In the realm of book marketing, there’s an axiom that goes like this:
“If I say it, it’s up for debate; if someone else says it, it must be true.”
Third-party validation is a sure-fire method of getting people to draw a conclusion about me or my book. In fact, a well-known endorser has proven to add instant credibility to books and professional speakers.
Do you doubt me? You can prove it for yourself. Try this exercise: decide for yourself which of these statements sounds better if you say it about yourself, or if it sounds best coming from a trusted third-party expert:
- This book is the most efficient, effective path to living up to the potential inside you.
- No other author delivers so much yet still leaves the reader hungry for more.
- Each delicious word lolls around on the palette like a chocolate-kissed gem – you’ll want to try these foolproof recipes for yourself.
- The author is clearly the most knowledgeable person of our time and a credit to society.
- Put on your thinking cap – this book is lightning in a bottle. You won’t be able to put it down.
Got your answers? Good.
It probably didn’t take you long to decide that if you had written these blurbs about yourself, then you would have probably stopped at #2 (if you were feeling generous).
However, if any of these quotes about your work came from a head of State, a New York Times best-selling author, or the winner of a Nobel Prize, you’d probably crack the cover on your book and read at least a couple of lines (chocolate-kissed gems, anyone?).
Third-party validation is the most compelling reason to go after book endorsements for your work. It’s also a very intimidating step in the list of things that an author must do to get noticed in the crowded book marketplace. In terms of phobias, requesting endorsements is not far behind root canals, furry South American spiders and that dreaded numero uno… public speaking!
But unlike the items in the paragraph above, getting book endorsements doesn’t have to be all that scary. There’s really very little risk involved, and the benefits far outweigh the price of your request. The few steps below will help you ask for—and get—the endorsements that are so critical for your book’s success.
It’s simple. Don’t ask, don’t get.
Ask, and you just might collect a priceless recommendation from someone you really admire. Having the thought leader in your field say good things about you is sure to up your ratings, not to mention your book sales. So ask for the endorsement.
Five Essentials for Getting Quality Book Endorsements
Now that we’ve established this is an important step to take, let’s take a look at what you need to do to get your first “Yes”.
1. Ask an Author. Authors are usually responsive to requests for book endorsements. They “get it”—start with the experts in your field or genre. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get a response, especially when you remind them of the exposure they will gain from your marketing.
2. Ask an Expert. Experts also thrive on exposure and professional courtesy. Aim high when asking for an endorsement. I typically get a 20-50% response rate using the system I’m giving you here.
3. Send Your Endorsement Letter. Starting with a letter, request a endorsements for your book. In fact, I’ve gone as far as creating an Endorsement Request Template which I share with authors published by Made for Success Publishing. Your letter can either be inserted into the body of an email, or it can be mailed as a physical letter. Your tone should be complimentary without sucking up, and you’ll need to briefly state something that the two of you have in common. Make sure they know how to contact you in reply.
Just last week, I sent an endorsement request to a famous author whose book has sold 25 million copies. His book also has a major motion picture releasing this quarter. He sent me a response saying “maybe,” based on his ability to squeeze-in this request during his upcoming new release book tour and red carpet movie premier schedule.
4. Send Your Book Review Materials. Once your endorsement prospect has answered your letter and said “yes” or “maybe” it’s time to give them the tools to do the job. Offer an at-a-glance summary of your book: the introduction, the table of contents, and a couple of sample chapters. Use your judgement about whether to mail a copy of your materials or send it via email. If you send an email, provide a website link with a protected URL where the endorser can download a PDF as some folks are shy about opening email attachments they receive from strangers.
5. Include Endorsement Samples. Make some suggestions about what your endorser might say. Prepare three or four sample endorsements, since people in your network may ask you to write the endorsement for them. Make the comments easy to digest, but also let them glow a little around the edges.
To Best Seller Status and Beyond
The endorsements you collect can be quite valuable for you and your book, long beyond launch day. It helps to think of the time and effort involved as an investment. What you put in will return to you in the form of dividends.
Book endorsements will be featured on your website, Amazon.com, in your marketing materials, on your book jacket, on sell sheets that are sent to retail book buyers, and many other places.
The time and resources you invest in this stage of your marketing campaign is more than worth it. The right book endorsement will open doors for your writing endeavors, your book, and your paid speaking opportunities.
Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.