That is actually the question.
I recently read an article about spoilers not being a bad thing. It asserted that, instead, spoilers make you enjoy stories more. Obviously, I won’t repeat the article verbatim* (I’m not into plagiarism), but what I took away from it was the concept that if an audience knows what’s coming, they can focus more on the actual story as it develops, rather than try to guess what’s around the corner.
I found this soothing. You see, I’ve received a few reviews recently which contain spoilers for a twist which -while I thought it was predictable- a few readers have said they didn’t see coming.
Before I continue, I want to be very clear that this blog post is in no way an indictment of the reviews I’ve received, because those people cared enough to take the time and make the effort to leave feedback, and that is awesome. I value every single reviewer, and thank them from the bottom of my heart for leaving their thoughts for me and for other readers. The feedback is deeply, genuinely appreciated. (Yes, even the handful of 3 star reviews. They are fair, and valid, and I appreciate them, too, and I will use them to improve my writing going forward.)
I firmly believe it is a reviewer’s right to put their feelings and opinions of a work out there however they choose to. Spoilers or no spoilers. Even though I’ll admit it – I have never really liked spoilers.
In Handle With Care‘s case, some reviewers have -on Goodreads- ticked the box that declares that they’re doing just that, which then gives the option to hide the review from people who mightn’t like reading spoilers (like me). Amazon doesn’t (as far as I’m aware) offer the option to do that. And that’s okay. It’s an Amazon flaw, not a reviewer’s.
However, I know that as a reader/viewer myself, a courtesy “Spoiler Alert” at the beginning of a review is helpful to me, because I personally detest reading them before I’ve read a book/watched a movie so I will skip that review…but, according to the article I referenced above, there’s a chance that spoilers might actually make me enjoy the story more.
So this all got me thinking… when it comes to Handle With Care, the ‘twist’ that has been “spoiled” in these reviews actually puts my novel into an additional trope category than just the ones I’ve been advertising it under. It’s a trope that I know a lot of readers enjoy. Some even specifically seek it out.
With that in mind, I’m now wondering: should I embrace the spoilers? Lean into them and change my blurb? Market this additional trope as part of the novel’s appeal? It’s very tempting to do it.
If the article I read is right and spoilers don’t actually ruin a reader’s enjoyment, I can’t see why I shouldn’t embrace them. Especially if I’m going to potentially market to a new group of readers who might not have given my novel a chance otherwise, not realising that I tick their trope boxes after all.
But it’s daunting. Just like every other decision in this self-publishing adventure. Every time I start thinking that I’ve started to wrap my head around it, something new pops up to challenge me. (Or maybe I’m overthinking again.)
But, with no magical guide to tell me what to do, I’m off to write a list of pros and cons.
I’ll let you know how I go.
(If you’d like to give the article that inspired this ramble a read, THIS LINK will take you there.)