I have finally updated the excerpt on my website. Once upon a time, that excerpt was part of chapter one. Not the actual beginning of the book – that was a prologue. Not the beginning of chapter one – that was two pages of infodump. No, the excerpt began a solid two pages into chapter one.
This should have been a warning sign. Now GOTH has no prologue and a much better chapter one, and I think the excerpt is much stronger for it. (The book is stronger for it, too.)
But this has been an important lesson. I think all writers should ask themselves, when selecting excerpts – which scene in my book is the most intriguing? Which scene does the best job of introducing the characters, foreshadowing the coming conflict, and raising questions that will compel people to read on?
And if the answer to that question isn’t “the first scene of the book” – you should rethink the first scene of your book.