When I was looking to buy a house a few years ago, I spent a lot of time online perusing the houses, and I drove through neighborhoods during the day and at night to see if it was a place I could picture myself living.
Sometimes, the outside of the houses were beautiful, but once I got inside, I noticed the problems. Water spots on the ceiling, cracks in the kitchen counters, and crumbling back porches. These weren’t faults that could be seen from just standing on the curb admiring the house from a distance or looking at pictures. And if I hadn’t looked inside, I might have bought a house that would cost more to repair than it did to buy it. Even though I passed on several houses, I knew someone would buy those older houses because they enjoyed tackling those problems and creating their own dream house.
In some ways, I look at books the same. I start out by being captured by the cover art and the book description. If I’m awed enough, I’ll read the excerpt because I want to see what the inside is like before I make a purchase. I want to see how other writers entice readers, how they tell their story, and how they keep people coming back for more.
Occasionally, the inside of the book is just like a faulty house, and I end up passing on the purchase. I got inside and took a look around, but the book wasn’t for me. If I like the first excerpt but I’m still not quite sure, I might visit a few other places with different excerpts. Just like visiting rooms of a house, I want to see beyond the initial face that is presented to the world. Occasionally, though, I’m bowled away by the initial read, and I’ll instantly buy the book.
While a cover and a great book description can really catch a reader’s eye, I encourage you to read the excerpts. If the first one doesn’t connect with you immediately, but you still like how the story sounds, search out more excerpts. Most authors will post different parts of their story at various place like their website, Wattpad, and Facebook.
If, however, that first excerpt ignites your desire to read the story, listen to your instincts even if it’s not your usual type of story. Excerpts can bring you into a new world of reading, connect you with an author you’ve never read, and draw you into a story you just have to read.