Writing Excerpts: Reel them in with samples

Fishing reel

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It started when I got a nook color for Christmas. Suddenly I was tempted into the world of ebooks and spoiled for choice as literally THOUSANDS of titles were available to me in one click of instant gratification. Yet, it took me a couple of weeks to make that first critical purchase. Instead, I found myself downloading sample after sample, snacking my way through the selections of the month, but never quite settling down to a full “meal.”

What happened to make me click “buy”?

I stumbled across several free short stories that pulled me into landscapes I wanted to explore further. Those standalone stories sold me on the novels (and authors) they represented.

This isn’t a new trend. I remember, wandering into my local bookseller and finding stacks of compilation “books” on the counter. These pulpy wonders were smaller than a Reader’s Digest and chock full of excerpts designed to lure me to buy books. The gimmick worked then, too.

Here’s a wild suggestion for you. Before you complete your novel, or while you’re writing it, if the mood strikes, think about creating excerpts. They might be standalone portions of your existing storyline, or those wild-hare-out-of-nowhere stories about your protagonist that don’t really belong in the novel (Backstory, anyone?). You can find tips on creating an excerpt from existing work at Writer’s Relief.

Once complete, use your work as a marketing tool. Submit short stories and excerpts to the appropriate magazine markets to get your work in front of prospective readers. Introduce them to your characters, make them fall in love with your world, and hook those readers on the idea of purchasing your novel.

Happy Writing!


2 comments on “Writing Excerpts: Reel them in with samples

  1. I’ve been thinking about introducing my main character on my blog by doing an “interview” with her. I wonder if I should try doing an excerpt first?

    • You could do both! If a short story about your character is published someplace other than your blog, you can always include a link to the “interview” in your author bio at the end. The more ways you can find to get your name and your character in front of readers, the better.

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