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.