Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An Author Questionnaire

Publishers frequently send out author questionnaires to help them create and plan their publicity and marketing campaigns. Now, not all publishes do this, so don’t panic if you’ve never done one, but they are a great resource for publicists and marketing managers when talking about your book and pitching it. I also think they can be a great resource for planning your book and for creating your own marketing campaign (because querying is really a marketing campaign). Some of the questions really get to the heart of things like hook and how to differentiate yourself. So I went through the questionnaires I have and pulled a few questions that I thought might be useful to authors in the planning and writing stages.

  • What are the main points about you and/or the book that should be emphasized to the media?
  • Who do you think will buy your book (i.e., your market)?
  • If you could construct an interview for yourself, what questions would you want to be asked? Can you come up with about 5 to 10 questions and answers for this self-interview?
  • Are there any anniversaries, occasions or events upcoming to which we might tie the publicity for your book?
  • Is there any competition for your book? How are the other books alike? How are they dissimilar?
  • What was your inspiration for the book?
  • Who are your favorite authors?
  • Tell us anything about you as a working writer that you think might be interesting or unusual.
  • What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading your book?

Now some of these might seem easy, but really sit down and think about them and how you would answer these if you found yourself face-to-face with an interested editor, agent, or on Oprah talking about your book.

Jessica

18 comments:

Kimber An said...

Good stuff. Saved it to file.
;)

Anonymous said...

Great post, Jessica. Excellent questions to help plan, prepare and better communicate with our readers and publishers.

Thanks.

Petrina

Ann Victor said...

These questions are not so easy to answer after all! Will keep this for future reference, thanks.

Richard Mabry said...

Jessica,
I've completed a couple of these forms now, and they really make me think. Now I find that it's helpful to stop from time to time in the writing process and do my own marketing questionnaire. And, if I don't have a good idea about #1, it's time to go back and reshape the work.

Kathleen Peacock said...

These are great. Though I have a really good grasp of the market and what they will take away from my book (and why they'll actually want to buy it),the ten interview questions is really making me think.

Kate Douglas said...

LOL--I just finished filling out my very first author questionnaire and it took me TWO DAYS! I was shocked--had no idea it would be such an involved process, but it really made me think about the book and my career in ways I hadn't thought of before. Definitely an interesting experience (and one I hope not to do again for awhile!)

beth said...

I loved this so much that I took the questions and answered them on my blog. Thanks for sharing!!

Crimogenic said...

I start to think through answers for some of the questions, and realized they aren't so easy. I will definitely copy and save this valuable questionaire. Thanks!

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

This is great! It should come in handy while preparing a press kit, too.

dara said...

Thanks for the information--those are difficult questions!

Evangeline said...

Very insightful questionnaire. I'm going to work on it right away!

Anita said...

For my local newspaper's book recommendation colum, I interviewed Angie Fox, author of THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER. It was obvious she had already thought about the questions I asked her BEFORE I even asked her. She knew her stuff and was able to get back to me quickly. Very professional. I can't wait to recommend her book.

beckylevine said...

Thanks, Jessica! I am getting ready to write a different kind of query--more about me as a writer than a specific book--to an agent (for my kids' fiction!)who wants more of that angle. These questions are going to be VERY helpful. :)

Anonymous said...

If only I could be sure that my publisher actually read my form. It seems that the publicity department hits "send" with the form, but then displays no evidence later of having used it.

It's easy to email a form, much harder to make the most of it.

Linda Lou said...

Great post! I don't think writers realize how important it is to "drill down" the answers to these questions--or the importance of considering them during the writing process as well as after.

Kate Douglas said...

Anita, I read THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER and absolutely loved it. It moves so quickly I felt like I had whiplash after the first chapter!

Diana said...

This weeks' posts have been incredibly interesting and thought-provoking. Thanks!

Rabid Fox said...

This might be an older post, but I just stumbled across it. Downloaded the list for future reference. Thanks.