One of the things I get asked as an editor is how do I effectively market and sell my book? In other words, what’s the best use of my time as an author? Unfortunately, this isn’t a short answer but it is an easy one. From an editor’s perspective, we acquire books based on how good a story can be told, how well the writer’s skills are and lastly, how the story can make us (the publisher and author) money.
The easiest tool any author has in their arsenal is the excerpt. Yup, you saw it. It’s really that easy. Once a story is polished and the author has seen their corrected galleys, they should feel free to chose an excerpt that meets the needs of their audience. This being WriteSEX, and an erotica based audience, we want to see SEX! Yes, adult content, sex, two (or more) bodies building up the anticipation of a climax we believe is going to happen.
In erotica – sex IS the plot.
In other erotic genres -sex FORWARDS the plot
That being said, we want to pull out a selection of text from our stories that sets the scene. If the story is erotica, we want to see as much of the buildup to the sex scene as possible without giving away the climax. Why? Because looking at one handed readers and getting them off doesn’t equal a sale if you do it in the excerpt. It’s like clip sites in pornography, you show me the money shot, why do I need to bother with the back story? Or anything else for that matter?
Take fore example an upcoming release “Treasure’s Gift.” It’s a FFM menage story for Decadent Publishing coming out soon. The blurb:
Treasure has always had a thing for Mark, her best friend. When he drops in unannounced, she’s glad until she realizes his workload is keeping him occupied when the only thing on her mind is jumping him. With the help of a very sexy friend, she uses the one thing designed to make Mark slow down and take notice. What will he do at the temptation of two beautiful women?
Sounds pretty simple, right?
Well here’s the excerpt I used originally:
Mark looked at Treasure, wishing he could just fall asleep in beautiful pools of her eyes. Or swim naked with her.
His cock hardened uncomfortably in his trousers. Could Treasure feel his arousal?
Did she know the depths of wickedness he’d love to explore with her?
He fought a yawn from the overbearing heat and length of his flight. Closing his eyes, he leaned back in the chair and let out a breath. The hectic schedule his travel required of him would exhaust anyone.
The fact that his property was in Kingwood, he had to fly into Houston Intercontinental and then drive all the way back to Sugarland where Treasure lived added to his building fatigue, but hell, he’d do anything to see her standing before him, looking at him with a hidden mischievous grin and her hands on her hips. Nipples would ache for him and jut out proudly while her oh so kissable lips moved.
“I’ve got all sorts of ideas, babe.”
“I’m sure you do,” she nodded. “Just come to bed when you’re done.”
She walked away, ass swaying from side to side with each step she took. Hands reached for the hem of her shirt and pulled it over her head before she disappeared, leaving him with a view of tanned skin, no bra and the need to slake his own primal needs tonight.
“Damnit!” Mark knocked back the drink and slammed the glass on the table. He certainly didn’t look forward to the next few weeks of very long Saturdays despite being so close to achieving his financial goals. Not if Treasure intended to taunt him with hints at her naked flesh.
He had to do something about his raging erection. Maybe a cold shower. Or maybe a long, hot shower featuring Treasure stepping into the large tub with him, setting her delectably round ass against his cock and coating his dick in her juices would…
Sadly, Mark showered quickly, ignoring his hard on. He dressed in pajama bottoms, a tank top that showed off his muscular arms and pale skin. Bedtime included a nightcap, a large one designed to knock him out so he’d sleep without dreaming of Treasure’s body blanketing his while her pussy milked the life out of him.
Mark slumped back in his chair, head hanging forward. He took a sip of bourbon, let the liquid burn his throat before he took another longer swig. Sitting up, he looked over the now neatly organized stack of papers
His lips curled upward.
The bedroom door opened. “Mark,” The soft lilting of her voice reignited the spark of arousal.
Mark set his glass on the desk and waited. “Yes dear?”
“It’s bedtime. Come to bed.”
She sounded needy. Another man would have missed the subtlety of want in her voice. “I have things to do before bed first.”
“Then I’ll come to you.” Her voice dripped with unmistakable husky lust.
Mark arched a brow.
A moment later, Treasure appeared before Mark wearing a black see through teddy that flowed out at the bottom with lace trimming and barely reached the top of her thighs. A scrap of lace hid both nipples and obscured his view of her sex. Dirty blonde hair fell around her shoulders in loose curls, bouncing with each step she took towards him. Hands started at her shoulders, smoothed down her arms, over full breasts and down her round stomach until stopping at her hips. Treasure stuck one leg forward, took a tentative step closer to Mark and stopped mere inches from him. “Well?”
His jaw dropped. He blinked several times to make sure he was seeing right before focusing on her expression.
She frowned. “You think I’m fat. I knew it.”
“No!” He stood and took her hands in his. His stomach tightened from the contact while his cock stirred against his pajamas. Blood pumped faster down south and his mouth went bone dry. “No, that’s not it. It’s just…just…wow Treasure. I’ve dreamed of this for years.”
“What do you intend to do now?” She tilted her head and her mouth curled into a wicked grin.
We’re left wondering if he’s really going to go forward with it like a man should, or if he’ll play an idiot and turn down his best friend. I could have used a longer excerpt to show you but again, that’s not creating demand for the reader to want to know more. Hopefully in the excerpt above I’ve convinced the reader to buy the story.
The excerpt should not only match the desired audience but should be LENGTHY depending on story size. Treasure’s Gift is only 5k in length, whereas my previous 1NS release from Decadent was 11k, and my excerpt was almost 2k. The rule of thumb is simple. You want to create as much want in the audience for your story as possible by keeping them ENGROSSED in your world for as long as possible, then pull the plug, leaving them with only the desire to buy your book.
I’ll cover more next time on Excerpts.