I wish my Thursday was happy, but I just had a book I was looking forward to reading spoiled for me. Here’s what happened—after someone recommended this particular title to me, I popped over to Amazon.com to check it out. Sounded great—I was intrigued by the plot, the reviews were good, and the book even had a stunningly eerie cover (I know, I know, don’t judge a book…). I almost always read samples of books if they are offered, to see if I enjoy the first few pages and to make sure I connect with the writing style and voice. So I checked out the book’s sample. (Not the Kindle sample, but the pop-up sample you get when you click “Look Inside” next to the image of the book cover.) And oh, this book seemed promising! A suspenseful murder mystery—I love those!—with a spine-tingling opening that begins in the dark woods, with the protagonist finding a creepy blood-soaked cloth on the trail in the beam of her flashlight. I was sold—after a few pages, I was more than ready to finish the sample and purchase the book. Then I scrolled, the sample skipped ahead, by a few pages I figured, the way samples often do, and suddenly I’m reading a page later in the book. Only, I realize too late, it’s a page really late in the book. A page with some very critical information. A page that reveals who the murderer is.
Who the heck would put a page that reveals who the murderer is in the sample for the book?!?!
Sheesh—well, yeah, that spoiled my day. I was really looking forward to reading it, but I doubt I will now. It feels kind of pointless since I already know the identity of the killer.
As you might have guessed from this post, spoilers are a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I think many (but not all) people who post online reviews these days are courteous and considerate enough not to reveal crucial elements of the book—or at least to kindly post a spoiler warning if they do. But it seems like spoilers pop up in so many other places. I was reading comments posted on an author’s website recently, and one described the death of a main character in one of the author’s books, one of his books that I hadn’t happened to read yet, although I’m a huge fan of another series. So…that makes two books ruined for me by spoilers in one week.
I supposed I could just stay away from online reviews, author websites, comments, etc., but apparently you can’t even read book samples safely these days. Next time, I will have to watch the page numbers on these samples more carefully. My new policy is not to read anything past page ten.
I suppose spoilers seem like a minor concern, but the truth is they can have an impact on a reader and can definitely cost book sales. I no longer plan to read or purchase either of the books that were spoiled for me this week, and I think that’s a sad situation because I was looking forward to each. And it’s interesting how spoilers can slip out in little ways, as well. I specifically requested that my publisher change the back cover copy of my first book because one phrase gave away something I didn’t think the reader should know about until halfway through the book. I felt knowing this particular plot point ahead of time undercut some of the suspense of discovering it during the course of the story, and I wanted readers to have the surprise of uncovering it themselves.
So yes, I do believe spoilers can impact a reader’s experience. And yes, I do wish more folks (and apparently whoever selects what pages are included in book samples) would be more aware of potential spoilers and take pains not to reveal critical information.
Okay, so now that I’m done ranting about my spoiler-filled week, please share what you think. How do you feel about spoilers?
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