No, I’m not talking see-through, even though that could be extremely cool if it was possible. What I’m talking about, is letting your readers know what you’re up to, whether there are more books in a series, and never leaving them hanging at the end of a book. Recently I finished book four in a series by a bestselling author. I won’t tell you the series or the author or even the genre (so you can’t guess), because that would be mean to the author. And that’s not why I’m writing this.
The reason I am writing this, is that, when I put down book four, I found myself angry. Not angry over the story line, because it was pretty good, but angry over the way it just ended. No preview to the next book, no indication anywhere in the book that there would even be another book. I shouldn’t have been surprised, because this author had done this with all of her previous books, making her readers dash over to her blog in desperation for any news of a possible next book. Of course, since she only released one per year and I have read a ton of books by other authors in the meantime, I had forgotten this. Still, after this, I felt annoyed and a bit betrayed, like the author doesn’t care all that much about her readers.
Anyway, having to go to her blog to find out (and not even being courteously directed there by the author herself) if she was even planning a fifth book, was maddening. Along with that, I found a post stating that some of her readers were confused about how many books would be in the series. First of all, why would they be confused if she had stated at the very beginning? So, I guess she hadn’t. The second thing that surprised and annoyed me (and I’m sure some of her other readers too) was that she listed all five books, with the last one ‘entitled’ “Title to be decided”. Didn’t she already have the titles mapped out for the entire series? And, as a bestselling author with an actual publishing house, how did her publishers let her get away with that?
To all my fellow authors, don’t do this to your readers! It alienates and annoys them! Be transparent. Let them know up front how many books you plan for a series and for pity’s sake, don’t finish book four before coming up with a title for book five! Let your readers know all your updates through your blog, but don’t be stingy on ‘sneak peeks’. Make them desperate for more after reading a snippet of your next book and let them know there will BE a next book. Don’t let your readers become confused.
So, there’s my rant and advice. Until next time,
Keep dreaming and never give up!