Assuming I sell the mess in progress, I will put excerpts up, either here or somewhere else. Why? Because I think they help sell books. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve bought because I read an excerpt, loved the writing and had to have the book. I own 1,300 books, some of which I haven’t read; I have 18 books checked out of the library. I’m nowhere near a shortage of reading material.
Yet I keep buying new books, because I see a review, or I hear buzz. I want to know more, so I hunt for the author’s website, and I hope there’ll be an excerpt there, one that’ll tell me this is a book I want to read, this is a book I’ll love reading. I make a note of it in the book I keep in my purse, and I plan to head for the bookstore.
I could do all that if I went to the bookstore and found the book and opened it, sure. But I rarely go to the bookstore just to browse any more. I go with a mission, with something in mind. Half the time, I’m there as a detour between Point A and Point B, and I don’t have time to wander. So I don’t browse, and I don’t go looking for that book that sounded good in that review I read last week.
In the interests of candor, sometimes an excerpt will make me decide a book isn’t for me, after all. I don’t think that matters, in the end. The author isn’t losing a sale she would have otherwise had. If the excerpt doesn’t work for me, the same text, read in a bookstore, isn’t going to work for me either. However I make the decision, it’s the same decision: I’m not buying the book.
Given all that, given that I’m writing for readers like me, you can be sure I will be putting up an excerpt as soon as there’s a good reason for it.