The difference between a cliffhanger and a teaser…Readers, Authors, what say you? #AmWriting

My idea of a cliffhanger... ;)

Rarely will I comment on a review on Amazon or Goodreads, simply because authors are warned not to. However, every once and a while, if the reviewer's comment sounds lucid and respectful, I'll speak into their comment, just because I am selling a product, and I feel I should be willing to stand behind it, which I am!

One such case was about cliffhangers. First of all, let me be the first to assure my avid-reading friends that I HATE cliffhangers! And I don't write them. 

But, in one of my books, I decided to warn readers that because the book was a prequel, it does have a cliffhanger-like ending, but in my opinion, it really doesn't. I'll explain that in a few seconds. My beta readers suggested that I remove the disclosure, that after reading the story, I didn't need to apologize for the way the book ended, because it was a perfect ending. Well, I didn't listen. I kept the disclosure in the first part of the book: 'A note from the Author', AND I added it to the 'From the Author' section on Amazon, which is right below the description, simply because I didn't want to upset anyone.

The fact of the matter is...the story is a prequel, written after the first book in the series, and something happens in the first chapter of book one, so because it already happened, it had to happen. I just needed to work the story backwards from that point.

This person's complaint baffled me because I wasn't really sure what she calls a true cliffhanger. The first part of the story was complete; the current situation culminated to this one scene. Now...it was time to move on to the next situation. But...because I never want to leave anyone hanging, I did include the first two chapters of the next book, so you would know what happened and decide if you want to continue the next part of the story.

Contrary to what a lot of readers are saying, a book series that finishes one situation, but leaves something dangling is not a new practice started by Indie authors; it's been around for a long time. 

Two recent, mainstream books that come to the top of my head are Twilight and The Hunger Games. The current issue is resolved, but there's a bigger picture, a vengeful vampire scurrying off to lick her wounds and come back another day, or a powerful president who doesn't want anyone questioning his authority...

And yes...we had to wait for the next book, usually a year or so. At least most Indie authors get you the next book in the series in a few months. :)

I implore authors not to write cliffhangers without any resolution, but there's nothing wrong with a dangling carrot. I mean...really...how many people sat on pins and needles all summer while we waited to find out "Who shot J.R.?" The cliffhanger is not new! This is what makes a series, this is what keeps you coming back for more. 

BUT...I promise you. My books are all complete stories. You do not need to read the next book, the current situation is resolved, but YES...I am going to give you something that will hopefully make you want to come back for more.

And Twilight and The Hunger Games even split the last two movies in half, making movie goers wait to see the other half of the book.

Below are the firsts in my book series/collections, which...I also offer either FREE or at a really low price, another reason I can't understand why anyone would complain. 

I mean...what's a cup of coffee without a donught, a burger without fries or a Coke, and let's not forget about that two for special that every grocery store in the nation loves to run. I don't need two twelve packs of soda, but if I buy two, I save fifty percent... See...this is not a new practice; it's smart advertising.

Again, remember...I don't write REAL cliffhangers, and I don't suggest them, but I see nothing wrong with a dangling carrot.

Now...you tell me what you think! As always, I take to heart everything you, my avid-reading friends, say so that I can write a better story for you.


The firsts in my on-going collections...



Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post once or twice a week at the most. :)

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2 comments:

  1. A cliffhanger usually appears once a reader has had time to read about the characters and get invested in their journey and it more or less forces a reader to buy the next book to find out what happens next.

    A teaser is less...manipulative, for lack of a better word. A teaser, by my understanding of one, should be a snapshot of the story to draw someone in. Whether or not they want to invest in the book is up to them. If they don't they won't be the wiser since they haven't spent time on the plot.

    As for prequels, you shouldn't have to apologize. Most prequels I've ever read ended in such a way that I wasn't left dangling and had to pick up the next book to find out what happens to that couple. It's usually a short, quick story that delivers some background information or a history to the upcoming series, and they usually always stand alone. How a reader perceives a prequel or a cliffhanger is really their own problem. And that is coming from a reader :)

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! It is a cliffhanger, but I think there's no way the reader doesn't see it coming.

      Funny thing is... Lately, many readers complain when things are tied up in a nice pretty bow. Well, I don't think anyone will ever accuse me of that in the Creatus series. lol!

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