I'm really sick of this.
You know when you're reading the back cover of a book, and it references something? And you're like, "Oh, that must be something pretty basic and simple! I mean, it's not like the back cover would have spoilers, right?" So it turns out that back cover blurbs actually have spoilers. Often.
Recently, I've found myself reading books that go into immense detail in the back cover blurbs. Now, I don't have any problems with the concept of a blurb. I don't think it's inherently bad to have a short, summarizing introduction. But giving away plot points or revealing character traits that aren't introduced in the book until very late...? Here I must draw the line.
A few weeks ago, I finished reading a novel that hammered home this problem. In the overly descriptive back cover blurb, it's casually mentioned that the main character lies about her name. This fact, it turns out, is only revealed on page 89. Even in a 500 paged book, that's pretty flipping late. Annoyed by this revelation, I wondered what could be done to avoid this in the future. Then it hit me: the 10% Rule.
Basically, the 10% Rule would state that the back cover blurb cannot include any reference to plot points, characters, ideas or concepts not mentioned in the first tenth of the novel. This would mean that a novella could have only a simple background description, while an epic fantasy novel could probably squeeze in a lot of information. We're so concerned about spoilers all the time but ultimately these blurbs can do more harm than a somewhat spoilery review. The reader spends so much time expecting events and characters and revelations, often times realizing that their effect is significantly diminished by the prior knowledge.
So readers, writers, publishers... let us join together to make our reading world a much more enjoyable and fulfilling place. Let us implement the 10% Rule and enjoy the surprises as they hit us. Because for heaven's sake: if the book spoils itself, what's the point?