During my short time in the indie author community, studying up on what other indie authors have done, there seems to be one common mistake made that inevitably rubs some reviewers the wrong way: unexpected cliffhangers.

I understand why it’s done. You’re trying to set the stage for a sequel and hope that the tension of the ending will compel readers to snap up the next book. But there’s a problem with that. When readers buy your book, spending their hard-earned money on an unknown author in hopes the story is fresh and entertaining, they expect to get a whole story!

By ending your story on a cliffhanger, essentially making it a two-parter, you’re robbing readers of the conclusion they expected. Instead of eliciting excitement, you’re likely to piss people off and feel like you’re just trying to milk a cash cow. They may not even buy the second book, out of fear you’ll just leave them on yet another cliffhanger! I mean, what is this, 1,001 Arabian Nights?

There are many ways to set the stage for a sequel while still concluding your story in a satisfactory manner. I won’t spoil the ending of my own book, but in His Name Was Zach, I conclude the story in such a way that it could have been a stand-alone novel, but also with a bit of mystery and apprehension as to what comes next. I then inform the reader on the very next page that there is indeed a sequel coming!

So please, do your readers a favor, and give them what they pay for! I mean, that’s really just the bare minimum, isn’t it?

Want to see how His Name Was Zach managed to wrap up a story while setting the stage for another? You can read it here for FREE on Kindle Unlimited, or download it for just 99 cents! You can’t go wrong with a whole novel for less than the cost of a small pumpkin spice latte, right?

Published by Peter Martuneac

Marine, Boilermaker, husband and father. I'm here to share my thoughts on all things political or philosophical.

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    1. Yeah I’ve noticed a slight trend. A couple authors got wise and released an updated version with a less cliffhanger-y ending, or combined their first two books. I’d be pretty mad too if I paid for a book and got a To Be Continued message!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yes yes yes a thousand times yes! Yes! I have loved a book until the end when it went haywire and it totally lost me. I refuse to pick up the next book in the series because I’m afraid the author will do it to me again. I need some resolution and a glimpse at what’s next. But don’t leave me hanging like we’re in the middle of a book and expect me to buy book 2.

    Liked by 1 person

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