Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Excerpts

          Have to admit, I used to choose print novels by their blurbs and the inside one-page teaser excerpt. Sometimes now,  you'll see an author portrait on the back jacket. And inside, there may be pages and pages and pages of one-liners praising other books--some not even by the author in question. Those never work for me. Don't care what the author looks like or how many cats she has. And the one-liners are just extra pages to pass over until you get to the heart! (If I'm reading on an e-reader, which I almost always am now, those are particularly annoying!)
          But blurbs and excerpts? Yeah, definitely. Aside from glowing recommendations from people I know in real life (or now, through social media), blurbs and excerpts are what make me think, "Ooooh. I'm so hooked!"
         Used to be, with the one-pagers in a print romance novel, that the excerpted bit was fraught with sexual tension, perhaps the moment leading up to the first kiss. Not so much anymore. The excerpts you see on the internet go on much longer. Sometimes they are action scenes. Sometimes they are sex scenes. Sometimes they leave the reader wanting more, much more. And sometimes...not so much.
         So I'm trying an excerpt for Healing Hearts.
         With Sleepy Hollow Dreams picking an excerpt was a no brainer. Had to have Katy running from the Headless Horseman. The Wild Rose Press had a word-limit. Which my editor expanded to get Ryck into the picture! (Ssh. Don't tell.)
         I'm having more trouble deciding with Healing Hearts. First encounter? (And, if so, from which character's point of view?) First kiss? Potent sexual tension? Wicked banter? Something from the danger zone?
          Grrr. I want to excerpt all of it. Healing Hearts releases February 28 from Carina Press. So there's time. But I'd like to post something on this blog's Healing Hearts page now!
         

What do you think?


How do you choose? How would you choose?

Help me out here, peeps!

I'll send a copy of Sleepy Hollow Dreams to the commenter with the best (or most random) suggestion!

39 comments:

Shoshanna Evers said...

I *LOVE* the new site design. Easy to look at at, easy to read. Woot! Love, love, love it.
As for picking excerpts, I choose a few and send them to my editor, who picks her favorite, tweaks it, and sends it back to me. We do this once or twice and boom, excerpt. LOL

Taryn Kincaid said...

Thanks! (Still used to the BLACK background, but it was more appropriate for Sleepy Hollow Dreams than it is for Healing Hearts. So this is mellow. It IS taking some getting used to on my part, tho.)
You already HAVE a copy of Sleepy Hollow Dreams, don't you?

The Paris Secret By Angela Henry said...

I always try and choose excerpts and teasers that show some kind of juicy tidbit or action to entice readers without giving away too much.

Taryn Kincaid said...

Soo hard!

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

I say go with whichever excerpt can allow you to end with the best hook. If the book is really spicy, then the sexual tension excerpt might be a good choice. If it's going to be marketed as more of a romantic comedy, you could go with the wicked banter. If it's got lots of suspense, then hook the reader with a heart pounding excerpt.

Good luck! :)

Taryn Kincaid said...

Thanks, Stacey! Great ideas!

Emily Cale said...

I always pick a section that my editor was really excited about. I figure she knows best :)

Otherwise, I tend to pick something that I had used for Six Sentence Sunday that got a good reaction. Of course, the excerpt is expanded, but I always think you guys know best.

Keri Stevens said...

I was too confuzzled to decide, so Carina did it for me: Opening scene of Stone Kissed. Which, frankly, was probably what I would have gone with (after all, if it doesn't hook, what would?)

Taryn Kincaid said...

Everything gets a good reaction on Six Sunday! (May be why I love it so much!)

Nicole North said...

I like using different kinds of excerpts (the types that I've noticed have motivated me to buy books in the past.) Sometimes a first chapter excerpt. Sometimes an excerpt with tons of sexual tension. Always with a major hook or cliffhanger where the reader feels like they HAVE TO see what happens next. I've used both hero and heroine excerpts. Sometimes the hero introduction excerpt works well if you can make the reader love him or find him incredibly sympathetic right away, or in a short space. :) Best of luck!

Taryn Kincaid said...

Keri: Wait! Carina decides??? But I want to put it up NOW! Probably won't get the official nod from Carina until January!

Sandra Sookoo said...

I have a hard time but usually make sure it ends on a hook or is exciting/sexy. Good luck!

Taryn Kincaid said...

Nicole ~ I don't see how any reader could NOT love Adam. Have you seen the picture of him on the cover?

heatherthurmeier said...

I think ending with a hook is definitely key. You want your potential readers to NEED to know what happens next. Whatever you pick, I'm sure it will be great!

Jessica Subject said...

Hooks are always great to end off with. I also like to read scenes from the male's POV. In M/F romance novels, we're used to reading from the female POV, so I find it always great to hear the other side of the story, especially if the excerpt really does sound like a guy. (Not a girl writing a guy's part)

Taryn Kincaid said...

Sounds like I may go with a hook close to the opening. Maybe from Adam's POV. Decisions, decisions. I do so love writing the male POV! Gives me a chance to let the language rip!

The Book Blogger said...

You know what Taryn, I would go with an excerpt that gets right to the heart of the people you are trying to reel in. The heart of the genre of the book.
Ie; if its going out to people who would be buying it for sexual tension and romantic story, i would go with a rip roaring love scene, only to cut it at the best bit.
If it is going out to people who want action, I'd go with a scene that ramps up the anxiety and excitement for the reader.
Your book is obviously a romance and a HOT romance at that, so i would say, Go with the sexual tease scene and leave the people/potential buyers, hanging and busting to read more..
Im sure you will make the right decision.
Kerrianne I hope this is helpful.

Taryn Kincaid said...

Thanks, Kerrianne! (You know you're not in the running for a freebie of Sleepy Hollow Dreams, though, right?)[grin]

The Book Blogger said...

I know.... What about Healing hearts though....? *Blinks innocently and sweetly* I can wait.

*Grins*
Kerrianne

Liia Ann White said...

I'm with you, I pick books to read based on the blurb and excerpts. How else are you going to know if you'll like it?
Just go with your gut on the excerpt. Anything that feels right. Something juicy that shows off both the main characters' personalities. As long as it shows off your writing style that's what counts. That's what'll make people buy it - your writing :-)
If all else fails, I'd just get betas to pick what they think would work best! Hehe
Good luck!

Taryn Kincaid said...

Possibly can be arranged. Cough. Cough.

The Book Blogger said...

YEY!!!
Cough cough. *Nose tap*

Kerrianne

Mary Ricksen said...

I agree about the blurbs and excerpts. Blurbs most importantly. To me they are the thing that catches my eye and makes me read the excerpt.
You will find the words for the blurb, I'm sure of it. Just make sure the blurb gives readers a good idea of what and where the story happens, and a bit of a cliffhanger.
Good luck, because I think a lot of success depends on luck as well as talent!

Taryn Kincaid said...

I think so, too, Mary. And timing. Often, timing is everything!

Liz Fichera said...

Looking forward to reading yours. I've got it loaded on my nook, btw.

Taryn Kincaid said...

Thx, Liz! Captive Spirit's on my TBR list!

JL Walters said...

The excerpt depends on who your audience. Some places don't want explicit scenes and some do. Is this just for your own site. If so pick something that makes your readers want to know more about the people in the book and definitely end with a hook

Taryn Kincaid said...

Healing Hearts is not an erotic romance, Janet. It's hot and steamy, but it's a Regency.
My excerpt from Sleepy Hollow Dreams wasn't even explicit.
Yes, it's for thisblog. At least initially. I don't think I really want to change it from place to place, though. Only so much of the book I'm willing to give away!

Maeve said...

What part of your book grabs YOU, Taryn? I know. I know. The ENTIRE book is your baby. But when you re-run the words through your mind, which scene pops into your head first...and most consistently? Your heart knows. Your head is just getting in the way. ;-)

Taryn Kincaid said...

Oh, I know what I'm probably going to use, Maeve. No, wait. Maybe that other scene. No, wait!

Liz said...

The wicked banter!

Taryn Kincaid said...

Had a feeling you'd go for that!

Lilly Gayle said...

Interesting post Taryn! When writing my blurb for Out of the Darkness, I knew it had to be that first moment when Megan began to suspect Vincent was a vampire. For my soon-to-be released historical, it's a playful encounter that becomes charged with sexual tension as it progresses. But whatever you choose as your blurb for Healing Hearts, it should show the overall theme of your book, the personalities of your h/h, hint at a mystery revealed in the book, or show a moment of suspense that will leave the reader hanging. The blurb should sell the book!

Or, at least that's what I've been told. lol!
BTW, I love the cover! That alone will certainly draw most reader's attention!

Taryn Kincaid said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lilly.

Taryn Kincaid said...

And the winner is...Emily Cale!

(Mainly because half of you already have Sleepy Hollow Dreams, and I wasn't sure if the other half would be freaked out by the explicit language!)

I thank you all for stopping by and playing! Excellent suggestions one and all!

P.L. Parker said...

Love the cover.

Taryn Kincaid said...

Thanks, P.L.!

Celia Yeary said...

I see that I'm late, but here's my advice:
Me? An excerpt is the most difficult part to do--more than the blurb. The excerpt should be like a teeny-tiny short story. A beginning, a middle, and an end. I wrote an article titled "The Perfect Excerpt" which is in Archives on The 1st Turning Point.

Readers are very fickle and have extremely short attention spans (caused by our rushed-up-society.) So you have about eight seconds to grab the reader's attention.
Make it all dialogue--as much as you can anyway. The worst excerpts are those with too much or all narrative.
Included action--even if it's connected to the dialogue. Must be the hero and the heroine. Preferably no one else.
Three scenes: The H&H is some situation. Something happens. Then an ending that includes--a Hook!
Not easy, but it can be done if you work at it! Good luck--both with your excerpt and your release. Celia

Taryn Kincaid said...

Great advice, Celia! Thanks!

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