Hi. I was checking out another author's page at crimespace, was interested in reading first chapters of her novels online, and asked if she had them up. She said she didn't, and also didn't know whether it was a good thing or a bad thing to do so. What do you think? My idea is that sharing your first chapters is a good way to show other crimespace members your writing style (and a little about your personal style). Also, I think it gives readers a chance to approach your work in a more leisurely manner than scanning first pages in the book store. Any thoughts?

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When I'm offered a review book, if I don't already know the author's style, I decide whether to review based on an excerpt.

I.J. Parker's "Akitada's First Case" was listed on the Reviewers' Choice website as my favorite short story of 2005, because it was posted on her website. It also resulted in me buying the entire series. Yes, good publicity.

Calderwood Books is planning to post excerpts on our site, and we will encourage our authors to do the same. (Thank goodness for vacation from the day job -- I got 3 books edited this week. *gasp, pant*)
I'm very fond of Joy. :)
Lol. To think I almost missed this little insert. (To understand it, please go to the bottom of the previous page.) ;-) Thank you, ma'am.
I've been tempted to do this, in an effort to breathe some life into a comatose novel I've been working on. But I'm afraid that any adverse criticism at this point would be tantamount to taking it off life support. So I fiddle around in solitude. Which may be just as fatal to the projected novel. Not, I guess, a definitive answer. Sorry.
I second the "definite it depends." One author I know used her first chapter as a prepublication handout as well as on her website, and it worked because it was a perfect first chapter: beautifully written, it brought the protagonist and her world to life, identified the victim, established suspense, and put the protagonist in jeopardy. In contrast, I've seen an unpublished writer post a chapter that I thought needed a lot more work before being displayed publicly. In my own case, I've decided against using my opening pages for promotional purposes for a very specific reason. My protagonist changes significantly in the course of the book, so the beginning is gritty, but the end is not. Metaphorically speaking, he goes from the Inferno to the Paradiso. I don't want to turn off potential readers who might like seeing him get to heaven because Page One makes them think the whole book is set in hell.
First chapters for the next novel are becoming more commonplace than ever before. I would be surprised if my publisher is against it. But, make it the best it can be...
I have first chapter excerpts for almost all of my books up at my website. I have never heard anyone complain about that, but plenty of folks have said that the excerpt made them want to buy the book. That being said, I don't think it's an issue to lose sleep over. Do what you feel comfortable with and don't second guess yourself.
Good point, William. When we ask for chapters, we include a request for the last chapter. One of our authors makes a habit of putting his most difficult writing on the first page. Needless to say, that isn't where we will take our excerpt from.

When I'm sampling a book in the store, I open it in the middle to see if the style grabs me. In more than one place, but always in the middle.

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