The Power of the Preview: Why It’s Important to Activate Book Previews

The landscape of book buying has changed dramatically over the years and trends heavily towards online book sales as opposed to brick and mortar bookstores. Based on this trend, it’s important for authors to create a digital marketing strategy to ensure that their book is discoverable online and to encourage consumers to become readers. 

Improve Discoverability 

Sharing an excerpt of your book on retailer sites is the best way to emulate the bookstore buying experience for readers. Retailers will select the excerpt, which will typically include the front matter of the book and the first couple of chapters, which aligns with what a reader would be looking at when perusing your book in a bookstore. Excerpts give readers the opportunity to sample your content and ensure that it aligns with what they are looking for and can encourage them to press the “buy” button. 

Don’t be scared of displaying too much of your book to consumers! Excerpts typically do not exceed 20% of the book, relying heavily on the front matter. Retailers aren’t going to make anything available that would jeopardize a sale and consumers aren’t hopping from retailer to retailer piecing together book content through excerpts. 

In addition to serving a customer experience purpose for the consumer, excerpts also serve a search engine optimization purpose for authors and publishers. Enabling online excerpts is beneficial for authors because while a consumer is only shown a 20% excerpt of the book, the retailers will index the entire contents of the book. This helps your book be discovered in search results when consumers search for a keyword that is included within the content of your book. The more relevant your content is to the keyword, the higher your book will rank in the search results. 

Build Your Newsletter 

Excerpts of your book can also be utilized to build your newsletter list. Offering the first chapter or two as incentive content to encourage newsletter sign-ups is a great way to convert website visitors into subscribers. As a new author or an author with a new book, it’s important to engage readers across a variety of platforms and through a variety of formats. The more ways that you can get readers consuming your content the better. Incentivizing website visitors with an excerpt of your book encourages engagement with your author brand through both your main content offering—your book and with your supplemental content—your newsletter. By sharing engaging and useful content through your website, newsletter, and social media to complement your book, you will set 
yourself up to build a followership of loyal readers. And, offering an excerpt can act as driver to encourage readers to have a deeper interest in and engagement with your brand. 

Use Excerpts to Your Advantage 

Oftentimes, authors can be hesitant to share excerpts of their content. However, sharing an excerpt of your book can be a powerful tool to both improve discoverability for your book in the crowded online marketplace and to encourage readers to become more engaged with you and your content. Consider your excerpt your authorial business card—your proof to readers that you have compelling content to share. Use excerpts to your advantage to pique consumers’ interest and convert them into readers and then to 
loyal followers. 

Questions about how to share previews with consumers? Get in touch with us at