Our thanks to Sandra Beckwith of Build Book Buzz for this guest post! And our additional thanks to Sandra for offering our tribe a $10 discount on “Blurbs, Endorsements, and Testimonials: How to Get Experts, Celebrities, and Others to Endorse Your Book,” her new multi-media program that teaches you how to get those essential endorsements! Use the exclusive Where Writers Win coupon code, WWW, to get the multi-media program for just $19…
While skimming discussion topics in an online group for authors last week, one conversation-starting question caught my eye:
“Should I bother to try to get cover blurbs?” an author wrote. “My publisher wants me to, but is it worth it, really? I mean, doesn’t everybody know that we mostly just ask our friends to write nice things about our books?”
Her comment put a nice, bright, smartphone flashlight on a big problem among authors: Because they spend so much time talking to other writers, they forget that readers – the people they write their books for – aren’t privy to this kind of behind the scenes information.
Truth is, readers only know that the books they like to read usually come with a few glowing cover blurbs – those pre-publication endorsements from people who seem to know what they’re talking about. They aren’t interested in the relationship between the author and the endorser – they’re only interested in whether the endorser knows enough about the topic or genre to be trusted to recommend the book.
The ensuing discussion also reminded me that many authors don’t understand why they shouldn’t skip this essential pre-publication step in the book-publishing process, or why they need to reach beyond their writer pals for endorsements.
You’ll make soliciting book cover blurbs an important part of your publishing schedule when you understand these four reasons why you want to solicit testimonials:
1. Readers expect them.
Whether they’re on the back of a printed book, at the top of an e-book’s front cover, or showcased on a book’s retail sales page, readers expect the books they buy to be endorsed by someone who has the right credentials (including celebrity status) to say, “This book will rock your world!”
Readers want to know that knowledgeable, influential, or important people think they will benefit from reading your book. Don’t disappoint them.
2. Booksellers are influenced by them.
While researching this topic for a training program I created for authors, I was heartened to discover that book cover blurbs influence booksellers. They take them into account when deciding which books to put in prominent displays or in the staff “top picks” section.
In fact, Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, told Time Magazine that, “If you talk to any number of booksellers, they’ll tell you that anything that helps curate content is really important. Today blurbs are probably more important because more books are being published every year.”
3. They influence purchases.
Like so many others, if I’m trying to decide between two books that are similar and one of them has blurbs from people who I think really know their stuff and the other doesn’t, I’m probably going to buy the one with the endorsements.
Book blurbs tell us that the book we’re thinking about buying is a safe purchase. Favorable comments from people we already trust tell us the book is a low-risk investment.
They reassure us.
You want that book reader in a store or on an online retail site to think that yours is the book that will help them experience whatever you’re promising, whether it’s entertainment, escapism, or education. Blurbs help you convince them that your book will live up to its description.
4. They’re not hard to secure when you know what you’re doing.
My research into this topic also showed me that when authors don’t pursue pre-publication endorsements, it’s often because they either don’t know how to do it or because they are uncomfortable asking anyone, let alone a stranger, for a favor.
Here’s the reality: First, asking for blurbs is easy, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. For example, you always want to personalize every request by telling the person you’re contacting why you think they’re the perfect person to endorse your book. Second, most people, including strangers, are flattered to be asked. Because of that, and because of the prestige it brings them to have their name on someone else’s book, they’re often happy to honor your request.
And if they don’t, what’s the worst that can happen? You don’t get a testimonial from that person. Can you survive that? Of course you can!
So get out there and give it a try! Work to get at least one glowing blurb for your book that you can use to convince people that your book is truly as good as it sounds.
Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to promote their books through her free Build Book Buzz newsletter, blog, individual coaching, and online training programs. Use the exclusive Where Writers Win coupon code, WWW, to receive a $10 discount on “Blurbs, Endorsements, and Testimonials: How to Get Experts, Celebrities, and Others to Endorse Your Book,” her new multi-media program that teaches you how to get those essential pre-publication endorsements for your book.