Tuesday, November 15, 2016

T Is For Teasers

Jennifer talks about excerpts...

Teasers are paragraphs or quotes or even a single line that teases the reader about your book and makes her want to read it.

On my Facebook news feed, I see lots of them, by both famous and less-known authors and the majority make me interested in the book. They seem to have just the right hook, just the right combination of words to fascinate me.

When it comes to my own teasers, however, it’s a struggle, and I often settle for something that I’m not happy with. Sometimes it’s because I’m limited by either space (like on a graphic) or by line/word count. Other times I just can’t narrow my choices down to pick one thing that I like better than others. And additionally, I don’t want to use the exact same excerpt or teaser all the time. I’d prefer variety.

But I keep trying and playing and hoping I’ll find something I like. Here’s one for Skin Deep—I shortened it from the original one, which was a page and a half long. It’s better, but I’m still doubtful that it “pops”:

“Michelle told me you were not joining us tonight. I thought I would see if I could change your mind.”
Valerie rolled her eyes. “She is persistent.”
“You noticed.” John’s dark eyes twinkled. His mouth widened with a ghost of a smile. Valerie tried not to gasp.
He reminded her of a rugged cowboy—broad shouldered, with a prominent brow, dark piercing eyes, high cheekbones, and a cleft chin. When he smiled, even a slight trace of one, his eyes looked like liquid velvet and his dimples twinkled like stars in the night sky. A five-o’clock shadow covered his cheeks. Her fingers itched to brush against their rough texture, to tease his mouth into a full-blown grin.
“So, what can I say to make you join us?”
As he leaned against the wall in well-fitting jeans and a T-shirt that left nothing to the imagination, Valerie’s mind said, “Sleep with me.” Heat crept up her neck, over her cheeks, and continued to the roots of her hair. A thin sheen of sweat dampened the space between her breasts. She felt the sudden urge to fan herself, like a damsel in distress in an old B-movie. Instead, she ignored her traitorous thoughts. Her balled fist pressed into her tight stomach.
“Tonight, not even chocolate will change my mind.”
She didn’t exactly lie. She had no intention of going to the bar, or of sleeping with him, no matter how her thoughts might try to sabotage her good intentions. She’d been fooled by surface finery before, and it had almost killed her. She wouldn’t let it happen again.
“I will remember that,” he promised. “But next time you will not get off so easy.” His eyes bored into hers for a moment, and then he turned on his heel and left.
True to his word, John arrived the following day prepared for battle. With a cursory knock on the door, he dangled a bag of M&Ms inside the trailer, but snatched it back before she could grab them. “We are going out for pizza. I will pick you up in ten minutes.” Before she could answer, he walked out.
Valerie shrugged as she finished her work. The new Valerie never allowed other people to make decisions for her, but she’d practically handed John a permission slip. And, he had M&M’s. How could she refuse?


  1. Maybe stop when he turns on his heel and says, "Next time, you will not get off so easy."
    That's a turn-on teaser for me!

  2. I'd start it at "What can I say to make you join us?” I felt the dialogue and description before that weren't strong enough (in a teaser) to grab the reader.

  3. I have the same issue of not wanting to always use the same excerpt and teaser. Although I'm torn between using a variety and not giving too many parts of the story away...especially with my shorter novellas.

    I agree with Ana about stopping after "Next time, you won't get off so easy." It really leaves an air of expectation hanging out there.

    1. Well, who am I to argue with ALL of you! :) Thanks for the help, ladies.