The topic on my mind today is excerpts. The reason? A new FREE sampler just released –A Taste of Traditional Regencies— put together by four of my Bluestocking League sisters and me. We’ve made it available in all e-formats through all the major ebook outlets, so we hope you’ll accept this gift from us! ‘Tis the season, and all that…. Maybe you’ll discover a new author to love. (I’ll put the links at the end of this post.) Don’t forget that even if you don’t have an e-reader, you can download Kindle for PC for free from Amazon and read on your computer!
The five of us range from “oldies but goodies” to fairly new authors –even if you’ve already read my updated version of The Captain’s Dilemma, I bet there’s at least one of us you haven’t tried. The “theme” of this collection is first books in a series, or of connected books.
The excerpts in the sampler are extended multi-chapter segments. Mine goes into the start of Chapter 6. We figured if we were giving readers a “taste”, we wanted them to really get a taste! But I would love to know –what do you think about excerpts, in general? Does it frustrate you to get that far and have to buy the book to finish the story? Would you rather get a “whiff” instead of a really good taste –i.e. just a short excerpt, a page or less? A few paragraphs? Or do you prefer to get deeply into the story?
Then I wonder, do excerpts really lead you to purchase books? Has reading an excerpt led you to discover a new author you loved? And then, what makes a good excerpt? For short ones, is it a scene that crackles with great sexual tension? A glimpse of an intriguing character? A cliffhanger incident? Or…?? What do you think?
This is a shorter post than I usually write –I’m pressed for time this week, and wouldn’t be surprised if you are, too, with the holidays approaching! But could you take a moment to respond to some of these questions? The feedback would be wonderful! And don’t forget to grab your free sampler.
Also, I want to remind you that we Riskies put together a sampler a while back, and it is still available to you, right here on our website. Look up there in the bar across the top. See where it says “Sampler”? We didn’t make it available on the regular ebook outlets, as “A Taste” is, but there it is, with eight of us offering samples of our work for free. Maybe this month you don’t have time to read whole novels, anyway? Stories are more lasting than chocolates, right? Try a sampler and maybe add something new to your wish list.
My next post will be on New Year’s Day, so I want to take a moment now to give you my very best wishes for the holiday season, no matter what you celebrate! I love sharing the blog with you –it always feels like sitting down to tea with a group of great friends. May your holidays be blessed with family, friends, and the warmth of loving hearts. Sending out hugs to you all!
Links for the Free Sampler: A Taste of Traditional Regency Romances, excerpts from Regina Scott, April Kihlstrom, Gail Eastwood, Camille Elliot, and Vanessa Riley.
Given the hard work you have all done in compiling your free sample it seems churlish to tell you that I don’t like or read collections of extracts, but you did ask! It’s partly because I really hate to be left wanting to know what happens next, and partly because I get confused and assume I’ve already read a book when I recognise the opening paragraphs. But I suspect I’m an exception to the general rule, because such extracts do seem to be popular.
Ironically, I do make book-buying decisions based on extracts, in that (unless the author is an auto-buy for me) I always read at least the first couple of paragraphs of a book I’m tempted to buy. The difference I’m identifying is that I read the small extract just before I buy a particular book, rather than in isolation with other extracts.
HJ, not churlish at all!! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. And what a good point you make about the opening paragraphs of a book being an”excerpt” of sorts. We all recognize the importance of those opening words –not only readers, but editors, too, make snap decisions based on those. Yet I never looked at it quite that way before. I’ve also never considered the “maybe I read this before” aspect of long excerpts. Maybe we authors are always hoping our books will stand out from the pack as more memorable? I don’t know. Thank you for starting my day with new food for thought! The best kind of breakfast. 🙂
Samplers don’t always make the list but I do enjoy getting a taste of them. I have purchased some books from samplers and other times I just want a short read to get me pump. Many folks don’t like them because it’s not the whole book they’re getting but it’s nice to see different books and authors share some of their stories, even if it’s a sample.
I seldom read collections of extracts– actually, I don’t know that I have ever read one. I would prefer a collection of short stories. They can be very short but would give a better indication of the author’s ability. I have read some blurbs that do make me wish I could sample a select portion of the book because the blurb put questions in my mind about historical accuracy. The excerpts rarely show whether the author is fairly accurate , uses obscenities, or has graphic sex. They are like the contest entries– polished and shined to a fare thee well — bit the process hasn’t been extended to the rest of the book. I have paid for more books based on what I read in a free one when I hadn’t read the author before.
Thanks for these insights, ki pha and Nancy! Marketing is always a big experiment, as far as I can see. Samplers seem to do well on the lists, but that might only be because they’re free…. Nancy, longer excerpts like those in A Taste would help with some of your issues, but I agree that short excerpts often fall short on proving the “trustworthiness” of an author! However, as for the short stories idea, I must point out that some of us don’t have the very particular skill it takes to do those well! 🙂
I always read excerpts before buying! I like to read just the first couple of pages, usually