More Excerpt Attempts

12/15 – There is one of these sponsored banners on Red Adept’s blog today. The banner, clearly labeled as sponsored advertising appears after her post for the day. If you click on the banner, you go to the book’s Amazon page. Then there is also a (more…) link, and if you click on that, you go to the excerpt. It’s a nice feature, and while I suspect a western historical won’t get a lot of clickers on a non-romance review blog, this undoubtedly has been good practice for something lurking in my future.

I took the post with the excerpt no one liked down. Since Paige said it wouldn’t get her to buy the book in such an adamant fashion that I suspect she meant it would cause her not to buy the book, I figure disappearing it wouldn’t hurt. I also suspect people who don’t wish me or my books well still monitor this site, and having a one-star review pop up for Eyes suspiciously soon after I posted that it had always had a 5-star rating rather confirmed that paranoid thought.

I have a question, though. Everybody seems to like the First excerpt. I like it myself, especially where it ends. However, I have to wonder – if a bit that refers to the menstrual cycle is off putting, isn’t that reference to spilling the chamberpot without context equally off putting? That’s my reservation about First.

12/14/10 – Okay, I went through the book and tried again. Nothing I tried in Chapter 2 made me happy with where an excerpt had to begin and where it had to end to encompass 750 words. If the allowance was 1,000 words… but it’s not. So I came up with the following four, and rather than print the whole book here in excerpts, I’m just giving the beginning, a sort of summary of the middle, and the end of each one. They’re in the order they appear in the book.

Page numbers may not match what you beta readers have since I edited quite a bit after your reads.

623 words
Chapter 4, page 21
Kindle Location 285

As [the lieutenant’s] body fell, Sarah tried to push herself even farther back into the fireplace. She was alone, the only sounds those of the Indians outside, beating on the door and windows to break through. Except….

*** This is where Sarah watches Matt zip around, taking things from bodies, shooting out the loopholes, and locating the hidey hole. He then grabs her and shoves her in the hole, closes them in, and holds her with his hand over her mouth because she can’t stop making sounds of distress. ***

Sarah shook her head violently from side to side. In the dark, the distinctive sounds as he drew back the hammer on the pistol tore across her nerves and left her quivering. The empty iron cuff and chain hanging from his wrist fell across her shoulders, and the barrel of the gun pressed under her chin.

“Me neither,” he said. “Now, sssh.”

749 words
Chapter 5, page 29
Kindle Location 407

He was right that knowing the dreadful smell was part of why she was still alive made it more bearable. So did the fact she couldn’t think of anything other than whether there was still a way out of this terrible grave.

*** This covers the time in the hole  from when Sarah decides she doesn’t want to talk any more until they’re out, she takes a good look at Matt and is still frightened of him, and he tells her they have to find another better hiding place.  ***

“Jake and Alvaro left in the middle of the night, keeping themselves nice and safe, I expect. So right now they’re all meeting up again to parcel out the spoils. And sooner or later, somebody’s going to say, ‘Too bad those two women were dead when we got inside.’ And Alvaro’s going to say, ‘What do you mean two? There were three.’ Or maybe Jake’s going to say, ‘Did you have fun with that one fellow all chained up and waiting for you?’ And some Comanche is going to say, ‘What are you talking about. Nobody was chained up.’ What do you think they’re going to do then?”

741 words
Chapter 34, page 237
Kindle Location 3252

As they approached the store, more and more people filled the sidewalk. Sarah called Laurie back and took her hand. The freighters had delivered more goods than just bolts of cloth, and the whole town seemed to be going to, coming from or already in Michel’s store. A tall, lean man in Levis and a faded blue shirt walked out of the store. Something about the way he moved, the way he was built…. Matt.

*** This is, of course, the scene where Matt and Sarah see each other again for the first time in 8 years. ***

Matt shrugged Jimmy off. He needed to see more of Sarah and of the little girl who leaned into her skirts and met his searching gaze curiously. Gradually he became aware of the tenor of the scandalized, half-frightened conversations around him, and then Beau seized him by the shoulders.
“What the hell’s gotten into you? I’ve never seen you act like such a damn fool. Move!”

741 words
Chapter 41, page 306
Kindle Location 4283

Matt got up. He moved not toward the center table, but to the counter, reached around and picked up the coffee pot as if he’d been doing it every day for years. The sound of his walk sent a shiver all the way down Sarah’s spine. His spurs hissed with each step.

*** This is, of course, the coffee pot scene. It’s another one where if only the allowance was 1,000 words.***

Their backs were towards her, and Sarah could only imagine their expressions. Banker Thompson returned to the table and threw down a few bills, then started for the door again. Matt didn’t move.
“And I suppose in those fancy places fellows like you never walk out without leaving a smart sum extra on the table for the waitress,” Matt said. “I figure no matter what happens, you want to make sure everybody knows how generous you are. Am I wrong about that?”


15 Responses to More Excerpt Attempts

  1. McD says:

    You’ve got some good choices there, Ellen.
    I like excerpt 4 followed by 1, then 3 and 2.
    However, I think any one of them would work well.

  2. Thanks, McD. I hope some others will chime in too. I’m sure mesadallas will and maybe she’ll have other ideas too. I didn’t scour every page. ~Ellen

  3. mesadallas says:

    I like the first one that you chose.

    One I thought of is the beginning of chapter five “Sarah was glad of the hand over her mouth…….” continue to the end of the third paragraph “he took his hand off her mouth, moved the pistol away, and eased the hammer dowm.” Pick up again at the 12th paragraph “As if he could read her mind, he went on more soberly….”continue and end with “Yankees spent almost four years trying to kill me. At firt, we were all greem. At the end most of us knew what we were doing. I reckon I can tell the difference.”

    This excerpt blends paragraphs well together. It is a tense exciting part of the story, it introduces a reader to the characters and the plot while setting up further plot development. It’s also dramatic enough to draw them in with a hook to make then want to find out what happens next. At least, if I were reading it it would work on me.

    If you don’t like it that’s o’k.

  4. mesadallas – Hey, thanks. You’re close to the mark with 618 words. I added what you had from Chapter 5 to my list. It is excellent for showcasing the characters. I’d like to see one of these in Red’s blog before finalizing. I wasn’t sure, for instance, about putting two sections together like that as opposed to lifting one chunk as is.

    From memory she said she’d put one up Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I’ll look tomorrow and hope some people are quicker off the mark than I am so I can see how one of these promos looks and works before deciding for sure. I have a banner kind of worked up too. As I said, her blog doesn’t do romance, but it’s one of those things where if you’re going to do it, you want it to be nice. ~Ellen

  5. Donna Fasano says:

    Ellen, I just saw that Sing My Name is #1 in the Kindle Store > Westerns. CONGRATULATIONS!!

  6. mesadallas says:

    You are more than welcome. Glad you liked it. No, I see nothing wrong with skipping over some paragraphs to combine others into one section. I do it all the time for better dramatic emphasis when I am putting school programs together.

  7. Hey, Donna – Thanks for stopping by. Yes, Sing is doing very well and kind of floating up and down in some of those categories. My guess is the one that helps the most is the Hot New Releases under Historical Romance. It’s been getting on the first page there and I think that helps a lot.

    I haven’t seen your name as much on the forums recently. Are things okay with you? ~Ellen

  8. Kristie says:

    Hi Ellen, my vote is definitely for the first one. I agree with mesadallas. I think skipping certain paragraphs and details and sticking with the action, so to speak, gives a more general gist of the story/characters. It will get the readers attention and they’ll have the added enjoyment of the details when they buy the whole book. In my opinion the one with Laurie hangs a bit because she is a character and part of the plot that is unknown from the description of the book.

  9. Paige says:

    How about taking the excerpt from a more romantic moment… or is that not a good idea because it’s going on a non romantic site.

  10. Paige – My guess is anything sexual would get turned down and that too emotional wouldn’t be a good idea on that site but of course that’s just my guess. She did have one of these up yesterday, so I got to see it. There’s a banner across the column at the bottom of her daily post and it’s labeled as a sponsored ad. If you click on the banner, it takes you to the Amazon product page for the book. There’s also a (more…) link below the banner, and if you click on that it takes you to the excerpt. Don’t know about anyone else, but I’d never click on the (more…) if the banner made it clear it was not my kind of book (like vampires or something). ~Ellen

  11. Kristie says:

    I think the chamber pot reference is fine because it is only one part, where the other excerpt is only about her period. The chamber pot makes you think, ew gross, but you move on. : ) Just my thought. Where is the one star rating? It’s not on amazon… What on earth happened that people are so unhappy with you?

  12. Kristie – I’m still debating about the excerpt.

    The one-star rating on Amazon is for Eyes. Of course it’s been out since April and has a lot more reviews than Sing and so there’s more variety. It also has 2, 3, and 4s. ~Ellen

  13. mesadallas says:

    Ellen, the reference to the chamber pot is fine. It was in the middle of a tense, dramatic scene so it wasen’t the main idea of the excerpt.

    Yippee! Christmas break began on Friday! Two glorious weeks of freedom! What are everyone’s plans for Christmas?

  14. Hey, mesadallas – I never got two weeks off for Christmas. Never took two weeks at once that I can remember, but I sure know how it feels to be going into down time and all that glorious freedom. My holidays are always quiet ones with friends and that’s the way I like it. ~Ellen

  15. mesadallas says:

    This Christmas will also be a little quieter than in past years. We usually always have it here at my home with my children and grandchildren coming here. This year we decided that Santa will come to each family’s home in the morning than we will go to my son’s home for dinner in the afternoon and to open gifts from each other.

    This will be the first year I haven’t put up a tree or decorations and I don’t even miss it.

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