When I work with my author website design clients I often suggest that they provide an excerpt of their book(s) for download.  Not only does this give a potential fan and/or media outlets an idea of the kind of writing they do, but it can also serve to get someone hooked so they simply must buy the book to find out what happens next.

Book Excerpts on Author WebsitesIf an author is working with a publisher, the publisher or publicist will often have input into what excerpt is best to use (or a requirement about it) but usually the introduction or first chapter is used.

The excerpt should be in PDF format so that it can be easily shared and printed with formatting intact, and should include the author name, domain name, book title, excerpt title, and page numbering (if over one page). And, ideally, it’s formatted in a way that’s consistent with the author brand and easy to use. You might even include an image of the book cover too.

It’s common that I’ll receive a Word document from an author with inconsistent formatting and sometimes even editorial changes as markup still in place, so we work together to tighten things up and make sure their excerpt reflects really well on their author brand before it’s made public.

You can also use an excerpt as an author mailing list signup incentive, automatically providing it after a successful signup.  The only disadvantage of doing that is that it’s less likely to be shared freely by those who might otherwise be inclined to pass it along to someone else who might enjoy it.

Just like the “see inside” feature of buying books on Amazon is helpful to the consumer, an excerpt of your book on your author website is helpful too. It’s an easy addition that adds lots of value with little effort.