“It’s better to assume that someone will give you an endorsement rather than assume that they won’t and never know for sure.”
-Larry James of The Authors & Speakers Network
Endorsements can help you stand out from your competition and make potential readers much more comfortable with you. They may take time to collect, but it will be well worth it!
They are very helpful for helping to answer the question that will be on the mind of everyone who hears about your book, “Why should I trust this author?”
Step #1: Produce a top quality book.
Not many people want a book that is poorly edited or formatted. Even fewer people would want to endorse the book by encouraging others to read it. This should certainly be the first step.
Step #2: Create an endorsement wish list.
Start with the people you know:
- Who in your circle of family, friends, past or present co-workers, past or present supervisors, or clients knows your tie to your book subject well enough to vouch for your sincerity? For example, do you have a co-worker who watched you use the principles described in your book and saw how they worked for you?
- Who in your circle has been personally impacted by your book’s content and can vouch for it’s effectiveness? For example, do you have a friend who took your relationship advice and ended up marrying the person they thought they would lose because of the rough patch you helped them get over?
- Who in your circle has the professional credibility to vouch for your book? For example, is your aunt a marriage counselor who can vouch for the validity of the principles you recommend in your book?
Create a list of media sources your readers would already trust:
- Which newspapers do your target audience read that features book reviews? New York Times? The Washington Post? Ask Danielle how you can get a list of 100+ contacts for these sources and dozens more key newspaper reviewers for only $27.
- Which blogs do your target audience read that might be interested in doing a review of your book for their readers? Use Technorati.com to conduct a search for the keywords associated with your book and see which blogs come up. Narrow down your list to the blogs that have messages that you agree with.
Create a list of qualified celebrities and professionals your readers would trust:
Qualified celebrities are those who:
- Fit with the public image you want,
- Is recognized by your target audience as a credible source,
- Is popular with your target audience,
- Have a book, profession or life experience that connects the target audience to your book.
Qualified professionals include those who:
- Teach something related to your book topic,
- Are in an industry that relies on the type of information you include in your book, or
- Are known activists for your target audience. Maybe they run a non-profit with a mission that parallels your book.
Note: Remember that you are brainstorming right now, so don’t avoid including someone on your list simply because you don’t know if they will give you the endorsement.
Step #3: Ask for the endorsement.
First, ask the people in your circle:
When it’s time to ask, don’t beat around the bush and try to pick a time that is convenient for them. Simply ask them to review your book and write a sentence or two about what they think. It would be best if you collected a few sample endorsements online, told them a bit about your target audience so they knew who they are “talking to” in their endorsement, give them a self addressed envelope to return it with (unless you are contacting them via email) and give them a deadline.
Each time you collect an endorsement, add it to the list of samples you send to the next potential endorser. It makes it easier to provide an endorsement when you are not the first one. This is called leveraging one for more.
Then send out information to the media contacts you identified:
Pay attention to their posted submission preferences and guidelines to avoid being dismissed. For example, if they say they prefer bound galley submissions, don’t email them a PDF version to save money and expect to have your book reviewed in their publication. Also, keep in mind that your submission does not guarantee that it will be published, but not submitting something will guarantee that it will not be published.
When appropriate, consider including the previous endorsements you’ve already collected.
Then approach the celebrities and professionals.
It still helps to be direct in your request, but it really helps to include previously collected endorsements so they know what others are saying. Be clear about why you are asking them and what unique insight they have that you value. Even if you don’t know them, you may still end up with their endorsement.
The Take Away
- Start by asking the people around you.
- Leverage each new endorsement to help you get another one.
- Don’t be afraid to approach the major media outlets and big name celebrities.
Do you think it is too late to seek book endorsements after the book is already published?
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