November 14, 2022
We’ve all seen endorsements splashed across the cover of a book. Whether the book is fiction or nonfiction, book endorsements or “blurb” from well-known authors, experts, or celebrities can carry a lot of weight. Readers who recognize the blurber’s name are more likely to buy a book that comes with the expert’s blessing. For a first-time author, book endorsements are especially useful. The right one can encourage readers to take a chance on a new, unknown writer.
What can a good blurb do for you?
For these reasons, a book endorsement is worth pursuing when you publish your book. Unfortunately, great blurbs don’t just fall into your lap, especially if you’re a first-time writer. Getting the right one requires some planning, patience, and time.
Don’t confuse book endorsements with reviews. In many cases, people write blurbs for books they haven’t read. They offer their endorsement without even reading the book, because they know you’re someone who can be trusted on the subject.
For instance, let’s say you’ve written a book on mountain climbing. If you’re lucky, your book will get a blurb from a well-known mountain climber like Denis Urubko or Colin Haley.
The average reader may not recognize those names, but someone interested in mountain climbing would recognize and respect them. If one of them writes a blurb that says, “This writer knows mountains and is a voice worth listening to,” readers who see that will pick your book over the other books on mountaineering that they’re considering.
What if your book is fiction? A well-known fiction writer can give your book that same seal of approval. It doesn’t have to be a writer who’s known to the whole world, but it should be someone who writes in the same genre you do. If you write a paranormal romance, your best blurber would be someone who gets great sales and reviews for their paranormal romances, even if they’re not a household name.
It can be confusing to tell the difference between reviews and endorsements, because many authors use a line from a great review as a blurb. If you get a great review from a trusted source, you can do that. If you don’t, you should try to get a blurb or endorsement.
To see the difference, go to any book listing on Amazon. Under the book’s description, you’ll see one section called Editorial Reviews. These are reviews that appear in traditional review sites like The New York Times Book Review or Publishers Weekly. You will also see book endorsements here. Endorsements are considered as important as editorial reviews for Amazon’s purposes.
The second section is Reader Reviews. These do not include press reviews or endorsements. They are strictly reviews by people who have bought and read your book.
Which type of review is most important? In general, editorial reviews have the strongest effect on book sales. A review in a mainstream newspaper or magazine is prestigious and likely to move many readers to try a new author. If you don’t get those reviews—and only a few authors do—reader reviews are the second most important factor in book sales.
Where do blurbs fit in the mix? They don’t have an immediate impact on sales. Editorial and reader reviews have the most impact. However, a good blurb from a respected source will help readers decide to buy your book. Your book won’t get reader reviews until readers buy it, and blurbs can help them decide to do that.
Now that you know how important they are, it’s time to go after those book endorsements. Here are some tips.
Start your prospect list early. Ideally, you should start when you’re still drafting the book.
You should have a list of potential names by the time you finish writing your book. Think about experts in the topic you’re writing about. Your list could even include the names of people you interviewed for your book. If your book is fiction or a children’s book, think about authors who are likely to be read by the same audience you want to reach.
How many names should you have? Some marketing professionals suggest you should have 40 to 50 names, while others suggest as many as 200 if you’re an unknown writer. Since you’ll be doing much of your contact work through email, it all depends on how much time you have to dedicate to this project.
If you’re not sure where to start, research your target audience. What authors do they read and rate highly? What organizations or nonprofit groups might they belong to? What are their political views? Who are the leaders and recognized experts in their field?
You might also start with your own network. Who are your social media followers? Who do you follow and consider an authoritative voice on a subject? Start there.
If your potential endorser is a social media influencer, it’s easy to find them. They probably have active Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or Snap Chat channels.
What if the person you’re approaching is a celebrity or someone who’s not active on social media? Find out if they have a press person, management company, or public relations agency. Most celebrity management companies are flooded with requests every day, so temper your expectations if you’re going after somebody famous.
Unless you’re also represented by a public relations company, or incredibly lucky, you are unlikely to get a book endorsement from an A-list celebrity. You might, however, get an endorsement from a minor celebrity or someone who’s a celebrity to your readers.
Most of the people you’re contacting are busy people who get called or emailed by others many times a day. When you ask, be upfront and ask outright for their endorsement. Offer them a reason to endorse you.
Make it even easier by writing the endorsement yourself and asking them to approve it. Let’s say you’ve written a Southern foods cookbook, and you’d like an endorsement from a well-known food blogger. You could write the blurb, “This cookbook makes Southern cooking fun and accessible for everyone,” and ask the blogger to endorse it. They don’t have to write the endorsement or even read the book. It’s a good idea to include a sample chapter so they have an idea of what it’s about.
Never forget that asking for an endorsement is a huge favor. You’re asking someone to put their credibility with readers on the line to promote your book. Why would someone do this?
The bottom line is that they won’t unless they know you, trust you, and think your book is worthwhile. Many influencers and book reviewers receive hundreds of free, unsolicited books every week from people asking for their endorsement. Try to find a reason they should pick yours out of that pile.
Here are some ideas:
It can be difficult to get a good endorsement as a first-time writer, but the time and effort will pay off when you get that coveted blurb. When you’re ready to publish your book with that blurb on the cover, Publishing Xpress can help. Contact us to learn more about our affordable printing rates and low minimum orders.
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