Do you talk about your books before you're done writing them? Share tidbits and excerpts before the final draft is done? Ask questions about what readers want?
Stop. Every author needs secrecy. Otherwise, you end up writing for other people...and not for you.
Every writer has their own process, but there are some universal truths when it comes to writing a book. And one universal truth that really matters: stories change.
I thought about a book I wanted to write for years and years, from the time I was a child. Finally I decided to start bringing it to life. Originally, the story was going to be told from the daughter's point of view. I was going to kill her mother early and the whole story was going to be about this girl's struggle.
I started researching, and planning, and imagining. And pretty soon, I wasn't telling the daughter's story at all. I was telling her mother's, and she did not die. Everything about that book changed, from love interests to plot to the big ending I envisioned. And when I was done, only tiny pieces of my original plan remained.
Stories have a life of their own. If you interrupt a story's natural evolution by spilling too many details to too many readers too early, you are doing the story (and yourself) a great disservice.
The truth is, you don't know what you've got until the story is finished. You don't know where the process will take you. But you do know one thing: you need room to go in new directions. You need space to make changes and new discoveries.
You need your secrets. Because those first ideas are going to change, and stories are going to grow. Let them, and don't lock yourself into a plan too early.
I didn't talk about that book until the first draft was written. I just let it evolve and take me where it wanted to go. That book is my favorite thing I've ever written.
Hold tight to your secrets. As an author, it's the secrecy that gives you your greatest power. When you give secrets away, you're shutting out creativity. So just remember this one piece of advice: shhhh.