In the months before your book is published, you should begin reaching out to fellow authors to request endorsements. Ideally testimonials should come from authors in your field, and the more well-known the author, the better.
And while you may think that big-name authors are untouchable, think again. Smart authors know that endorsing a book enhances their marketing efforts since they gain added visibility with your readers. And the fact is that it never hurts to ask. All they can do is say no, but they just might surprise you and say yes!
The key to getting the attention of well-known authors is to show up like a pro. Avoid telling them your whole life story and never beg or suck up. Also, avoid ranting about how this is your first book, you’re self-publishing, and you have no idea if anyone will ever buy your work—that will NOT inspire good results!
Contact information for even the biggest authors is almost always available. Search their websites or reach out via social media mail. You’d be surprised by who reads their own mail on Facebook and LinkedIn!
Here’s a sample request for an endorsement that you can send out via e-mail:
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Hi <author name>,
I loved your book <title> and found it enlightening because…<briefly explain>
I have a new book coming out this winter: <title> (published by <publishing company name>). It is about <brief description, just two or three sentences>. I am in the process of gathering endorsements for the jacket. Would you consider providing a testimonial? I would be happy to send you sample chapters or the entire manuscript for review—whatever you prefer.
Thanks very much for your consideration!
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Note that this note starts out by complimenting the author’s work. This isn’t sucking up, it’s demonstrating that you are a fan of their work and creates an instant rapport (flattery will get you everywhere!). Mentioning the publishing company also adds credibility unless you are using one of the big box self-publishing houses. If that’s the case, omit the publishing company information. The unfortunate reality is that inexpensive publishing solutions will be recognizable and an author with a major press behind him will not be impressed. Also write two or three of the most compelling sentences you can muster about your book and why it is great.
What Happens After You Reach Out
You can expect to receive responses within a few days. Some authors may ask for the full manuscript, though most simply want to see a table of contents and a few sample chapters so they know you can write. The vast majority will not take time to read your book from cover to cover. Do not take this personally!
Some may ask for you to send over some sample testimonials. That’s right, they will ask you to write a few examples that they can choose from! They may change a word or two around, but for the most part you will be crafting your own endorsement. This is a reality in this business.
The bottom line is that endorsements do enhance the credibility of a book so don’t be afraid to pursue them with gusto. Make a list of ten to twenty authors and start asking. With any luck, you’ll end up with so many testimonials that you’ll need to add a page or two to the beginning of your book to accommodate them!