10 Good Questions To Ask An Author + My Answers As An Author!

Have you ever asked what it takes to be an author? Wondering how book ideas are developed and about the book writing process from start to finish?

Or do you have an upcoming author interview or book event to attend and need some good questions to ask an author? Keep reading!!

Good questions to ask an author

I’ve written a book every single year for 4 years in personal finance, business, and personal development. Because of this, I get many questions about being an author and about writing books. The 4 books I’ve written are:

  1. Clever Girl Finance: Ditch Debt, Save Money, And Build Real Wealth
  2. Learn How Investing Works, Grow Your Money
  3. The Side Hustle Guide: Build a Successful Side Hustle and Increase Your Income
  4. Choosing to Prosper: Triumphing Over Adversity, Breaking Out of Comfort Zones, Achieving Your Life and Money Dreams

Based on my personal experience as an author, I’m going to go over the most popular questions I get that are really good questions to ask an author. I will also share my own answers to these author interview questions.

YouTube video

10 Really good questions to ask an author

Feel free to leverage these questions for your personal insight, or if you plan on interviewing an author, or at the next book event you attend!

1. How do you find time to write?

This must be one of the most often-asked author interview questions I get! When I’m writing a book, I try to block off an hour every day. Sometimes I write nothing, and sometimes I can’t get past a couple of sentences.

Regardless, I make sure every single day I sit at my desk with my document open for that hour. I find that if I take too many days off, I lose motivation to write.

2. What is the best time of day for you to write?

I write first thing in the morning when my head is clear and before my kids wake up and it’s time to get the day going.

Usually, I’m up at 4:30, or 5 am. But sometimes, I’m up writing at midnight because I feel inspired. So it really depends on what works best for you.

3. How do you know what to write?

I like structure, so every single book I’ve written has had a detailed outline for each chapter before I start writing anything. I also work with a developmental editor on every book (outside of my publisher-assigned editors).

They ensure I’m maintaining context throughout the book. I like to submit a manuscript as close to being complete as possible.

4. How long does it take you to write a book?

This is another one of those good questions to ask an author. When it comes to how long it’s taken me to write each one of my books, it varies.

But on average, it’s taken me six months to a year. Some people take less time to write, and some people take a lot more time.

For me, it’s helpful to have delivery deadlines. Combined with the detailed outline I create for each book in advance of writing, I’m able to stay on track.

5. What is the most difficult part of writing a book?

For me, the most difficult part is getting past the inevitable writer’s block. Sometimes there are days (even weeks) when I feel totally uninspired to write more than a few sentences.

But I make it a point to sit at my computer with my writing document open for the designated writing time I’ve assigned in my calendar for the day.

6. Did you self-publish or go the traditional publishing route and why?

I’ve had a traditional publishing book deal for each of my published books. I chose this route over self-publishing primarily because of the visibility and potential brand awareness I could get not just for my books but for the business I run, Clever Girl Finance.

If you are considering publishing a book it’s important to think about the pros and cons of both options.

Self-publishing means you’ll retain all the profits from the sales of your books. But there will be an upfront out-of-pocket investment to get your book published with a self-publishing company.

With traditional publishing, your publisher takes on most of the costs, and you’d be paid royalties based on a percentage of sales. However, they also have a significant distribution and visibility network that could help you reach more potential book buyers versus if you do it on your own.

For anyone interviewing an author, this is one of those really good questions to ask an author to have on your list.

7. How did you get your book deal? (This is one of the top questions to ask an author that I get asked!)

Fortunately, my current publisher approached me about my first book based on the popularity of the Clever Girl Finance brand.

Despite them reaching out, I had to create and submit a book proposal about my idea, which they needed to approve. For the rest of my books, I pitched the idea to my publisher by preparing and formally submitting a book proposal.

8. How did you negotiate your book deals? Did you have a multi-book deal?

I had individual book contracts for each of my books, and each of my book deals was negotiated separately. This approach allowed me to leverage the success of each book to my advantage during contract review and negotiation.

The key areas of focus for me with each deal negotiation were:

  • My book rights
  • My royalties (the US and international)
  • The book advance
  • The inclusion of an audiobook recording

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to book advances and how authors get paid is this; One-time book advances are great. But royalties are ongoing and based on a percentage of your sales (remember this)!

If you are considering traditional publishing, this is one of these really important author interview questions to ask.

9. What important advice would you give a first-time author?

If writing a book is something you want to do, spend some time thinking about the topic you will cover as well as the message you want to convey to your reader.

Next, research how to create a good outline that you can leverage during your writing process to keep you focused and on track.

I personally think it’s worth working with a developmental editor to help you identify any issues or address any gaps in your book. Alternatively, you can get constructive opinions and feedback from supportive friends or family. Getting feedback will help you create a solid body of work.

Once you start thinking about publishing your book, consider the pros and cons of self-publishing vs traditional publishing. If you choose the route of traditional publishing, create your short list of publishers to whom you’d like to submit a book proposal.

Finally, pace yourself and enjoy the process of writing a book. Even if you have no intention of publishing it, it’s still a huge accomplishment to author a book!

10. Other common questions to ask an author

Here are some other great questions you can consider asking an author as well!

  • When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
  • What are your favorite books to read?
  • How important are book reviews?
  • What is your favorite part of being a writer?
  • What makes a great story?
  • What’s the most surprising thing you learned while writing your books?
  • How do you handle writer’s block?
  • If you didn’t write, what would you do for a living?

Expert tip: Ask the author about their work

When interviewing an author, be sure to ask them about their work, such as how they find time to write, their writing process, and what tips they would give to a new or aspiring author.

When you are intentional about asking an author about their work and process, you’ll likely get detailed answers because these are the kinds of questions most authors love to answer.

Tips for interviewing an author

Here are some key tips to keep in mind before interviewing an author:

Do your research

If you want to interview an author, you should prepare ahead of time. Make sure to read their latest book at least once, if not more. Take notes as you go along. Find out as much about them as possible.

You can read other interviews that the author has done to get a sense of what they have discussed in the past. This can also help you come up with unique questions to ask.

Put your questions together and think about your audience. What type of questions would your readers have for the author?

Test your equipment

Make sure to test any recording equipment or materials you will use ahead of time and have a backup in case you have a technology issue.

For instance, make sure you have a note taking app and your recorder and microphone work properly. These are typically smartphone features as well but you want to make sure you know how to use them.

Ask intentional questions

And lastly, focus on more than just the questions you prepared ahead of time. Follow your instincts and ask any new and relevant questions that come to mind.

What are 3 good questions to ask an author if you have limited time?

If you don’t have a lot of time to interview an author, some of the 3 best questions to ask an author are:

  • What are your favorite books?
  • How did you know you wanted to be an author?
  • What advice would you give an aspiring author?

What questions do authors like to be asked?

Authors like to be asked about their writing process, what inspires them to write, and about other books. Every author has a favorite writer or artist who has inspired them, so be sure to ask questions around their favorite books or shows.

What questions should I ask a non-fiction author?

Some of the types of questions you can ask a non-fiction author include:

  • Why did you decide to write non-fiction instead of fiction?
  • Are there certain experiences you’ve had that have inspired your non-fiction writing?
  • What advice would you give a young non-fiction writer?
    What publishing tips do you have for non-fiction work?

How do you prepare for an author interview?

One of the best ways to prepare for an author interview is to plan your questions ahead of time. Think about what you’d like to lean about the author. Talk in small sound bites that the interviewee can easily use. Most importantly, have fun during the interview and thank the interviewee after.

Enjoyed this article? Here are some more related articles on author tips for you to check out!

Leverage these questions to ask an author to gain the information you need!

You can make the process of interviewing an author worthwhile for you by preparing your author interview questions in advance.

Structure them in a way that you get all your pressing questions answered, especially if you have plans to write your own book. Many times, learning about an author’s journey and process can be just the inspiration you need!

If you’re interested in writing a book, check out our step by step guide on how to become an author.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top