… can excerpts be weird or what?!
As my book budget is a little tighter and the quality of some of the (m/m romance) work a bit meh, I find myself reading excerpts from books more and more often these days. This is especially the case when the blurb sounds vaguely interesting and I’m wavering about the purchase or I’m a bit hesitant about laying out the hard earneds because it’s a new to me author.
Now that I’m actually reading them, I’ve noticed how excerpts can vary hugely. I’m not just talking about the differences in reader responses such as ‘Good God that was fabbo/shite’, but, more interestingly, the actual bits of the story they (you know, the Royal ‘THEY’) may use for the excerpt.
See to me it works like this: book cover/hook, blurb/line + excerpt/sinker = here fishy, fishy, fishy.
So, if the excerpt is the sinker – basically the final opportunity to reel that sucker in – why is the approach to them so diverse? You’d think there’d be some kind of standard excerpt/scene requirements for how to showcase a story or an author, wouldn’t you??
Why then will the reader sometimes get a sex scene or a first chapter or a declaration of love or a snippet of the conflict/tension or even two of these things on the odd occasion? How come some excerpts are so long you feel that you might as well just buy the book already or so short it makes you start to think they must be trying to hide something? Are they chosen by the author or the publisher or the editor or do you think it’s the marketing department acting out their version of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey?
I’m curious. If you read excerpts – even if it’s infrequently – , what are you looking for in one? Are you someone who prefers the first chapter or would you rather just a couple of paragraphs to give you a sense of the setting, the characters or the writing?