Thursday, August 29, 2013

For Readers' Eyes Only: Spoiler Alert

As a writer with one series out, another to be born in the next few months, and a third awaiting major surgery before release, I've started to think about a topic with which I'm very familiar as a consumer of entertainment:

More importantly, what's the difference between a spoiler and a teaser?

Let me give you a specific example: currently, I'm working on the sequel to Jesus Was a Time Traveler. The first book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I have the first chapter of the second book finished, as in "final format, not going to change before shipping it out."

I've considered adding this chapter to the end of JWATT , just to give readers "a taste" of what's to come.

At the same time, as a reader myself, I would be a bit upset if someone gave me a teaser (especially with the answer to that installment's cliffhanger) without the ability to read through and finish it myself.

How much is too much? I honestly don't know. I've considered excerpting a scene from the middle of the new book, roughly analogous to the dinosaur hunt from the first one, that's a bit more action-packed, but that also could give away some important stuff.

Do readers like being "spoiled" by these kinds of things? Does it make you more likely to check out the full book when it's finished?

Or are you like me? Do you avoid all movie reviews in the hopes that an over-zealous reviewer won't casually spill the beans on what would've been an amazing reveal?

With my "writer" hat on, I could opine for a few hundred more words about the need to measure a reader's investment vs. oversaturation, or some other ridiculous thing, but this column is for readers, not writers.

So I ask, do you like reading teasers from the next book in the series? Or do you avoid them at all costs? Do you want the taste, the fleeting glimpse of the next one, available or not? Or do you want to delay gratification until you can sit down with the next book for a marathon session, utterly uninterrupted? 

Let us know in the comments. Happy hunting!


D.J. Gelner is the Co-Founder and CEO of Hunt to Read. E-mail him directly at

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