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Neeli
08-06-2007, 07:58 PM
I think this question is pretty similar to the one below about an agent asking for an author to write up a marketing plan, but this situation is a little different. One of the writers at my crit group has contracted an agent and has a publisher looking at his work. The EDITORS sent this list of questions for the author to answer (has not bought novel yet).

21. Write a longer description of the book (300 to 400 words). Why is the book important? How will it benefit its readers? Does it use a different approach to its subject? This summary will be used to write the jacket copy and promotional literature. Do not refer to your manuscript since it may not be available when we need the information.

22. Who are your intended audiences? Be specific. List in order of importance.

23. What are the characteristics of the book that make it especially promotable? What is the first point we should emphasize when telling others about your book?

24. List any books which might compete with your book. Give title of book, author, publisher, and date of publication. How is your book different? How is it better?

Now I understand that it is an author's best interest to have a quick an easy byline for his/her book, like "Starship Troopers for the 80+ generation." And it's important to know where your book would sit on the shelf and who might buy it (um, readers like me?). The more easier it is to market your book, the more likely it is a publisher will want to buy it. But knowing the market--what books are out there and which books yours would compete with, what sells, etc--sounds like the agent's job to me. I thought that it was their job to know the market.

This writer has an agent. Shouldn't she be working on these questions?

RLSMiller
08-06-2007, 08:34 PM
I think this question is pretty similar to the one below about an agent asking for an author to write up a marketing plan, but this situation is a little different. One of the writers at my crit group has contracted an agent and has a publisher looking at his work. The EDITORS sent this list of questions for the author to answer (has not bought novel yet).

21. Write a longer description of the book (300 to 400 words). Why is the book important? How will it benefit its readers? Does it use a different approach to its subject? This summary will be used to write the jacket copy and promotional literature. Do not refer to your manuscript since it may not be available when we need the information.

22. Who are your intended audiences? Be specific. List in order of importance.

23. What are the characteristics of the book that make it especially promotable? What is the first point we should emphasize when telling others about your book?

24. List any books which might compete with your book. Give title of book, author, publisher, and date of publication. How is your book different? How is it better?

Now I understand that it is an author's best interest to have a quick an easy byline for his/her book, like "Starship Troopers for the 80+ generation." And it's important to know where your book would sit on the shelf and who might buy it (um, readers like me?). The more easier it is to market your book, the more likely it is a publisher will want to buy it. But knowing the market--what books are out there and which books yours would compete with, what sells, etc--sounds like the agent's job to me. I thought that it was their job to know the market.

This writer has an agent. Shouldn't she be working on these questions?

I would suggest the author filling out this form as best they can, perhaps on a separate sheet of paper or in a document, then showing it to their agent to see if they have any comments. Then I'd combine the agent's comments with the author's to write the final form.

Toothpaste
08-06-2007, 11:07 PM
I don't think that by the agent in asking these questions he/she is avoiding doing the work him/herself. I just think that it is useful for as many people to be thinking and brainstorming about these sorts of things. Also I think many authors would be pleased to have such input.

victoriastrauss
08-07-2007, 12:36 AM
Who's the publisher?

These kinds of questions can be found on the author questionnaire that publishers want you to fill out after you've signed a publishing contract, but it seems a little odd that they're being asked before an offer has been made.

- Victoria

ORION
08-07-2007, 03:06 AM
Like victoria said- these are nearly the exact questions Putnam had me fill out on their questionnaire.