The trick, of course, as with any excerpt you post anywhere, is to choose carefully. You need to find six sentences that hang together without needing a lengthy explanation of the context. If the sentences also provide a teaser to make people want to read more, so much the better.
To save her twin sister's career, Jess is pretending to be Lora who's gone missing. She's just been out for the evening with Kyle Drummond, the director of Lora's new show in London’s West End.
And this was the six:
Kyle tightened his arm around her and Jess closed her eyes, not to relax but to try to think straight and to work out just how she was going to extricate herself from what seemed to be the inevitable sequel to all this.
She couldn’t say she was tired, not when she’d made such a fuss about wanting to stay at the club, but there were limits to what she was prepared to do ‘for Lora’s sake’ and going to bed with Kyle Drummond was definitely way beyond the limits. If that was what he expected, then she would have to admit to the whole pretence, even if it ruined everything for tomorrow's TV interview and Lora’s contract.
When the cab came to a standstill outside Lora’s apartment, she eased herself away from him but couldn’t stop herself from looking round at him. “God, I want you,” he breathed, his voice husky.
She stared at him, sure he must be able to hear the sudden frantic pounding of her heart.
That first time, I had 18 comments, most saying similar things e.g. “What a sticky situation. Can't wait to find out how she handles it.”
I’ll admit that, at times, I have ‘edited’ my six slightly, either by missing out a sentence or two from the original, or by combining two sentences into one, in order to provide a meaningful six. Most of my ‘sixes’ are usually much shorter, too, than this first excerpt.
You’re not expected to visit all the other contributors (there are now 200 or more each Sunday), but of course you can’t expect other people to visit your blog if you don’t make an effort to visit theirs. It’s time-consuming, of course, visiting many different blogs each Sunday and leaving comments. Of course, I always try to make positive comments even if excerpts about vampires, shape-shifters etc do not appeal to me personally! I also make every effort to respond to the comments on my blog, although i do wonder if anyone actually has the time to return to read them! The net result is that, over the last year, I have built up a ‘network’ of contacts and, in some cases, new friends.
So how does all this affect promotion and marketing? To begin with, I looked on it simply as a case of getting my name known and making more contacts. I had absolutely no idea whether it led to any sales – until a couple of weeks ago.
On July 8, one commenter said she had just bought my latest book ‘Changing the Future’ from Amazon. A week later, she posted a 5* review – which began: “I loved this book. I rarely read straight up romance, but after reading snippets of this book on the author's blog, I thought it really sounded good.”
Last Sunday, four other commenters said they had my book in their TBR pile. Okay, it’s not thousands(!), and it’s taken about 40-50 Sundays (I did miss some!) to reach this point. I leave it to you to decide whether or not this kind of promotion is worth the effort one puts into it week by week but, of course, even one sale is better than none!