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?
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.