Giving Away Too Much

The fear of spoiling.

On my last post I spoke about how I prefer to know as little as possible about a book before I read it. This goes for most other things as well, TV programmes, plays and films for example. Whilst most people don’t want spoilers I’m probably at the far end of the scale, which I know is strange but I seem to get on fine.

What I can’t get my head round are the people who happily tell me that when they are looking for a new book, whilst they are in the bookshop, they will turn to the last page and read that as a way of deciding if they want to buy it or not. If you are one of those people please explain how this helps you, I’m genuinely interested to see how other people go about this.

I don’t really read the back of a book before I’m at least two thirds of the way through it, at which point I reckon it’s safe. As stated I prefer to see the plot unfold from not knowing anything. I love the moment when it dawns on me “so that is what this book is going to be about”.

On this blog, whilst I try and tell you about books I love, I also try and not give away that much in the way of plots. Hence this is never going to be a detailed analysis of the books – I’m aiming at just offering a taster and you can then find out as much or as little as you want. I’ll generally always put a link at the bottom of the post of where the book is for sale so you can read the blurb if you want to (although ironically not on this one).

Whilst this works for my reading it‘s a problem when it comes to try and promote my novels, I just fear saying anything is giving away too much. Of course that is the way to completely not promote anything. I can’t work on the basis of “just do what I would want” which is a principle I use for most things connected to my writing. I’d personally want just the title and a blank page. At most maybe a few random lines.

At first when I tried to send my manuscripts off to agents I would try to write the synopsis, but all the time I had voices in my head screaming at me not to give away the ending or the twists and plot developments, that was never going to work. I’ll only read a synopsis of a book I’ve finished or have no intention of starting.

My current WIP is a novel called Indoldrum and I’m very happy with it. It still needs a bit more work but I’m at the point where I need to start writing promotional things, the back cover, the Amazon blurb etc and it’s really difficult. At the moment I’m on:

Johan might be lost, he isn’t sure. Battling Ménière’s disease and severe hearing loss is hard. Some of the strange new people in his life make him feel uneasy and he’s not sure why. Where have these people come from? What do they know about him? And is there something wrong with time itself?

His in-laws have lost their cat, it’s an event which triggers unforeseen challenges and raises questions he’s just not ready to deal with.

Johan loves his wife Harriet, she’d help him; but Harriet is dead and the world has ended in more than one way.

It needs some more work, but for each plot point I’ve put I regret that a reader won’t learn them by just reading the book. The reveal that Johan is losing his hearing because he has Ménière’s disease, a condition that I have, isn’t stated straightaway and is only hinted at to start off with. I wanted the reader to notice something was wrong and then try and work out what it was. In most other books, because it is still relatively early in the book it is mentioned it would be a selling point so I have to fight my inner voices and go with it – but I’m not happy as it undoes all the natural building I put in place. Also the time thing… But that is how books and their promotion work.

I don’t suppose it really matters at the end of the day. I’ve tried to think of occasions where I’ve accidentally discovered more about a book than I wanted to and felt some disappointment. I know it’s happened but in trying to think of examples I can’t really come up with one that is worthy of note. Therefore I’ll just put this down to another one of my strange quirks and try and get on with it. But how do you define the correct amount of spoilers for the back of a book?

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6 thoughts on “Giving Away Too Much

  1. I prefer to know what a book is about before I buy it. I don’t care for some types of fiction such as horror or erotica. I no longer enjoy books with a lot of violence or strong language. Most of the time, I won’t read a book with a character with whom I can’t empathize or sympathize. To each his own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get this. I too do not want to read violent books or erotica. Neither are paranormal or horror my thing. I’m not talking about just picking up anything that comes my way, but once I have a confidence in the author or if’s it categorised in a genre I’m comfortable in then I want to follow the plot as I read it.

      Liked by 1 person

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