Testimonials (sometimes called “blurbs”) are statements by people attesting to the quality of writing and the value of the content in your book. They offer objective support of the prospect’s buying decisions, that his or her money will be well spent. If you can get celebrities to endorse your book, the positive impact on the prospective buyers will be greater, and consumers will be more likely to buy it.
Famous people can be believable endorsers, but not all feelings about celebrities are positive. Some can actually have a negative effect on people who do not like them. And if the celebrity places himself or herself in a negative situation during your promotional campaign, the fallout may impact your sales.
How to Get Endorsements from Celebrities
Obtaining endorsements from celebrities is not a difficult task. The key is to make it as easy as possible for them to reply. Your request should include a cover letter, a copy of your book and a self-addressed-stamped envelope (SASE).
In your email or letter to them, include your table of contents and chapter titles and a galley copy or sample chapters. Let them know you are aware of how busy they are, and send a list of words and phrases from which they can choose. You might say something such as, “Other readers said something like this … .” Ask if they would like to have you write the testimonial for them.
Shoot high. Before you ask for a blurb, ask the VIP to write the introduction or foreword to your book. Most people will be flattered to have you ask them to write it, but will probably turn you down. Acknowledge that you recognize the time pressures on the person, then offer to write the section for him or her. If they still decline, then ask for a blurb or offer to write it for them.
Getting a good endorsement or testimonial can take time, but if you do not hear back from them in two or three weeks send a follow-up letter or email. Celebrities are busy people, and often their mail is screened by an assistant, delaying your request from getting to them. Where do you find the names and contact information for these VIPs? Here are some general sites on which you can begin your search.
1) The Screen Actor’s Guild (www.sagaftra.org). SAG represents nearly 120,000 actors in film, television, industrials, commercials and music videos. Contact SAG at 5757 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036-3600; (323) 954-1600. You can ask for a list of agents at (323) 549-6733. If you are on the East Coasts contact SAG at 360 Madison Avenue, 12th Floor, New York, New York 10017, (212) 944-1030.
2) Another free list of addresses, contact information and important tips on how to reach celebrities may be found at http://www.reelclassics.com/Address/address-list.htm
3) A free site with addresses for movie and television stars, and music groups is at http://www.fanzine.co.uk
4) A site with free background information about celebrities is http://www.who2.com/
How to use your blurbs
Place blurbs on the rear cover of your book. Also use them in your sales literature, in your press releases and press kits, on your website, on book marks, in your advertising and on sales-promotional items. If you have a powerful endorsement from a top celebrity or a recognized industry expert, place it on the front cover of your book.
Resist any temptation to rephrase you customers’ words. That will generally lower the believability factor. But if a testimonial goes over two or three short sentences, it may be too long for people to read and grasp its meaning quickly. In this case, extract a short phrase that characterizes the essence of the blurb and use only that. Never try to misrepresent the intention of the endorser. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “The endorsement message need not be phrased in the exact words of the endorser, unless the advertisement affirmatively so represents. However, the endorsement may neither be presented out of context nor reworded so as to distort in any way the endorser’s opinion or experience with the product. Endorsements must always reflect the honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experience of the endorser.”
Always seek and record positive comments about your book. Get permission from the providers and use their blurbs generously in your marketing material. You will gain credibility through your association with these people, and your sales should improve as a result.
Brian Jud now offers commission-only sales to buyers in special markets. For more information contact Brian at P. O. Box 715, Avon, CT 06001; (860) 675-1344; Fax (860) 270-0343; firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.premiumbookcompany.com