by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig
Back when I was writing the Southern Quilting Mysteries for Penguin Random House (I’m writing the series independently now), I knew that I would need to have to have a teaser chapter ready for the next book in the series by the time the current book was in production.
This was a bit of a challenge for several reasons. For one, I knew the next book in the series wouldn’t be coming out for a year. That’s the way traditional publishing worked. For another, it required me to already have an outline in place for the next book. For another, I knew that Penguin Random House wouldn’t want any major changes in that chapter–I needed to have a lock on the character names, etc.
Their focus at the time was mainly still print. The teaser chapter was a gimmick from an earlier day in the print world.
I’ve used teaser chapters in my self-published books in the past, but now I’ve moved away from the practice…mainly because I’m not wild about teaser chapters as a reader. Since I read most books digitally, a teaser chapter at the end of a book can make me think that I have more of the book to read than I do. Besides, reading a teaser for a book that hasn’t yet been published can be frustrating.
Maybe back cover copy would be better. Wouldn’t use up as much room. Or even something like “Next book is “Title.” For updates on the story as I write it, subscribe to my newsletter at _______.
Here are my thoughts currently on the better use of teaser chapters:
If we do include a teaser at the end of the book, consider making it a short one so that readers won’t think they have a lot of book left to read.
Perhaps we should be sensitive to readers and not include a teaser chapter if the book’s release is anticipated to be many months or a year away.
To reach more readers (and not irritate them by including a teaser for a book that won’t come out for a long while), we could consider trading short teasers with another author in the same genre (for theircompleted book).
Or, if we write more than 1 series, put a short teaser of the first book in the other series in the back.
If we put a buy-link in that we can track (through bit.ly, etc.), we can assess how well the teaser is working.
Do you use teaser chapters in your books? What are your thoughts on them, as a reader?