The information filled out on the author questionnaire disseminated to the various publishing departments, from editorial to publicity to sales, each of which uses it to target audiences for the book based on your own background as well as the book’s subject. It is used to craft materials for the media, for booksellers, and in order to ascertain the book marketing and promotional resources the author brings to the table.
The author questionnaire can also be a useful tool for any wannabe author or self-publishing author. In addition to being a handy first step to creating a book press kit, your jacket flap bio, etc., it will help you summarize your book for others, as well as assess your personal marketing and publicity platforms. It will outline the promotional strengths and contacts you can readily exploit, and show you those might need to develop before you publish.
If you are self-publishing your book, filling out your own author questionnaire is a useful exercise to help you craft your own marketing and publicity plan, and show you the areas you might need to develop before your book is actually published.
The Author Questionnaire Helps to Market Your Book
An author being published by a traditional publishing house will be asked to fill out an author questionnaire, likely by your editor, sometime during the pre-publication timeframe, often right after the book has been acquired.
The answers on an author questionnaire form the basis by which these key departments can make determinations on an author’s publicity or marketing plan. For example:
Generally, authors will note that the information requested on the author questionnaire is likely on file with their editors somewhere, whether from their book proposal, or their contract, etc. Despite that fact, make sure to fill out the author questionnaire thoroughly: used by all those departments that are critical to your book’s success—and for self-published authors, too—the author questionnaire provides a one-stop repository for all the information pertinent to your book sales and promotion efforts.
The Parts of an Author Questionnaire
While every publisher has a different format for their author questionnaire, there are a number of areas that will be standard, though they won’t necessarily appear in this order:
Author Questionnaire Template
Fill out your own author questionnaire to help jump-start your thinking about your book’s marketing and publicity campaign. We provide a 2-part, general author questionnaire template to help you — we suggest you fill out both parts. Part 1 of the Author Questionnaire Template guides you through summarizing details about your book and your own biographical information; Part 2 of our Author Questionnaire Template helps you summarize and assess your own media platform.
See how the author questionnaire is used in this article about developing your comprehensive book publicity and book marketing plan.