Monday, 14 May 2018

Should Authors Warn Readers About Cliffhanger Endings?

Last year, I published a few articles inspired by comments/book reviews that I'd seen on Goodreads (not of my own works, though) and on social media. The links to those articles are below if you want to check them out, and you'll see that these posts got people talking, which was great. 

The Adultery In Fiction article was a direct reaction to a review I read for a book I'd finished reading (I like to skim through other readers' reviews after posting my own ratings on Goodreads), but I forgot to take a screenshot of that review and couldn't include it in my article. When I saw the comments below on cliffhangers, that authors should warn readers about them, I made sure to take a picture because I wanted to write a blog post about it and see what you guys think.

Did any of you know that some readers want to be told that a book they're about to read has a cliffhanger? I certainly wasn't aware! As someone who prefers to know as little as possible about what happens in a book before reading it, and who likes to be surprised by the story line and ending, I was (perhaps naively?) shocked to find that some people want to know if a book will end with a cliffhanger. That would kinda dilute the effect of the cliffhanger for me, knowing that it's coming, before I even flipped to Chapter 1.

I did a little digging and, low and behold, saw a few blurbs "warning" readers about the cliffhangers. I didn't take screenshots of those book pages to show you, so you're going to have to take my word for it: I'm not lying. I wish I was, because I would personally hate to come across a book description/blurb that gets me interested in reading a book, only to find a disclaimer at the end that says the book has a cliffhanger. For me, it's the worst kind of spoiler.

Whilst I was doing all this digging, I recalled seeing some blurbs in the past (for romance novels) that finished with, "This book has a HEA". I've also seen instances where reviewers were complaining about the lack of a happy ever after in a book with no warning about it in the blurb.

Although most romance novels have a HEA, and the majority of readers of this genre want and expect one, I honestly don't want to be assured that a love story has a happy ending. It would ruin the will-they-won't-they for me. I don't want to be forewarned about HEAs the same way that I don't want to be told about a cliffhanger ending. Personally, every book I read, regardless of genre, doesn't have to have a HEA, because life doesn't always have one.

I was surprised to see so many authors having disclaimers about HEAs and cliffhangers in their book blurbs, and it got me thinking: Did an author wake up one morning and think, "You know what? I'll write in the blurb that there's a HEA/cliffhanger, just in case a reader wants to know beforehand" or whether its a case of authors meeting the demands of readers? Readers that want to be warned about cliffhanger endings and if a book doesn't have a happy ever after.

So, as a reader, I don't want to be told how the story ends (it would ruin the reading experience for me) and as a writer, I won't be disclosing in my blurbs if a book of mine has a cliffhanger or a happily ever after. What's your opinion - should authors warn readers about cliffhangers? Do you like to know about cliffhanger endings/non-HEA endings? If you're an author, do you disclose in your blurbs about these types of endings in your works, and if you do, why did you make the decision to  do so? Comment below with your thoughts and happy reading.

Thank you for reading this post. If you're interested in my debut novel, Chasing Pavements (Soulmates Saga, Book 1) click here to learn more about it.

Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 

Book Details
Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction

Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.

And the first two books in my teen urban fantasy/YA paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon US|  Amazon UK|   iBooks US UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords

PB1 Book Details
Length: 29,000 words
GenreYA Paranormal Romance / Teen Vampire Romance / Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy / Teen & YA Urban Fantasy / Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy / Supernatural Romance / Fantasy Romance / Sparkling Vampires
Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things related to the Chosen One, vampires, slayers and witches!

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