There are two things you keep doing that affect my reading pleasure. Well, okay there are lots of things you do, but I don’t have time to go into detail about all your cover sins, and your back jacket copy lies, misinformation, and bad writing, which frequently keep me away from genius books. Thus I will limit myself to two complaints:
Complaint the first and smaller of the two:
Please do not place spoilery acknowledgments at the front of a book. Actually, please don’t place un-spoilery acks at the beginning of a book. Acknowledgments belong at the back of the book. They are back matter. It’s only after we’ve read the book that we understand what the author is thanking people for and what it means.
Complaint the second and hugest:
For the love of all that is wondrous, do not place an advertisement for another book on the page facing the final page of the book.
This is the worst thing in the world.
I just finished Annette Curtis Klause’s Blood and Chocolate.1 It’s a wonderful book that’s intense and involving and made me totally forget I live anywhere but in the world of Blood and Chocolate until I turned to the last page and there facing it was a whopping great big ad for another book by that publisher.
Way to break the spell, publisher people. Why would you do that? You just destroyed my reading experience. You just ruined thousands of people’s reading experience. A curse upon your house. A really nasty curse. One that means you never publish a profitable book again. You will lose all bidding wars, your publicity campaigns will crumble to dust, your most successful authors will leave you.
What should have been on the facing page was nothing. A blank page. There should never be anything facing the final page of a book. EVER. I do not understand how publishers don’t understand this.
Readers want a moment of quiet in which to savour the end of the book. Do not worry, we will eventually turn the page and find the back matter. We’ll read the acks, peruse the ads, and the opening chapter of the next book by the same author. That’s when we’ll be in the right frame of mind to be receptive to your blandishments to buy more of your books. There’s absolutely no need in the world to SHOUT at us to do so before we’ve finished the book.
Stop it immediately.
A lover of books2