The Sense Behind Cliffhangers

I really believe it’s time I write this post.

I don’t think many readers understand where we as independent authors stand in the great marketplace of fiction books. We can write great books but it means nothing if we don’t get eyes on them. Personally, I love writing a story in the series format. It gives me a big plot point to write toward, one that gives the story a huge dramatic reason to continue. However, just because we write a book doesn’t mean we’re going to get visibility. We used to have more of it when I first began eight years ago, then Amazon was building it’s ebook/Kindle platform so they wanted you to consume as many ebooks as possible. Plus, now, Amazon is in the publishing game and so that makes it harder to be seen on their store. Even Apple Books and Nook used to give us more visibility. These days, it takes a huge effort consisting of ingenuity and promo cash to get eyes on our books. Free and 99¢ promos help us get that visibility.

We pay our bills from the work that we do. The mortgage, credit card payments, food, gas, etc.

If you download a free book, then at some point you’re going to pay. Most ebooks from publishers are $11.99 for one book. You purchase the complete The Dark Christmases Trilogy, three books (book one free), the total is $7.98 for over 800 pages of a story!

If we as authors are writing for a living, then we’re not doing it for free. A book one of a series is designed to get you interested in our story. If you like what you read, then you pay for the rest. If you don’t like the story or the writing style, then you as the consumer get to move on and find something you like! It’s a win/win situation. You get to test the product for free!

Heck, the last series I got hooked on was Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan series. I paid for each book. Only she had a huge platform to get my attention. I watched “My Brilliant Friend” on HBO and wanted to know what happens next. I wasn’t like, I hate cliffhangers! One star! I’m entitled to the whole series for the price I paid for book one. 

I will say though, that the more I focus on one genre, writing one style of story, the less I’ll have to survive on the “series” format. BUT, I love writing trilogies. Love it! 😍 I love sectioning the story in my brain and then writing toward that HUGE plot point I mentioned earlier. Usually, between books, I take a break and imagine getting my characters to their next big plot point. So I don’t think that’s going to change any time in the near future.

So please, if you see an indie author writing a cliffhanger, give us a break! My goodness, it’s dog-eat-dog out there. Most of the time, when it shakes out, you’re going to be paying less than a traditionally published author. And really, if it weren’t for us, the publishers would be making you pay more! It’s easier for us to offer our books cheaper because we don’t have the overhead.

One more thing for you to ruminate over as a consumer. If you see a book from an indie author for 99¢, then know he or she is only making a 35% royalty on each sale. It will take selling 100 books to make $35. The 70% royalty starts when a book is priced at $2.99. So, even when you see a 99¢ book, it’s also priced to allow you to test drive the story and purchase more from the author.

And finally, thank you so very much for reading my stories. Most of you have followed me from sci-fi to my version of vampire romance, through several kinds of romance genres, to my version of romantic suspense, and finally to now, where I’m settling on steamy romance coupled with suspense and dark elements. My goal was, is and will always be to give you an in-the-body experience that takes you to another place. So no matter what, you’re going to get that from me.

Once again, thank you! Keep having a fab weekend!

Talk soon!💜


  • Norma

    I like cliffhangers if I can right to the next book as soon as I finish the first book. When the book is a good one I will wait for the next book in the series to come out within reason. I do love the Christmas series and I am so happy the books can be read one after the other. Saying that, you are a great writer and I have waited for your next book can out a was satisfied.


  • Cindy

    While I’m not a big fan of cliffhangers, I don’t exactly hate them either. What I do hate with a passion is when the author gives no warning that there is a cliffhanger. When I know right from the start that a book will end in a cliffhanger, then it’s my choice to read it right away or wait until the next book is out or until the entire series is finished. It’s extremely frustrating as a reader to really get into a book and then find out it’s book one of a three or four part series and the next book isn’t even going to be published for five or six (or even more) months, and god only knows how long until the entire series will be finished. In my humble opinion, I don’t think asking for that warning is too much to ask for.

    • ZLArkadieBooks

      Ahh… Great point! You’re absolutely right. I was so happy to be able to read the Neopolitan series all the way through. So nope, a warning is not much to ask for. Thanks for weighing in. Your comment adds the right sort of texture to the subject matter. 👍

  • Elaine

    Would far rather read a book in a series with cliff hangers. I love reading your books and you’re the only author I know at the minute that satisfies my curiosity of what happens to the characters, as they tend to feature in subsequent books with other stories.
    Keep up the good work Z