The Ultimate Me-Me: the Author Questionnaire

Wednesday, October 08, 2008, 9:14 PM

Some of you may already be familiar with the Author Questionnaire - a kind of form you have to fill in for your publisher's publicity department, telling them all about you and your book. I'd heard of them, and was quite looking forward to getting mine, but now it's here and I'm a little perturbed.

It's a bit like an exam paper or a job application. It starts with the easy stuff, like your name, date of birth, that sort of thing. Then you fill in some blurb for the book. Then it gets harder.

The first question I'm struggling with is 'Other Comparable Books'. I've got a couple, but it seems awfully vain. Another is who you think the book will appeal to. Tough one, again. I know you're supposed to know this stuff if you're writing commercial fiction, but it's pretty hard to translate that vague picture I have in my head to a description of a real demographic.

Then there's the book's key selling points. That's like the bit in a job application where you list your key skills. This will take some thought. It's all starting to get a little exciting, though...

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9 Comments:

Blogger Precie said...

Wow, good luck!

I might have to reconsider novel writing...I'm breaking out in hives just thinking about that level of public disclosure.

It does sound exciting, though!!

9:47 PM  
Blogger Jamie Eyberg said...

Good luck, man. Just go easy on yourself and compare it to (why don't you go easy on yourself and compare it to Dickens or something) I am sure it is brilliant.

9:47 PM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

book's key selling points:

Gratuitious Violence.

hmm.

Oh, well, it's enough for me. I'd buy it!

9:55 PM  
Blogger moonrat said...

hahahaha. yes, every company i've worked for has made all their authors do an AQ.

the thing is, there's a great coincidence between publicity success and the books whose authors fill out the AQ thoroughly. you'd be surprised, but we're in the dark without leads!

10:08 PM  
Blogger Aerin said...

moonie's comment conjured pictures of little editorial marsupials wandering around Central Park at night, on leashes.

Good luck with the AQ - it sounds like a really long, detailed classified. FTA seeks AA (First Time Author Seeks Adoring Audience).....

12:38 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

That would keep me awake for weeks!

Those are difficult but important questions. Good luck! :)

8:18 PM  
Blogger Josephine Damian said...

Stuart: Your First Novel by Ann Rittenberg and Laura Whitcomb is an absolute must read for you at this stage- has a lot on the AQ and how it's a hugely important tool your agent uses for not just selling your book, but selling you, and why it's as much about you as it is your book when it comes to promotion.

1:00 AM  
Blogger Ello said...

This is so cool!! So very cool! I'm excited for you! All my sentences are in exclamations now because I am so excited for you!!!

Good luck filling them out, I dislike paperwork, but his is for such an important cause! (See another exclamation!) ;o)

6:03 PM  
Blogger Jennifer L. Griffith said...

How fun and difficult at the same time. You're right, this is the ultimate me-me! I have a feeling you will pass the test!

4:48 PM  

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