There I was, rampaging across Pinterest and doing what I can to promote the works of fellow authors (the way one does), when I happened to see a pin advertising advice for “fictional authors” to get assistance with the message in their “fictional book.”
Here’s the thing, friends: fictional authors don’t need help with anything about their books, because fictional authors don’t exist except in someone else’s work of fiction. (S. Morgenstern is a fictional author; likewise, Paarfi of Roundwood. On the other hand, William Goldman and Steven Brust are fiction authors. You do see the difference, right?)
The correct term is fiction book, or better yet (’cause it’s the standard term), novel. Not, you should notice, fiction novel, because all novels are, by definition, fiction. Whenever someone refers to what they’ve written as a fiction novel, I try to give them at least partial benefit of the doubt and assume they mean it’s mainstream fiction, as opposed to genre fiction such as romance or thriller or sci-fi or literary (whatever the hell that is — the plotless wonders in which the protagonist spends three days pondering the meaning of socks, as far as I can tell). I suspect, however, that many of them wrongly assume novel and book are synonymous. And, in my no doubt overly harsh opinion, anyone who can’t use the right term to describe their own writing isn’t ready to publish it yet. They are certainly not ready to be offering advice to other authors on how to write.
Speaking of Pinterest… If you’re an independent author and you don’t use that site to promote your books (and those of fellow authors, indie or otherwise — if you read a book you like, this is yet another way to tell everyone about it), you ought to seriously consider it. Lots of people have group boards (where everyone who joins can pin things that are relevant to that board’s topic) for sharing links for books, author interviews, blogs, etc. Join a few, or start a personal books/reading board of your own. (And don’t forget to include a brief description of the book along with the picture and the link! It’s so annoying to see a photo of the book cover and “This book is the best — you will love it!!!!” but literally no information on what it’s about or even the genre. Don’t be that pinner…)