Endorsements, also known as blurbs, are the 1–3 sentence quotes you see on the book cover. For an unknown author, such endorsements are essential for compelling readers to take a chance on someone they’ve never read before. Just like many other elements of book publishing and promotion, the task of securing endorsements is falling to the author more and more, but unlike most publishing tasks, getting endorsements is rather easy.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Don’t be afraid to go for the golden egg. Ask a variety of people who are well regarded in your genre—not just authors, but also entrepreneurs, speakers, personalities, and other big names. You’ll be surprised at how many will say yes.
- Leverage your existing network. There aren’t that many degrees of separation between you and the golden-egg contacts. Speak to people already in your network. Ask whom they know and get recommendations for others you might not have considered.
- Make it easy for them to say yes. When you send your endorsement letter (sample below), go ahead and include a few sample endorsements that they can choose from should they want to. You can ask your editor or publicist to help you draft a few.
- Keep them short. Endorsements are generally 1–3 sentences long. To be effective, they must be specific. They can’t simply say, “It’s a great book.”
- Be professional. If you are requesting an endorsement from someone in your existing network, then an e-mail request is fine. For those whom you’ve never met, a formal letter sent via snail mail is a more professional way to go. Send an Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) with any mailed requests, but for an e-mail solicitation, it is enough to offer an ARC and then follow up.
In addition to blurbs, you can also solicit someone to write a Foreword for your book. The process for securing these is the same as with endorsements, but instead of 1–3 sentences, the endorser writes a recommendation letter to the reader. It can be as short as a paragraph or as long as a few pages and gives, in greater detail, the reasons why the industry guru recommends your book. Forewords give the endorser more white space to demonstrate their skills and knowledge and an opportunity to connect with your platform in a deeper way—a great selling point to consider when requesting this service.
Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of the actual endorsement letter. One thing to remember here is that you are not selling your prospect on your book—you need to sell them on their own value as a potential endorser. In other words, don’t start off by saying how great your book is, start by saying why you admire their opinion and why it’s important to you to have it. Also share your reasons for writing the book, the topic, and who the market is so they can readily see that you are marketing to the same audience they serve (this way they can see the advantage in having their name visible to your network).
Here is an example:
Dear Sir or Madam (Use your prospect’s real name—no mass letters here):
I attended your lecture last year and was inspired by your point of view on leadership. Reading your work, it became evident that we are offering new ideas and advice to a similar segment of the business audience. I admire your ideas, so when I knew it was time to start requesting endorsements for my forthcoming book [Title], you were at the top of my list.
Like yours, my book is geared toward upper-level management, but instead of leadership I discuss ways for managers to find a balance between work and life. After spending many years in upper-level management doing things the wrong way, I learned how to find success in my career while still having time for family, friends, and fun. With a weak economy adding more stress to corporate life, it is becoming increasingly important for managers to find that balance. My book includes proven tips and strategies as well as real-life anecdotes to help other managers find that happy balance.
To help with your decision, I have enclosed an Advance Reader’s Copy and sample endorsements for you to review. I thank you very much for your time and look forward to your response.
Shennandoah Diaz is a freelance writer, editor, and consultant specializing in strategic communications and publishing. She currently serves as the Business Development Assistant for Greenleaf Book Group, a publisher and distributor supporting independent authors and small presses, and as the Nonfiction Editor for Reflection’s Edge Magazine.