Authors provide excerpts from their published romance novels for a variety of reasons. The main one is to give people visiting their website a sampling of their work so these readers can decide if the author's latest romance story, characters, setting, and writing style match the type of reading experience they're looking for. Another reason for providing these excerpts is to promote the romance novel elsewhere. It's desirable to approach prospective fans at appropriate online blogs, discussion boards, and other promotion-friendly sites to let readers know the existence of a new novel they might enjoy. But what's the best way to choose and present romance novel excerpts?
There's a right way to go about choosing and sharing romance novel excerpts. Whether the excerpt is shared at the author's own website or elsewhere online, here's the process in four simple steps:
First, tell the reader exactly what kind of romance novel it is. It's counterproductive to waste a reader's time. It's unwise to give them unpleasant surprises. Identify the book's sub-genre, and sub-sub-genre too if needed. A contemporary romance is different from a paranormal romance, and an erotic romance novel is very different from an inspirational romance! As for sub-sub-genre, if the book contains suspense it may be identified as a "contemporary romantic suspense," or mystery, or adventure, or thriller, etc. But don't go crazy. Claiming too many categories confuses more than it clarifies.
Second, choose an excerpt that's short. A few pages at most. Choose a scene or part of a scene that won't be confusing. One from the middle of the book might be ideal. If it requires a very short mini-setup, that is acceptable. Most often the first scene in the book is used since it presumably has a powerful hook and does not require a set up scene.
Third, ensure the excerpt is interesting. It should contain dialogue and a lot of white space – this isn't the time for a page-long description, however beautiful the writing. The excerpt should contain conflict, which is inherently interesting, and it should end on a cliffhanger or dramatic moment that causes the reader to want to read more.
Fourth, give purchase information at the end of the excerpt. Make it easy. Include direct links. If it's an excerpt from an eBook, include links to the book page at two or three online stores so the interested reader can select their preferred electronic format.