9 Questions Every Author Should Be Able to Answer

Below are nine questions every first-time author should be able to answer before you start writing your book.

You may think some of the questions do not apply to you. For example, let’s say you’re writing your memoirs just to share with your family and you don’t want to sell it to anyone else. If we were having lunch together, I’d ask you, “Why do you think that what you’ve learned and accomplished in your life would be of interest only to your family? Couldn’t others benefit from hearing your story?”

So try to answer all of the questions, expanding your vision about who may want to read your book and the impact it could have.

This exercise will help you focus your thoughts about yourself, your message, your audience, and how you will reach that audience. A side benefit of doing this exercise is that you’re considering questions an agent or publisher will ask if you want to submit a book proposal.

This exercise will take you from twenty to sixty minutes. It’s a worthwhile investment that you will easily gain back throughout the writing and publishing process.

The questions are below, but I’ve also put the questions into a Word document for you: 9 Questions for Authors.

  1. Why are you writing the book?
    (What is your passion or motivation and what is the book’s purpose?)
  1. What is the book about?
    (Summarize in one sentence. Then summarize in one or two paragraphs like you would see on the back cover of a book.)
  1. What transformational effect will the book’s content have on the reader? What are your book’s benefits from your reader’s point of view? What do readers learn? What solutions does it provide?

  1. What are your qualifications to write on this topic? Why will a reader see you as credible to share your message?
  1. Who is the specific audience for your book? Who will want to read it/buy it and why?
    (You may feel everyone should read your book, but be as specific as possible.)
  1. How can you reach that audience? How will you promote and share the book?
  1. What kind of platform do you have and what size is your audience right now? How many people are you reaching each year? (Followers of a blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, newsletter recipients, attendees at workshops, seminars, conferences, friends and connections with churches, businesses, etc.)
  1. Are there similar books on the market? List them. What makes your book distinctive?
  1. What interesting features could you include with your book that would help the reader get more out of your content? (For example, a study guide or questions for reflection; specific concepts you want the reader to take away from your chapter; action steps that help the reader apply your ideas; photographs, drawings, maps, charts, tables; appendices, other resources)

Question: Which question did you find the most difficult to answer? Please comment below.

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