Spoilers - how to avoid them

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On many occasions I find some reviews that are so thorough they actually spoil the story. This is one of the aspects we try to catch when we edit our reviews, before posting them.  I never imagined I would find an author spoiling their own book on the back cover until it came to my attention this past week.  Since then, I actually found a couple thrillers who had spoilers on the back cover synopsis.  One of them went even further as the title of each chapter gave each chapter away. That is why I decided to write about this topic.

When we are producing a book it is important to make sure the back cover gives enough information about the story in order to draw a reader in and close the purchase. The chapter names should also have a hook, as many readers will skim through the chapters before deciding to purchase a book. But how much information is too much information?

There is such a fine line on how much is too little or too much that many times we authors sin one way or the other when coming up with the back cover synopsis. Depending on the genre, missing that line can be disastrous. So, here are some tips on how to draw the line.

  • First thing to do is make a list of story points that would spoil the story if revealed ahead of time.
  • Then write the synopsis of your book.
  • Compare your list against the synopsis and take out any spoilers you find from it.
  • When choosing names for your Chapters, keep in mind that although the title should paint a picture of what it is about, it should never spell out what happens. A short sentence or a couple of words describing chapter should be enough.
  • Have others read the chapter names and synopsis and get their feedback. Ask them what they think the book/chapter is about. If they reveal the main event, then you gave out too much.

If there is something more difficult than writing a book, it is marketing it. Do not over estimate yourself by thinking you know best. Find counsel with marketers when it comes to the back cover of your book, as well as the front cover.  It is the first thing readers will see and advice on how to hook the reader from marketers can make all the difference on sales.