Excerpts are sort of a Thing now, huh? Maybe they’ve been a Thing for longer than I’ve really been paying attention to them as a Thing (does that even make sense?), but it seems like, more and more often, I’m seeing more and more excerpts used as The Next Exciting Marketing Promotion For This Awesome Upcoming Book. Case in point:
— Epic Reads (@EpicReads) August 27, 2015
— HarperCollins (@HarperCollins) August 27, 2015
— Random House Kids (@randomhousekids) August 27, 2015
Excerpts, excerpts, everywhere!
A lot of people are fond of excerpts — obviously, they’re a pretty popular marketing tool — which I totally understand. They’re a sneak peek at a book you’re looking forward to! Or they give you a good idea whether you’d want to pick up the book — you get an early look at the writing style, characters, etc. But, well…
I can’t read excerpts.
I just can’t do it! I can’t deal with them! Why? A few reasons.
1) If I’m excited for a book, I don’t want to read PART of it! I want the whole dang thing! It’s excruciating to read part of a book and not be able to continue.
2) I have no idea how to “count” an excerpt when I read it. What I mean is: Say I were to read an excerpt of the first hundred pages, or the first five chapters (or whatever) of a book. Well, the book doesn’t come out until one or two or four months later, so there’s no way I can just pick up where I left off. Too much time would have passed between when I finished the excerpt and when I’d be continuing the story. So, I’d have to read that first hundred pages or five chapters (or whatever) again! But the question at that point is, how many times have I read the book? Fully, once — but really, 1.xxx times. That bothers me. (shut up)
3) My final point relates back to point #2 — déjà vu. If I read a significant excerpt, forget most of it, and then re-read it when I can read the complete book, it gives me this weird feeling of déjà vu that is not enjoyable for me. I feel like I should remember more, because I’ve read it before, and I do recognize bits and pieces — but I don’t remember enough to skip re-reading the excerpt altogether. It’s WEIRD when you’re forced to re-read when you’re not actually purposefully re-reading an entire book.
Ultimately, my reasoning boils down to this:
Why waste time reading the first chunk of a book that you can’t even finish until X months from now, when you could be reading the first chunk of a book that you are able to finish?
I have one teeny tiny exception to this excerpt rule, which is: very short teaser excerpts. A quote here and there? Awesome! A short scene (from the very beginning of the book — we don’t want spoilers!) that whets my appetite for the full book? Sure, I’m down for that. …An entire chapter? Ehhh, you’re sort of pushing it with that. The first hundred pages? NOOOPE CAN’T DO IT, I won’t put myself through that!
What’s your stance on excerpts?
Do you read them? Do they help you in any way?
Or are you like me? Do you avoid them?
Let me know in the comments! I know a few people who fall on either side of the spectrum, but I’m really curious to hear everyone’s reasoning and preferences!
I would also like to know whether anyone else, like me, is now utterly convinced that excerpt is not a real word. Excerpt. Excerpt. Exxcccerpt. Excerpt, excerpt, excerpt. Nope. Not real.