a near-certainty, given my relationship with the publisher.)
  10. Discover that Neil’s book tour omits Brisbane. Sadly, resign the interview to a 20 minute phone call.
  11. Meet with Nick Crocker on Sunday, June 21 2009. He suggests the unforeseen possibility of flying to Sydney to interview Neil in person. (Nick: “Since he’s such a massive influence, why don’t you spend a couple hundred dollars to fly down to make a better impression?” Andrew: “…” [stunned silence, having not considered this option at all])
  12. Later that night, book flights to Sydney to interview Neil in person.
  13. Fly to Sydney on Tuesday, June 23 2009.
  14. Meet Neil. Complete my biggest interview yet by having a conversation, instead of referring to questions point-by-point.
  15. Begin transcribing the conversation at Sydney Airport.
  16. Fly back to Brisbane, head full of inspiration.
  17. Per Neil’s advice, outsource the rest of the interview transcription; in this case, to Israel, to an excellent transcriptionist named Tamara Bentzur. (I found her by Googling “outsource transcriptions”.)
  18. Spend the next two-plus months pitching the interview feature to various magazines in an attempt to recoup the $300 airfares.
  19. Get rejected.
  20. Eventually post the entire interview – 8,000 words-plus – online, free.

Regrets? None.

Comments? Below.
  1. TDW says:

    And it was awesome. I’ve never actually “felt” the connection between an interviewer and an interviewee like that before.

  2. Nick says:

    Now send him the interview and tell him you’re writing for Rolling Stone now.

  3. John Pana says:

    What an excellent interview. Congratulations. Neil is a great writer!

  4. Andrew Chen says:

    Trooper. Absolute trooper, Mr McMillen!

  5. Ronnie Nurss says:

    Wow. That’s phenomenal that you scored an interview with Neil Strauss – a true badass. Thanks for sharing your insight and how to accomplished. Great stuff.


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