Endorsements are recommendations from authors, experts or celebrities—people whose opinion can influence sales of your book. These are the quotes (or “blurbs”) you typically see printed on the covers and inside of books.
Having a well-known person endorse your book lends credibility and can really impact sales, so it's worth the time and effort required to land important endorsements.
But why would a high-profile individual do you the favor of giving you an endorsement? In a word: publicity. The person giving the endorsement gains exposure from endorsing quality products. And, of course, many people (especially other authors) are happy to help out an author who has written a good book.
Here are some steps for landing powerful endorsements:
1. Schedule well in advance.
If you want to print your most important endorsements on your book cover or inside the book, you'll need to build time into your production schedule. It can be time-consuming to track down well-known people and get their endorsement, so start at least 60 to 90 days before you need the text.
2. Go for the gold!
The next step is to make a list of potential endorsers who are a good fit for the topic or genre of your book. Do not be afraid to aim high! You have nothing to lose but a little time and perhaps the cost of mailing a book. And the rewards of scoring an endorsement from a highly influential person can be great.
3. Locate prospects.
It can be a challenge to track down an email or mailing address for top experts and celebrities. The first place to look is on the person's website. You might also try searching for their profile on Facebook or LinkedIn. For authors, check their personal or author profile on Amazon.com and the publisher's website. You might also find contact information printed in the front or back of their books. Also considering using your personal connections, if you know someone who knows someone.
4. Prepare your materials.
If your book is not yet finished, prepare a synopsis, outline and a couple of sample chapters, along with a killer cover letter. If the manuscript is complete, you may still want to send a specific chapter that's relevant to the person you're asking for an endorsement, and offer to send the entire manuscript upon request.
It's a good idea to include some sample endorsements in the material you send. This is not as presumptuous as it might sound. Keep in mind that the people you are contacting are very busy and you are asking them for a favor. It takes some thought to write a good quotable endorsement and you can save the endorser's time by making a few suggestions. Spend time drafting two or three endorsements that fit each individual, and of course make it clear that these are only suggestions and they are welcome to modify or write something original.
5. Consider Peer Reviews.
Peer reviews can be useful for getting feedback on your book and also generating endorsements. Nonfiction authors can send portions of their book to other experts in their field asking for professional feedback, and then send the completed manuscript later requesting an endorsement. Novelists can request peer reviews from authors in their genre.
6. Make contact.
The next step is to prioritize your list of potential endorsers and start making contact. You may have to go through assistants or agents, so be prepared to explain what you need. It is easiest to email a PDF document containing your manuscript or sample materials, but it’s a good idea to include a note offering to send hard copies if they prefer.
7. Follow up and confirm.
If someone has not responded to your query or has promised an endorsement but hasn't delivered, you may need to follow up with a gentle reminder. If the prospect asks for a full manuscript or more information, send it immediately. Once someone has given you an endorsement, be sure to get their written permission to use it.
8. Show your appreciation.
Follow up promptly with a handwritten thank you note, and be sure to send the endorser an autographed copy of the book upon publication.
Excerpted from Chapter 5 of How to Get Your Book Reviewed.
Dana Lynn Smith, the Savvy Book Marketer, teaches authors how to sell more books through her blog, newsletters, guidebooks, and author training programs. Get book marketing tips at www.TheSavvyBookMarketer.com and download her free report, Create a Book Marketing Plan That Sells Books, at www.CreateYourBookMarketingPlan.com.