Promo plug – You can still enter to win my box of books—ends March 10th. You can still enter to win a $50 gift card from the authors of Booklover’s Bench. (And, you can refer a friend. Each time one of your referrals enters, YOU get an extra entry.) Ends March 17th.
I’ve said many times that I’m a mystery lover. That means I like to be in the shoes of the detective and find the clues as they’re revealed to the character. The detective (or whoever is solving the crime) can’t be privy to what’s going on when he or she isn’t there, so if I’m reading a ‘whodunit’ I don’t want to know until the character does.
But what about book blurbs? How much should the tell a potential reader about the book? Should they contain spoilers? And what constitutes a spoiler? I know when I was dealing with Finding Sarah, I didn’t want to write anything about what I hoped would surprise readers. However, by the time I finished with edits, the “surprise” was no longer way back in Chapter 6. Instead, it was more like Page 6. So (and since it’s in the blurb, I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here) the blurb now mentions right up front that she was robbed at gunpoint. I didn’t go so far as to indicate WHO held her up, so there was still a potential to surprise the reader.
Sometimes what we might consider “spoilers” are so much a part of the genre that it doesn’t really matter. In a romance, the hero and heroine will fall in love and have their Happily Ever After. Blurbs for romances generally set up the major conflict, and this conflict appears early on in the book.
In the book I’m reading (and thoroughly enjoying, so this is meant only as a discussion point, not a criticism), readers know up front that there’s a dog wounded in combat, and a cop wounded in the line of duty. Both are suffering from emotional issues, and although I’ve barely cracked the surface of the story, I can make a few predictions. First and foremost, because the blurb and all promo talks about how the dog and cop come together to help each other heal, you’re expecting it to happen.
The author does an excellent job of setting up the dog’s life as a “bomb dog” for the Marines (told from the dog’s POV). And another excellent job of showing us what happened to the cop. But they don’t meet until Chapter 5, over 50 pages into the book.
Hubster was reading this book before I started it, and I asked him how he liked it. He said it was fine, but he was impatient. He said it was obvious the dog and cop would have to get together, and his base reaction was, “Get to it already.”
So, my question to you: How much do you want to know about a book before you start. And if you know something is supposed to happen, do you find yourself waiting for it? Perhaps even skimming until you get there? Even if the author is talented, do you have that niggling in the back of your head saying this is all setup and the real stuff is yet to come? Or do you avoid reading book blurbs (or reviews) altogether?
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society