Book Endorsements: How to Leverage Expert Praise for Your Book

Obtain a book endorsement if you want to give your next self-published book professional treatment.

A book endorsement (also called a blurb, testimonial, or advance praise) is a brief quote from a fellow author or notable figure that goes on a book’s cover. Secured before publication, an endorsement includes a positive quote from the endorsee and the endorsee’s name and title.

While you can publish and sell a book without a book endorsement, I recommend against skipping this step. Almost every professionally published book includes at least one endorsement. Including one can become one of your title’s strongest assets.

Why book endorsements are important

First off, a book endorsement is a prime example of social proof. Social proof is a marketing psychology concept for social indicators that influence buyers.

Specifically to this topic, a book endorsement proves that not only a notable person liked your book, but that person liked it enough to send you a statement to publish on the cover.

(If you can’t find anyone notable, a glowing review from a reader could serve a similar purpose. But this falls under reader praise and is usually unsuitable for the cover treatment.)

Second, who you request an endorsement from matters. For instance, if you’re writing a nonfiction book, a blurb from an expert in the book’s subject demonstrates to the reader that an authority figure finds your writing legitimate.

Even if you’re writing fiction, an expert endorsement may be beneficial if your book centers around a milieu. For instance, if you’re writing a restaurant-based mystery, praise from a famous critic may attract prospective buyers.

Another strong type of endorsee is another author, preferably one that has written one of your book’s comp titles.

When an author in your niche praises your book, that signals to that author’s fans that it’s worth checking out your book. This is one of many reasons why you should view other authors as potential collaborators.

Finally, book endorsements don’t just have to be on your book’s cover. You can repurpose the endorsement for other marketing and promotional materials, such as your product page or social media banners. This makes the book endorsement high-quality material for promoting your book.

Advice on getting book endorsements

If you’re a greenhorn self-publisher, it may feel intimidating to secure a book endorsement. After all, you may know no one in the industry. Plus, you don’t have the resources of a traditionally published author with connections for reaching out to potential endorsees.

However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Here are some tips you can use to search and secure book endorsements:

  • Connect with authors early and often. During the drafting process, join an author group and get to know other writers in your niche, genre, and category. In addition, leverage your social media to interact with other authors. You may find that authors are more accessible than you’d think, and introducing yourself early will increase your pool of endorsees.
  • Prioritize the most relevant endorsees. Top of your list should be the authors of your book’s comp titles. From there, contact authors within your genre and category and figures whose expertise or profession relates to your book’s subject.
  • Draft and tailor your pitch. Create a template for the message you’ll send to your prospects. Summarize your book, explain to your prospects why your book’s relevant, and be respectful. Make sure to personalize your template for each endorsee; each one is special. You want to reflect that uniqueness in your message.
  • Generously give out comp copies of your book. Regarding book endorsements, it’s no time to be stingy. Of course, some endorsees will prefer physical copies, so budget out some comps to send, as the cost of printing will be outweighed by an endorsement. But for other endorsees, an eBook will suffice, which makes the process faster—and free!
  • Give endorsees plenty of time. If you’re looking for an endorsee days before publication, it’s too late. Ideally, give them a few months to read the book, or at least a few weeks.
  • Make the ask, and be prepared to face rejection. The worst thing a prospective endorsee can tell you is “no.” In this light, it’s worth being bold in who you ask. Many an author’s book has been elevated by an unexpected yet famous endorsee giving your book a shot. Give your book that chance to shine.

Book endorsements don’t come easily. So you may receive rejections (or no responses back) before you get a yes. But it’ll be worth the effort to garner the praise your book deserves.

Your turn: How do book endorsements influence your book habits as a reader? What advice do you have on obtaining book endorsements?

Elizabeth Javor Outskirts Press

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Reposting Original Book Review: Rambling with Milton by Richard Siciliano

Rambling with Milton by Richard Siciliano Outskirts Press


After a long, successful career as the author of an esoteric newspaper column, “Rambling with Milton,” Jock Petitte finds himself unfulfilled and at loose ends. However, two failed marriages have not diminished his romantic ideals or his youthful desire to become an actor, so he begins composing one-man plays based on historical events and performing them at senior centers and retirement homes.

Prudence Rogers, beautiful and intelligent, has struggled with clinical depression and chronic anxiety throughout her life. So, when Jock meets her at the rehabilitation facility where she is recovering from an overdose, and he is performing a Christmas play, he is instantly smitten. Rambling with Milton is the deeply touching story of their romance and their attempt to save each other . . . and themselves.


Rambling with Milton opens with a unique dedication, informing readers that the book was inspired by and contained excerpts from Senator Charles Sumner’s “Rape of Kansas” speech on the Senate Floor in 1856. This speech, also known as the “Crime of Kansas” speech, was delivered by Sumner in response to the “Bleeding Kansas” crisis, a series of deadly disputes over Kansas’s boundaries and slavery-related policies. (There’s a lot of history here, and I went waaay down the rabbit hole on Wikipedia reading up on the context.) Sumner, a fiery abolitionist, specifically denounced one particular (and influential) slaveholder who happened to be directly related to another senator, Preston Brooks, who went the extra mile in supporting South Carolina’s official stance on politics––by viciously attacking Sumner on the Senate Floor and stopping barely short of killing him. The incident helped inflame the intense emotions and political divisions of the wider American population in the years leading up to the Civil War. Nevertheless, the event was considered symbolic in 1856, and Richard Siciliano utilized excerpts from Sumner’s speech symbolically in Rambling with Milton in 2020.

With such an opening, you can be confident that I was hooked . . . even before I’d started the first page! If there’s something that I love, it’s a great historic textual reference, and even more specifically, a reference to a historic speech, as well as a reference to abolition, the Founding Fathers, and the hard work of shaping a new way of living. That I happen to be rewatching the drama John Adams on DVD with my father for the third time (a number that does not include my own personal private rewatches) is entirely incidental. (Ha!)

I am happy to report that Rambling with Milton more than lives up to its source material. And for those coming from the same place as me––not quite convinced that there’s a romance book out there for you––I would argue that this book is the perfect introduction. It’s a beautifully written, incredibly detailed, and thoroughly compelling novel about triumphing in the midst of a truly difficult moment of life. It follows many characters but centers on Prudence and Jock. They meet when he is living the life of a starving artist, performing one-man plays at community centers like retirement homes––and rehabilitation facilities. At one of these rehab facilities, he stumbles across Prudence, a patient recovering from an overdose. He, an author whose bestseller days are far behind him, connects with her, a former librarian who remembers having seen his book on one of the library’s displays and read his newspaper column, “Rambling with Milton”––way back in the days before they became who they are at the book’s start: two people very far from the golden days of youth.

But having found each other, they also find that their lives are filled with opportunities they had never before expected and that there is still the possibility of finding joy, no matter how difficult the present moment. Having found each other, they find a way forward. What follows is itself a bit of a ramble but a pleasant and delightful one that elevates “ramble” to the heights of a slow-but-steady romance of the highest quality. It is a romance that cares about its characters and in so doing, convinces its readers to love them as well. And that’s the kind of romance I can unabashedly and publicly recommend!

I’ve previously mentioned in one of my reviews that I am somewhat at a loss when reviewing romance novels, simply because I haven’t read many of them to date. For many years, I deliberately steered clear, thinking that the genre was limited when it came to the literary qualities that I look for in books. However, I have since learned that even old dogs can learn to like new genres and to both honor and celebrate the sheer diversity of books and qualities that appear in and are specific to the romance genre. Of course, all of this is an awkward way of explaining that: if a romance novel impresses me, the grumpy hermit with a really high bar when it comes to new things and changing my mind about something, it truly is a remarkable book.


A well-plotted romance with more than the average novel’s quality of backstory and character development, Rambling with Milton is a thoughtful look at everything that can go wrong in life—and everything that can go right.


You can also learn more about Richard Siciliano’s work on the book’s Outskirts Press Author Page.

*Courtesy of Barnes & Noble book listing.

ABOUT KENDRA M.: With nine years in library service, six years of working within the self-publishing world, and extensive experience in creative writing, freelance online content creation, and podcast editing, Kendra seeks to amplify the voices of those who need and deserve the most to be heard.

A Guide to Promoting Yourself as an Author Online

A point that I keep returning to on this blog is that to be successful as an author, you have to market and promote yourself.

Furthermore, it’s important to market early in the process, even before you publish your book. You want to come into launch day with momentum, and the way to do that is to build up an audience of readers eager to read your book.

You may be wondering: How do I promote myself online as an author? Where can I promote that I’m an author?

In this guide, I’ll get you started with tips and advice on how to do self-promotion, along with the types of websites and online platforms you can go to for promotion so that both you and your newly found readers walk away happy.

Advice for Forming Your Promotion Plan

Either take out a blank piece of paper or open up a new word processor document. You’ll want to brainstorm the ways you want to promote yourself and your work and pin down the platforms you want to use.

First point of order: where do you find books you want to read? In all likelihood, the book you’re writing is in the same niche that you read in, so by thinking about how you fill your bookshelf, you can retain the perspective of the reader so you can meet your audience from the other end of the bookselling process.

Beyond that, compare your manuscript to similar books (comp titles), then look up where their authors are promoting. Google will often pop up the major platforms that an author uses, and their website will often link the entire repertoire.

Even as you research other promotional models, reflect on the platforms you’d prefer to use. Every author has a different approach to promotion, so your strategy will likely be different than your competitors.

Once you’ve listed the platforms you’re thinking of joining, then comes another important part: choose only 1-3 platforms to promote.

You may feel some pressure to promote yourself everywhere. After all, they say that more is better. However, I urge you to resist this pressure. One of the worse things you can do as an author is to try to do everything, stretch yourself thin, and then burn out.

Instead, start with your foundational platforms. Take the time to master a website’s software and best practices and evaluate how sustainable your efforts will be on that platform. If you find a platform to be fruitless, phase it out. If you find success, maintain and build through that avenue and gradually expand your promotional network.

Platforms for Author Self-Promotion

Now, on to the online platforms. The following section will list both specific platforms and their more general categories. Websites rise and fall in popularity by the year (remember MySpace?) and some may even cease to exist (rest in peace, Google+). On the bright side, categories last a little longer, and the fundamentals of promotion transfer to any platform.

Let’s start with the social media platforms, the ones you’ve most likely heard about: Twitter and Facebook. While both of them are facing major competition these days, there’s a lot of established advice out there for how authors can promote on these two giants.

Twitter tends to be more fast-paced and concise, while Facebook tends to be more concentrated in groups with slightly longer posts. Facebook has also traditionally had a reputation of having an older audience than Twitter, although even Twitter these days is no longer as hip as its heyday. Overall, these two platforms have proved their staying power, so picking one or both comes down to which style you prefer and where’s your book’s audience.

For other social media platforms that are centered around text, LinkedIn is the prime candidate for business authors and professionals writing non-fiction. Reddit is also growing as being even more community-based than Facebook. Tumblr has waned in popularity but remains an option for writers with younger audiences.

With the above in mind, don’t write off the platforms that rely on images and videos. Meta/Facebook-owned Instagram has a “Bookstagram” community full of authors leveraging visuals for promotion. Snapchat is more insular but may be worth considering for YA authors.

And of course, there’s the newest big new thing in social media: TikTok. Traditional publishers have been taken aback by how effective “BookTok” has been at elevating backlist titles to young yet enthusiastic audiences. No one can predict if BookTok will continue to bear fruit for authors, but with video clips as short as 15 seconds, you would have the opportunity to push your book out in a fast-paced environment.

We’re not done yet: there are even more platforms beyond what’s usually considered social media. Amazon-owned Goodreads is designed for authors, in that you can claim your author profile, engage with readers with content such as author Q&A, and even run giveaways.

You can also start a blog and either set one up on your website (see below) or use a blogging platform such as Medium. Newsletters are also gold, with options out there such as Mailchimp and Substack.

And finally, I recommend that all authors at least build a website. Starting out, you don’t have to go with a paid option (although I still urge you to eventually pay money), but websites make for a reliable central hub that you can funnel readers to from external platforms. While social media websites may shut down, you always can keep your website.

There are thousands of more websites I’ve yet to mention, but that’s the beauty of the Internet. There are platforms for every niche, and new websites come into being and popularity by the month.

This is only the start of your promotional journey. I hope that I’ve given you plenty of pointers on how to launch your writing campaign.

Over to you: Where do you promote yourself online? What pieces of advice do you have on author self-promotion?

Elizabeth Javor Outskirts Press

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Why Business people Need to Publish a Book

professionals benefit from having a published book
Most professionals benefit by having a published book

Certain professions need to be published. This list of professions can go on forever: entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, journalists, consultants, self-help experts, freelancers, and so on.

Even if you’re not on this list, read on to evaluate whether publishing a book is suitable for your profession. After all, publishing a book can contribute a lot to your career.

For the typical professional, it’s easier than ever to publish a book. Self-publishing and eBook publishing are both viable. You can release your book without waiting years for publication, keep control of your vision for your book, publish in both physical and digital formats, and retain a larger share of the loyalties.

In any profession, a book can serve as your best form of marketing, working better than any business card. A card can be easily thrown away, but a book can remain on your reader’s bookshelf forever.

Any reader who picks up your book becomes a prospective client, attracting attention and increasing your reach and visibility. Your book’s content can also testify to your authority, credibility, and professional expertise. On top of that, it extends your brand by giving you another avenue through which you express and practice your profession.

Finally, a reader-turned-client is more informed about your goods and services, improving the experience for all parties. Of course, any good professional can explain what she does, but having a book do the explaining is neat too.

For another example, take public speaking. If you speak for a living, you must have a book.

You can publish a book as the companion guide to everything you address on stage. It allows you to expand on topics you cannot discuss at length during your speech, and audience members who buy your book on the way out have another way of expanding on what they learned from your speech.

It’s also wise from the standpoint of marketing. Your speeches will promote your book, and your book, in turn, will open up more speaking gigs: a positive feedback loop.

A book can serve as the linchpin for your online content strategy. If you put in the work, you can increase the opportunity of your book snagging that blue-chip client, sparking word of mouth, or even garnering media attention, reaping a stream of new customers for you.

So, how do you sell your book after you publish it? First, consider giving your book a strong presence on LinkedIn. If you’re a professional, you’re likely already using LinkedIn, so why not get more mileage from a platform you’re already leveraging?

Your book gives you another reason to post regularly on LinkedIn, especially if you’re prone to leaving LinkedIn alone for months. To fuel your posting, you can repurpose content from your book as LinkedIn content. Alongside the standard post, LinkedIn has features to publish an article or create a newsletter. In addition, you can include a call to action to check out your book or begin a conversation with you in these various forms.

This also applies to other social media platforms. For example, you could tweet quotes and excerpts on Twitter. You can create short videos for Instagram or microposts for Facebook. You can even launch a blog or newsletter. The same platform may vary (as any of the previously mentioned platforms may not exist in a few years), but as a medium, the book will remain.

You can also bundle the book as part of your product, increasing its value for your customer. This is especially effective for digital products, where you can toss in an eBook at no extra cost. So while you may give up a potential sale, it’s a worthwhile trade if your primary product sells for significantly more than your book’s sale price.

Marketing aside, a book is another nifty format for your work, depending on your profession. If you’re a lawyer, you can teach the basics of law without having to sit a prospective client down. If you’re a consultant, a book can be a solid alternative for any client who’s unable to book an appointment with you. The possibilities are endless.

And above all, there’s always the chance that you will start writing a book and find publishing to be your calling. As beneficial as the promotional aspect of a book is, a book is also an opportunity to express your thoughts, work, and love of your craft.

Many professional authors start in different professions before making writing their full-time vocation. So now, don’t rush to quit your day job, but do know the act of writing can lead you down a rabbit hole of authoring.

No matter how you’d leverage a book, know there’s an exciting business world full of books. So will you write the next one?

Over to you: What are some of your favorite examples of professionals who’ve published books? How has your book served your career if you’re a professional who’s published a book?

How to Write a Strong Online Book Description as a Self-Published Author

If you want to sell your book online, you must have a strong book description.

When you make self-publishing a business, you’re in charge of all the components for hooking in buyers: marketing, publicity, keywords, metadata . . . and even a stellar book cover.

Even then, you need your book’s product page to describe what your book is about and persuade people to buy. Often called online descriptive copy in marketing parlance, your book’s online copy is like the description on a physical book’s back cover.

However, online copy does a lot more lifting, as, unlike an in-person bookstore, the buyer can’t pick up a tangible object. On the internet, what you have are many pixels and a whole bunch of words.

It’s a daunting task to write copy that sells your book, especially if you aren’t used to putting your work out there. Still, I have some advice on how to craft your book’s store pages so that you can do good business and give justice to your book.

It’s All about Reciprocity

If you feel skeevy about selling your book, I have some words of reassurance. As long as you focus on reciprocity, you will maintain your integrity as an author and a seller.

As a self-published author, you want people to buy and read your book. As a reader, your buyers want to find a book they’ll enjoy. Therefore, it’s in both of your interests to make the sell on a book your reader wants.

To this end, look at your book and think: what do you love most about your writing? What do you think and hope readers will enjoy when reading? Finally, what are some comps (short for comparable titles) that you can mention in your description that will guide your readers quickly to understand your book concerning the market?

In all cases, don’t misread the reader. Be honest about your book’s content. For example, you might be able to make some sales if you describe your edgy romantic thriller as a cozy happily-ever-after read, but that misrepresentation will bite you back. Misread readers are more likely to return your book (and with an eBook, returns can be done with a few clicks) and leave the dreaded one-star review.

Now let’s get to writing a description!

Guidelines for Writing a Store Description

There are many components for assembling a book’s product description: here are some of the important ones.

Pitch your book with a short, sharp summary. I recommend you study your comps’ descriptions to get the hang of how to summarize your book in a way that interests buyers.

The core of your description will be the elevator pitch, a 150–200-word rundown of what your book’s about and why they should read it. If you have experience querying your book to agents and editors, you may know how it goes.

The standard is to start with your main characters, the internal and external conflicts they’re grappling with, and the state of the story’s setting before the action begins. Then, give that inciting incident. Next, tell readers what kick-starts the story. After that, give readers an impression of how the middle act goes.

Importantly, hint at how the story resolves but don’t give away the ending. Instead, present your book’s main themes and suggest what lengths the book’s characters must go to find a resolution.

Finally, capstone your pitch with a 25–50-word closer that wraps up the core of your book. Again, make the genre and main themes clear, then include a little call to action for the buyer to purchase and read your book.

With your pitch set, you can frame it and incorporate it within the other components.

Incorporate blurbs and praise into your description. Ideally, you’d have sent advance copies to reviewers and authors so that they can hype up your book. Then if you get a shining article from a review blog, excerpt that praise.

Even better is if you secure praise from an author of one of your book’s comps, preferably someone trendy in your niche. If the author’s name alone will hook in readers, I suggest including that blurb at the very top of your description.

However, if you have neither, you can still solicit blurbs from readers you gave advance copies to. A testimonial can reassure buyers that other people have already read the book and enjoyed it, even if it’s from a random reader.

Introduce yourself with a short author’s bio. I have an article in the works that goes more in-depth on how to write an author’s bio.

For now, my advice is to give the reader a basic idea of who you are and how your experience informs the book. Remember that your biographical information serves the descriptive copy, so tailor it to sell your book.

Put to good use your retailer’s formatting. Most major retailers can elevate your description beyond plain text.

Judiciously apply bold, italics, and subheadings to your description whenever possible. Subheadings can help guide readers, and emphasizing the keywords is an effective way of showcasing the words that may hook future fans.

Some storefronts even give sellers the tools to craft extremely fancy product pages. If they allow images, put that to use, whether you need to hire a graphic designer or use Canva to prettify that one blurb from a bestselling author who loved your book.


There’s so much more you can play with and consider with online description copy, and that’s one of the joys of cheerleading your book. So I hope with what I’ve taught you today, you’ll find the joy in description copy and match your book with some soon-to-be-delighted readers.

Over to you: What’s your description like for your book? What questions or advice do you have for describing your book?

Elizabeth Javor Outskirts Press

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.