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A Sample Author Questionnaire

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by Kate Siegel Bandos, KSB Promotions

Kate Siegel Bandos

Reviewers, booksellers, and individual correspondents want to know many things about a new book. And other people need information about it too, including those responsible for preparing descriptive and biographical information for the cover and/or inside of the book, for press releases, and for other promotional and sales efforts.

The questionnaire that appears here is the one we send to our authors. We include a version of the explanatory paragraph I offered above, and we explain that the questionnaire “is an attempt to save troubling you with constant queries, and to avoid errors.”

The earlier we get this information from the author, the more help it can be as we plan the publicity campaign. It also helps the author focus on elements that may become key hooks.

Of course, we also invite the authors to contact us throughout the process if they have questions or need extra time.

I hope our questionnaire will help many other companies get the information that plays a big part in launching and promoting a book.

Author’s Questionnaire


Author’s Name___________________________________________________

(Give it exactly as you wish it to appear in all materials)

If your name is ever mispronounced, what is the correct pronunciation? _________

How do you like to be addressed? Dr. __ Mr. __ Mrs. __ Ms. __by first name__

Title of book under contract____________________________________

Current job and title_________________________________________

Business address_____________________________Phone__________

Best time to call_______________________



Home address_______________________________Phone__________

Best time to call_______________________



Website URL _____________________________________________

Date of birth_________________________

Place of Birth________________________

Place you consider your hometown _______________________________

Citizen of_________________________________________________


Name of spouse_____________________________________________

Occupation of spouse_________________________________________

Children (names and ages)?____________________________________

(Please write your answers to the questions below on separate sheets and attach.)

1. Please write a brief autobiography, noting your professional credentials and any special “lifestyle” credentials that make you particularly well qualified to write this book. Include education, degrees, and any jobs that are appropriate. Don’t be shy; sell yourself. (If there is anything you wish to mention for our information only that is not for publication, please make sure that is carefully noted.)

2. Describe your book briefly, highlighting those aspects that make it unique.

3. Give the title of each chapter and a brief summary of its contents, emphasizing the most important factors in each.

4. How does your book differ from other books on the same subject already on the market? Name the books you feel are the closest competitors.

5. What needs does your book meet that make it a “must” for someone to buy?

6. Did any special or unusual circumstances or incidents play a role in the conception and/or writing of this book?

7. Please list other books you have written (Title; Kind; Year/Publisher; #Sold).

8. Please list any magazines, newspapers, or blogs to which you have contributed material. Give title and subject matter and dates of major contributions, and names of editors who are familiar with your work.

9. On what radio and TV programs have you appeared in the past?

10. Are you willing to be interviewed on radio and TV and online to promote your book? If so, when are you available? Make sure we know in advance of any travel plans (business, vacation, reunions, etc.) to places where we might be able to set up interviews.

11. Before what groups have you lectured in the past? Do you have any lectures planned following your book’s publication? If yes, please list names and address of organizations and topics of lectures.

12. List clubs, alumni groups, and any school, social, religious, or business organizations with which you are affiliated. Please include name and address of each group’s publication.

13. We don’t know your area of specialization as well as you do, so please suggest any specialized newspapers and magazines and specific editors who should get information.

14. Please list store managers and clerks you know personally and who might help promote your book. Give names of stores, addresses, and phone numbers.

15. List here people whose opinions you feel would be valuable in promotion of this book. Please give us addresses, phone numbers, or places to contact them wherever possible. Put a check next to the names of those you know personally.

16. List any media that you feel should definitely receive a review copy of your book. (Please keep this list to your top 20 suggestions.) Give addresses for publications that are not well known. Unless the reason is obvious, note why you think each should receive a book.

17. Do you like writing freelance articles in your field? If we learn of a freelance opportunity for you, do you prefer that we let you know, or may we give editors your telephone number and email address?

18. When media people are interested in scheduling an interview, may we give out your telephone number and/or your email address so they can do the scheduling directly with you?

19. Please send us a few recent photographs electronically. They should be suitable for reproduction in magazines and newspapers. One can be a head shot, but others should have some personality and relate to your book’s subject if appropriate. (If you do not have a photo immediately available, please return this questionnaire and send the photos as soon as possible.) If photos should appear with credit to a photographer or studio, include this information.

20. Please send us videos and/or audiotapes of previous interviews that would help us get to know you and your style better.

21. Please note any other ideas, suggestions, or comments.

We will be doing our utmost to promote and sell your book, but your help and suggestions can help us do it better. The more involved you become, the more media coverage you can expect and the better your book will sell.

Kate Siegel Bandos reports that she has worked with thousands of books and authors during more than 40 years as a book publicist. She started her own company, KSB Promotions, 22 years ago.

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