One of the first things some publishers will ask of potential authors is whom they’re going to have endorse their book. The thinking is that if you know enough powerhouses who are willing to say you’re worth a reader’s time, it’s more likely your book will be successful.
This is a big if â€“ endorsements can backfire if someone buys a book because someone trusted recommends it and the book turns out to be a dud.
But for most authors, one way to become a big fish in your little point is to have an even bigger fish to recognize you. You want experts in your field to endorse your book so that you can quote them on the back cover and in any publicity material you have.
But endorsements can be quite difficult to get. Experts are busy people. And some don’t ever do endorsements, fearing they’ll be besieged with requests from all authors in their field if they agree to endorse one book. And others have been burned â€“ by recommending a book that wasn’t up to the level of their endorsement.
And if an expert accepts your request to write a blurb for your book, the expert will have to juggle the reading of your manuscript with a busy work schedule. (Some ask you to give them a summary so they can provide a recommendation based simply on that.) You may find you have to keep on top of the endorsers who’ve agreed to write up something, to remind them of their promise.
So why would they agree if they’re so busy? Well, even recognized experts need publicity. If they’ve been asked to endorse a book, that means that people think their opinion is worthwhile â€“ and by having that opinion displayed on a book jacket, their expertise is given even more credibility.
Your goal is to get about 10 good endorsements from experts. This is difficult â€“ so you might settle for five. But start big. You should have included these folks in your network as you’ve developed your material and built your own reputation. You should continue to woo them as you write and as your book is prepared for publication.
Sometimes, an expert will ask that you write the blurb yourself, and ascribe the expert’s name to it. This isn’t ideal â€“ you really want the expert to buy into the book rather than just give his or her name to its endorsement â€“ so aim to see if your experts will actually give you the time that will also repay them in kind with publicity.
It’s all part of the marketing plan for your book.
In our next post, we’ll look at how book clubs can work for you.
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