Should Authors Seek Endorsements and Forewords for Their Book?
Not a week goes by that I don’t get an email or a call from an author asking how to get an endorsement or a foreword for the forthcoming book. So, the immediate answer is: Maybe … maybe not.
After their ask, I always respond with, “Why do you want it?” It’s a valid … and important question for every author to be asked in their quest … and to be answered, by the author. Not me.
Why do you want … need one, or them?
Here’s the typical response I get.
It will sell more books.
It will get the media’s attention.
It will bring credibility to my book, and to me.
The real question you should be asking before seeking an endorsement is: Should I seek “named” endorsements … or take a pass?
Some books need them, some don’t. Decide early on where yours is—are they needed to push your book out … or are you enough? Is your back cover copy compelling, pulling your ideal reader in?
Endorsers must have known clout and a reputation to entice book buyers to pick up your book. Do they? It’s wise to steer clear from political figures or anyone who carries negative baggage, as do some celebrities that will cause potential readers to avoid your book, unless you are writing a political book.
If this is your mission, do your homework before you ever do an ask.
1. Who would be a magnet for your target audience?
2. Who would they recognize and has credibility?
3. Do you know who the “whos” are?
4. Do you know anyone who does if you don’t?
5. What do you have to show them for consideration—the whole book or a few chapters?
6. Does the recipient want the entire document or a few chapters?
7. If they are open, ask what would be best—an emailed Word document or pdf or a snail-mailed copy?
8. Or, do they know your work and what you are writing, they are “good to go”?
9. If you are priority mailing (yes, at least priority mail), is there a “goodie” you can include as a thank you?
10. If you are sending to an unknown, such as a celebrity, you’ve got to stand out. What is his or her connection to your theme/book—is it a cause?
11. When do you need it by?
It’s the same thing …
- Who would be a magnet for your target audience?
- Who would they recognize and has credibility?
- Do you know who the “whos” are?
- Do you know anyone who does if you don’t?
- What do you have to show them for consideration—the whole book or a few chapters?
- Does the recipient want the entire document or a few chapters?
- If they are open, ask what would be best—an emailed Word document or pdf or a snail-mailed copy?
- Or do they know your work and what you are writing, they are “good to go”?
- If you are priority mailing (yes, at least priority mail), is there a “goodie” you can include as a thank you?
- If you are sending to someone who doesn’t personally know you, you’ve got to stand out. What is his or her connection to your theme/book—is it a cause?
- When do you need it by?
Plus … some may ask you what you want them to say. I know you are thinking, Really … you want me to write your words. Really? Yes, yes some do. Noodle this a bit—you may want some shout outs with key phrases in them. Create some one and two liners—a page of them. Add—If time is short, here’s a variety of lines that you can use, altering them to your words.
Then, “rank” any endorsements that come in—who has the most clout? If you get a Foreword, is there a line that snaps, crackles and pops? Add that to your “short” endorsements—you may want to pop it on the front or back cover.
And where do you put all these gems? On the first few pages of your book—before the Title page. Think a header, such as: People Are Talking … Praise for (your title), etc. On your website. When you Amazon page is “live”, copy it in an email to the creator with the link to the Amazon page and ask them to do a copy/paste for a review. Shout them out on your social media—create a “rotation” of sharing and thanking the endorser. Include your book cover for the image and certainly the link to your buy page.
When Jeff Keen, President and CEO of American Book Fest heard what I was doing with the creation of my l book, How to Create a Million Dollar Speech, he reached out to me. “If you would like an endorsement or foreword, I would be glad to do one.” I kept his note. When I had the full manuscript—knowing that it wasn’t perfect nor even laid out—I sent an email reminding him of what he wrote and asked if he was still game to do it. “Yes, send me the full manuscript,” was the response with a deadline for when I needed it.
Not only did he deliver, but it was also clear he had read the entire book-to-be, with 10 pages noted where he recommended a tweak was needed. WOWSA, I was so honored with what he wrote … and my goal is to go to print before winter ended. ends.
Within a day, this was emailed to me:
BRAVA! BRAVA! What an incredible book.
My copy is tagged, noted and circled throughout. Fantastic resources!
And then three days later, the full Foreword was received.
Then, I made a list, a very short list, of individuals who I would be honored to get endorsements from. I created a Bit.ly customized shortened link of the full Amazon link for using forward in promotion and marketing.
My Bit.ly is this: https://bit.ly/CreateSpeech
My Amazon page link is this: https://www.amazon.com/How-Create-Million-Dollar-Speechebook/dp/B0B4RPHNBG/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?crid=3D69XTVYNJY6&keywords=how+to+create+a+million+dollar+speech&qid=1703591817&sprefix=how+to+create+a+million+dollar+speech%2Caps%2C119&sr=8-2-spons&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGY&psc=1
UGLY … why would you put out gibberish that is not memorable? The Bit.ly is so much better. Now it ties to the title of my book, How to Create a Million Dollar Speech.
A short email was sent out to others who had clout that included the back cover copy, the link to the Amazon page and the “ask” –the goal was to include any on the first two pages of the book. One took a “pass”—she wants the complete printed book and will post a review after publication date. The others asked for the manuscript. Happy dances in my offices!
Bottom line—it’s all about “the ask” and knowing who will be a match for your ideal readers.
Getting endorsements adds to your pre-workload as an author. Before you pursue … do the ask: do you need them? In most cases, I would say NO. Instead, learn how to write killer marketing copy for the back cover—it’s where that hooks the potential buyer quickly. It’s the secret sauce for selling books, outside of speaking. If that’s not your “gift”—hire someone who can.
Dr. Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. Often, she must roll up her writing sleeves and become a Book Doctor, juicing up storylines and author words. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 45 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms, Snappy Sassy Salty: Success for Authors and Writers, and How to Create a Million Dollar Speech. Her personal memoir When God Says NO-Revealing the YES When Adversity and Loss Are Present is a #1 bestseller on Amazon and her historical fiction debut The Secret Journey. Collectively, her books have earned over 50 book awards. Judith speaks throughout the year at publishing conferences.
Throughout the year, she holds Judith Briles Book Unplugged in-person and online experiences: Publishing, Speaking, Marketing, and Social Media. All are two-day intensives limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Join Judith live for the “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” podcast on the Toginet Radio Network HERE.
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