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I noticed going through some printed books that almost all of them have an excerpt of the book or book reviews (or both) on the very first page as soon as you open it up. I understand the reason for doing this (a means of marketing so people can conveniently get a quick peek at the book's contents as soon as they open it up instead of thumbing through the thing), but I'm wondering if there's any sort of rule for doing this? Is there a word limit for putting excerpts on the first page? What's the ideal word limit if there is one? Are there any other things to consider?
 

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It's usually not more than a couple hundred words, and never more than a page. And it should be from some exciting, suspenseful or otherwise riveting section of the book--something that can grab the attention of a casual browser and make him or her have to read the rest of it.
 

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What Jeff said. I wouldn't make the excerpt any longer than one page and would also keep the review quotes down to about a page. That's as far as I'd want to push the readers' patience, since most people just skip past front matter anyway.
 

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I know my excerpt on the opening page of my book is a whopping 50 words long (if that). It's totally there as a means to entice.

My guess is you can make it as LONG as you want, but keep in mind the rule of the first page ... gotta grab the reader in 1 page ... so if you make your excerpt longer, then you take way from the reading pleasure later and it might be too much info too soon.
 
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