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The list of questions to ask when writing a book for publication seems never-ending at times. Notice how I tacked the word publication onto the title? Getting published (no matter the form) is often a lofty goal, and a good writer needs to be just as much a student of the craft as they are of the business. With that in mind, next year’s posts on the Word Bank blog will focus on four categories: Writing, Editing, Publishing, and Marketing. It’s been a great run with all of the author interviews, lit chat topics, and book reviews over the years, but now that I’ve gone down to posting every other week, I want to bring an even tighter focus. As always, my aim is to make every word count. 

Focusing on Idaho authors with this year’s interviews has meant a lot to me in being able to showcase the wide variety of writing talent in the state, not to mention giving readers a taste of the many reasons that draw people to this neck of the woods. Also, continuing to post one interview a month while I went through treatment for breast cancer this year enabled me to keep this blog going since interview posts practically write themselves! My prognosis is good, and I’m looking forward to a great 2018.

I invite you to participate in this brainstorm of questions to ask when writing a book for publication by leaving a question or two of your own in the comments section below.


Image of Flanner O'Connor Quote


Questions to Ask When Writing a Book for Publication

Divided over the course of twenty-four posts, that means each category will contain six posts over the course of the year. It’s likely I will continue in the same vein the year after that, so the more questions generated the better. If certain questions are posed multiple times in the comments section, I will prioritize writing posts on them. Also, if you’ve emailed me in the past year with post ideas, now is your chance to leave a reminder below!

Drafting Questions to Ask When Writing a Book

It’s safe to say the majority of people kicking around on this planet have a book idea or two (or fifty) floating around in their heads, but far fewer actually get around to the drafting stage, and even fewer yet see the process through to publication. Even then, there’s no guarantee the book will sell.

  • Why are you writing this book? Who will its readers be?
  • When can outlining and genre research help or hinder the process?
  • When is blogging a book a good idea? What approaches can be taken?

Editing Questions to Ask When Writing a Book

There’s certainly more than one way to skin a cat, but any process goes more smoothly when a certain level of know-how has been obtained. One of my personal pet peeves for self-pubbers is that a copyedit is not a proofread! And yes, errors crop up in traditionally published books. All book lives matter!

  • How to best maximize the benefit of critique partners and beta readers?
  • What are the differences between the many levels of editing? How to pick an editor?
  • How do you know when your book is ready for self-publication or submitting to an agent?

Publishing Questions to Ask When Writing a Book

Would-be authors often bemoan how long traditional publishing takes only to rush into self-publishing an amateur effort. Impatience is not an excuse to take shortcuts. All authors need a team, whether one supplied by a publishing house or hired (or bartered) piecemeal by the author.

  • What path to publication is best for you? What is the difference between various publishign models?
  • Does the formatting of your self-published print and e-book look professional?
  • How can you write a great query letter and synopsis? Do you know your comps?

Marketing and Media Questions to Ask When Writing a Book

Writing a book is a monumental task, but then comes the monster otherwise known as marketing. Given that writers tend to be an introverted lot, marketing can be a mixed bag. Thankfully, marketing approaches are as varied as the personalities who undertake them. A good fit can be found.

  • What should every author website contain? Should an author have a blog?
  • How can an author most effectively harness the power of social media?
  • When and where should an author market their book(s)? Who are the readers for the book?


This list barely starts to cover all the questions to ask when writing a book for publication. But a brief start is better than no start at all. Asking questions leads to answers, and forward movement is its own reward.



In addition to the questions to ask when writing a book for publication mentioned above, what ones would you add to the list?

Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2017.

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