Spoiler alert: this post is not going to talk about COVID-19 or the state of our world and the ways in which we’ve all needed to adjust. But it is going to look at the pandemic as an example of something I’m asked about all the time. You guessed it: spoilers.
Rarely does a week go by when an author does not ask me whether posting a particular snippet with plot information to Facebook, or sharing a description of their main character’s conflicts or fate with a reporter will “give away too much.” In other words, whether it’ll be a spoiler.
Every single time—regardless of the amount of detail being shared—my answer is no.
Though it might sound surprising, in the world of book promotion, more information is…more. And less is…flat. In order to engage people who have not yet picked up your book, there needs to be enough powerful, detailed information to pique their curiosity. Far too often I see authors very carefully opting to give away little more than a publication date, a cover image, the sources of their inspiration and the content of the back cover copy. But in holding back juicy detail, you’re missing opportunities to engage.
Think about it. Details in and of themselves don’t tell the story. To anybody who has not read the book, details are like bait. As the author, you know your own book intimately. You instantaneously connect the dots from each tiny detail to the bigger picture. But that’s only because you know the bigger picture. Future readers have no way to do this.
Here’s how you can artfully weave the right spoilers into shout-outs and other communications about your book:
Share juicy details abundantly. In and of themselves, they give little away. Instead, they give a flavor for what makes the characters, the setting, the conflicts and your voice unique. These little tidbits will create intrigue and make people want to know more, not less.
For example, buried in one book we recently promoted is the author’s story of having been fired from her dream job due to sexual discrimination but deciding not to file a claim about it. (You might be wondering why. You can read about that here.) Most authors would want to hold back from sharing the details of a story like this and its outcome in the promotion process for fear that readers will get enough satisfaction from that stand-alone anecdote that they won’t want to read the entire book. But in fact, this tidbit is an intriguing inroad to the book itself, serving to pique curiosity. Doesn’t it make you want to know more? [Read more…]