Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spoilers in Reviews

For those of you who write reviews, do you include spoilers? If you do, do you have an "alert" warning? What do you consider a spoiler? If something happens within, say, the first three chapters (or 5,000-10,000 or so words) do you consider it a spoiler?

I ask because there's been an issue with a review of "The Odd Couple" on Amazon since it was posted (Sage320's review). A few people posted in the comments that they would've appreciated a spoiler alert. One person said she was thinking about not buying the book because Sage320 presumably gave the plot away. However, another person said the spoiler made her more likely to buy the book.

When  I was rethinking the "Third" blurb change to include Anne's specific identity, one factor I considered was how early in the book she was revealed. Answer: Pretty early. Within the first few pages, if you're history-minded. Or, heck, if you like to watch Showtime or happened to watch a Tudor movie or show. You'd probably figure it out right away. And if you had no clue after the first chapter, you find out in Chapter Two that Helen Franklin is a Tudor historian. Another clue. In Chapter Three, Anne's identity is revealed, period. Point blank. No doubt about it. So I figured that wasn't much of a spoiler if I modified the blurb. The tradeoff was worth it, I thought, especially since Anne is a romance lead and her identity is important.

This, however, and "The Odd Couple" comments (the most recent of which was today, prompting this) caused me to go back and see specifically where the first "spoiler" happened in "The Odd Couple." It happens relatively early in the book, in Chapter Three and on page 17 of the print edition (the font is on the small side, though).

So, reviewers, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about spoilers. (I know Sage320 has come under fire before for giving out spoilers.)

Readers, I'd be interested in hearing about how you react to spoilers.

As for me, I'm a reviewer, too ( I post spoiler alert warnings, and on Goodreads, I take advantage of the feature to hide spoilerish parts. I usually delete them entirely for my Amazon reviews. If I don't, I add a warning.


Mary Anne said...

I reviewed THIRD prior to you changing the blurb. I did not think it was my place to reveal the character's identity. I was careful not to reveal it in my review. Were I to reveal what should remain a secret in the content of a review I would feel obliged to provide a spoiler alert.

Q. Kelly said...

And I appreciate you trying to honor the gist of my blurb. I probably would've been OK if you had revealed who Anne was. Like I told you before, I didn't think a review could be done without revealing who Anne was. You pulled it off perfectly.

I'm hopeful the blurb change pays off. Too early to tell.

Q. Kelly said...

** If it doesn't, I will probably return to the other blurb.