At best, these ill-conceived prompts will confuse newer writers; at worst, they will prevent their work from ever seeing the light of day. These are some of the six top worst author-to-author questions that still get brought up today.
1. Did you write a good book?
For a writer to even attempt an answer to such a question would be an effort in futility. Some authors tend to be overly harsh on their work and might call it trash even when it's truly a masterpiece. Others, of course, will proclaim that they've penned the next great novel when what they've created is first-draft material at best. In either case, you'd be talking to someone who is completely and utterly incapable of being objective about the book they've written. Even the most modest and grounded individual would have a hard time providing an accurate answer because all their time working on it has irreversibly influenced their perspective of it.
This is why test readers and sensitivity readers are so important. The more people you show your work to, the better. Even when you don't have the funds to hire someone to edit your book professionally, you can gain a considerable amount of insight by turning to your friends, family, and community.
2. Will your target reader enjoy your book?
This is a twofold trick question because it's asking you to determine both who your target readers are and predict how they'll feel about the book. Obviously, no one can both see into the future and read people's minds. The general public's taste in literature is an art, not a science: There's no mathematical way to find out exactly what kind of book will do well.
It's also not a great idea to box yourself into one audience group. If you only have a specific target audience in mind, you may be leaving out everybody else and causing your book's popularity to suffer. Sometimes, the demographics that end up buying your books may surprise you.
3. Are the first paragraphs of your book capable of sucking your potential reader into the book?
Again, someone who has been toiling endlessly over their prose simply doesn't have the ability to suddenly look on them with a fresh set of eyes. The harder you look, the more distorted your perception becomes. This isn't a question that any reasonable author would be asking.
A strong hook to start off a story is truly essential to pull a reader in and get them to stick with you long enough to be convinced that this is the next book they're going to read. Although the author of the work rarely has the opportunity to read their opening lines as if they'd never seen them before - excluding amnesiacs and people who set their work aside for decades at a time - it's easy enough to get other people to read for you.
It's important to look for people who will give you their honest opinion about your opening paragraph. You might look online at the various sites and forums where writers are constantly helping each other out by brutally appraising each other's precious babies.
4. Is your book's title able to attract your potential readers?
It's absurd that any accomplished author would truly believe that you could intuit a new reader's reaction to a book's title after you've been buried in the work for months or years. To the writer, the work is extremely personal because of all the time, effort, and sacrifice that went into it. Therefore, the way that writer looks at their own title is going to be completely different to how a potential reader will view it, no matter how hard they try. The only thing to do is find as many other people as possible to give their impression of the title, and even then, it's something to be taken with a grain of salt.
5. Does your book have a professional cover?
Many authors will tell you that when your book is placed on a shelf next to dozens of professionally made bestsellers, it stands out like a sore thumb without a proper cover. The problem with this reasoning is more and more often, books aren't being sold in bookstores. People are shopping online for their literature the same way they're shopping for everything else. While covers are still often juxtaposed side-by-side on websites, it's not the same game as it is in bookstores.
But another consideration is how feasible it is for an amateur to design a quality book cover with today's technology. You no longer have to have a bestseller budget to give your book a bestseller look. Whether this means learning graphic design or networking with friends who already have the skill, you can definitely up your authoring game with a well-done cover design.
6. Can your book's blurb and Amazon description sell the book?
Like the fourth question, this is also something that's shrouded in subjectivity. How could an author possibly predict how countless people browsing books online would react to your blurb and description? The best you could do is give the blurb and description to test readers and ask them what they think. Still, you'd only be getting a minutely small test group compared to the masses who might click on your book online.