Should I let someone read my book for fun before it is finished? This depends on what you want. This is fine, but if you’re not comfortable about revealing your book at this stage, then I would advise against doing so. Remember, just because someone asks to have a peek at your book does not mean you have to let them see it, nor is it a sure pointer to genuine interest.
The phrase “for fun” is to be taken with a grain of salt. If you don’t want to receive criticism at this stage in the book, you have to weigh whether or not the person who is asking is likely to judge your unfinished work. This all depends on whether or not you want to show someone your halfway-done work, though. Remember, just because they ask is not a reason to show them if you don’t want to. You can always make some excuse.
How can I tell if someone is genuinely interested in my book? If the person is consistently asking for new instalments to the story, this is probably the biggest sign. Thoughtful criticism (especially what they liked and didn’t like and what you could do better on) is the next biggest one. Be on the lookout for phrases like “I really enjoyed X, but I think it would be better if you added Y”. Note that someone with genuine interest won’t try to change or replace parts, but will only point of discrepancies and show your strong points.
What do I so if my friend asks me what my book’s name is but I haven’t chosen it yet? A safe move would be to mention the genre of the book. “Oh, it’s a sci-fi fantasy, kind of like *some other sci-fi fantasy*”. Tell them what genre it is, then say the name of a more mainstream fiction that they may know, relating it to something like Star Wars or Harry Potter.
What are the main genres of fiction? I’m glad you asked. It’s a short (but vital) list that every writer should know. The main list includes Fantasy (and all of its subtypes), Science Fiction (and all the subtypes here as well), Historical Fiction, Drama, Adventure, and Romance. These provide excellent handles for describing your story to others.
Suppose someone asks me to give a short summary of my book. What main things do I want to mention? You don’t want to mention the plot right away. Instead, say the genre and say the name of a similar fiction. If it’s a historical novel or any “sensible” work, giving the date and place is a must. “The story begins in a X” is a standard description line, and from there you can give a brief synopsis of the plot. Pro tip: don’t get ahead if yourself and spoil the end. Few people do this, but I’m just mentioning this to ward off those who do.
Is a “character sheet” a good way to catalogue a character before putting him or her into the story? Absolutely. Detailing a character’s name, age, height, physical appearance, usual attire, quirks, abode and backstory is never a bad idea and always a good one. If you have the time, this is a good option to consider.
If I’ve written and published a book, even if it’s self-published, and someone asks me for advice, am I qualified to give it? Listen, if someone asks you advice, they consider you worthy to give it. Anyone who considers you qualified to give council will actually listen to what you have to say. Yes, you’re qualified. You put the work in, so you know something. At least you know more than the one who knows nothing, so if someone asks you…go for it.
E-Books are still books too, right? Heck yeah. Whether you’re reading one or writing one, E-Books are still books. There is zero shame in writing an E-Book, and no writer of “real books” can look down their noses at you.
Should I ever use the phrase “yeah, I’m an author” as a pickup line? Believe it or not, I actually get this question all the time. (I’m lying, obviously) But, uh…I guess? I suppose SOME people are impressed by that, but in my experience, I haven’t got that much of a chance before. Us writers can be fairly antisocial at times…
Good luck, and happy writing!
Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Until then, writers!