Using Excerpts for Promotion

Purpose of an excerpt

  1. To give the reader a sample of the author’s work
  2. To give the reader a sample of the author’s writing style

Where to use an excerpt

  1. Author’s website
  2. Publisher’s website
  3. Online blogs
  4. Discussion boards
  5. Promotion-friendly sites, including Yahoo groups

What to include in an excerpt

  1. Identify the book’s genre and sub-genre by “showing” it in the word choices.
  2. Keep it short, no longer than a few pages.
  3. Possibly use the first scene in the book because it should have a powerful hook.
  4. Or choose a scene that won’t be confusing, possibly one from the middle of the book.
  5. Make it an interesting choice that contains dialogue and conflict.
  6. End it on a cliffhanger or dramatic moment to make the reader want to read more.
  7. Give purchase information at the end with direct links.

Marketing with an excerpt

  1. Call it a “free chapter” or “free sample” to sound more appealing
  2. Blog about announcing your excerpt

Sample short excerpt

This is taken from my published novella, Maggie’s Secret Wish, from Decadent Publishing:

She gaped in horror. Five emails from Madame Evangeline. Five! What about her message had captured the matchmaker’s attention enough to have her keep trying to contact Maggie? Fingers shaking, she opened the first message.

I’m so pleased you contacted me, Ms. Malone. I’m sure that I can find someone perfect for you. Please email me back so we can discuss this further.

Palms sweating, she opened the next message.

I’ve done a basic background check on you, Maggie, as I’m sure you’re aware I do for all my clients. Your websites are quite well done, unique. I could see your special imaginative flare. I noticed it in your query message as well. I’m positive I can find the perfect match for you. Please contact me as soon as possible.

Maggie drew in a nervous breath. Madame Evangeline had mentioned imaginative things in her original email, certainly meaning the fantasies. How embarrassing. Yet she opened the third message.

I know exactly what you need, my dear Maggie. You need time away from your work, time to satisfy your secret desires, time to let a very special man attend to your every wish. I eagerly await your response.

Satisfy her secret desires? Let a special man attend to her every wish? Oh, yes! Need thrummed through her, making her squirm in her desk chair.

Heart racing, she opened the fourth message.


The Smarts Button

This website is the work of Starla Criser, an author who has published more than 50 stories, both traditionally and through self-publishing routes.