The Author Questionnaire will be the first task of new authors. It is one of the most important things they will ever write, as it helps establish pertinent data, including the author bio, book description, the audience, BISAC codes, key selling points, marketing and more.
|Author’s Full Name:|
|Name on Cover if different:|
|Biz Phone:||Cell Phone:|
|Other social media:|
This section should begin with the author’s name and contain 2-3 sentences (try not to go long) that mention his/her credentials for writing the book (education, work history, interests, or life experience). Lead with literary and writing exploits, finish with education and personal. Include previously published works, such as books and magazine or online columns, as well as the author’s career highlights, TV/radio shows and experience, or other publishing successes.
Mention the author’s city (or cities) of residence. This is important because the sales force wants to make certain they hit the author’s region hard.
Previous Edition Information:
Include previous edition numbers, EAN, pub date, and life-to-date Bookscan sales data.
ABOUT YOUR BOOK:
This is your “elevator speech” and serves as a quick introduction to the book. This should be 2-3 sales-oriented sentences that describe what the book is, who it’s for, and why your audience will buy it.
Back Cover Description:
This section should be 3-4 sentences that describe the book’s concept, give a brief summary of the story or content, state the goal of the book, detail why it’s unique and appealing, and say how it addresses a problem or interest of your audience. This is the copy that will go on the back cover, so study some back covers of books you like in your genre for style and substance and language. It must be descriptive and also have a strong marketing push.
• In all marketing copy (book marketing statement, author bio, and back cover marketing copy), the following guidelines apply:
• Do not refer to the book as “the book.” Use the book title.
• Underlining and the use of all caps is to be avoided.
• Do not refer to the reader as “the reader.” Marketing text should be written in third person (self-help books being one of the only exceptions to this rule). No matter what voice is used, the copy should be written in a manner that incites the reader to take action.
• Break up the book description into paragraphs. One giant book paragraph is very difficult to read.
• Avoid clichés such as “a must read” or “this book will change your life.” The back cover description is not a book review. It is a preview of the exciting world within.
• The tense should be consistent (and preferably written in third person). Because present and past perfect continuous tense make the marketing text seem very passive, avoid using verbs such as have been, has been, had been, etc.
• If you need additional examples or ideas, search for books that compete with your title and read the book descriptions on Barnes and Noble’s website (www.bn.com).
• Use a compelling quote from your book on the back cover if appropriate.
• The last paragraph of the book description should compel the reader to buy the book. Cliff-hangers are good!
Key Selling Points:
This is a bullet list of 2-5 significant features and benefits of the book. Be sure to mention the market size or other pertinent statics. Key points can be about the work, the author, the marketing and promotions. Keep them short and succinct. This is a listing, not a narrative! Like this:
• no other book has covered this content
• author is considered an expert in this field
Describe the readers who are likely to purchase this book – no more than 4 audiences should be listed. Be as specific as possible; “everyone” and “the general reader” are not helpful. So for instance if you wrote a murder mystery about a crooked cop who saves a teacher’s life, you might list: murder mystery readers, law enforcement, teachers, fiction readers.
Using Amazon, list three comparative titles that are in the same genre and price range as your book. Do not pick bestsellers. Only select print titles, not eBooks. We need you to list the title, author, ISBN, price, Publisher and date it was published
Suggest two alternate titles for your book:
Please provide us with two alternate titles for your book.
Please provide us the visual ideas you have for your cover. Be as descriptive as you can. Attach 4-5 examples of other book covers you like, using Amazon or other online sources to download, copy and past covers. This will help us to get inside your head and agree on a general design and look and brand prior to beginning our design. If you have sketches or designs, we want to see them.
One of our designers will then create 4-5 or more cover designs based on study of your questionnaire, and a partial read of your manuscript. It is imperative that you provide as much input and background as possible BEFORE we start the design process. We will not consider any design input from you after cover design is underway.
We will ask you to rank the covers we send to you from favorite to least favorite. Though you may be tempted to revise the designs, your mission is to respond to the covers we share with you as they are. Remember that design details like colors, fonts and layout are left to the discretion of our designers. Once the top two covers are selected, a cover poll will be conducted on our website. This is an excellent form of marketing, as you will send that link out to your followers, friends and family and ask them to vote for their favorite cover. The voters do not decide which cover will be used, though we will pay attention to the voting.
Be advised that while we collaborate and include you in the design process, we will make the final call as needed to ensure that we achieve the highest quality cover for your book.
BISAC SUBJECT HEADINGS:
Select three BISAC SUBJECT HEADINGS for your title.
Our Ingram relationship allows us to maximize BISAC Subject Headings for best category placement.
Determine the three major heading which best describes the content of your book. Click on the link below for specific headings within your category at
Marketing & PR:
This is the section for you to list what you (the author) are planning on doing with regard to promoting and marketing your book. Think about this in a professional manner, as if you are running a business. You are! This can include, but is not limited to:
1) Social Media – this starts with an author website. You need to build one if you don’t already have one! Not a book site, but an author’s site. They want to know about you AND your books. Plural. Then you want a Facebook page and Twitter. What about Linked In? Will you be using You Tube to post videos? A very good idea. Plus Goodreads, Pinterest and other social media to consider.
2) Next are the other conventional media, including TV, radio and print. Are you going to be getting interviews lined up? Be specific.
3) Book tours, talks and book signings. Any activity you are planning should be included.
4) Any ads you are buying or marketing packages you are purchasing. If you are working with a publicist or marketing professional, include information they are planning to do.