In addition to getting an expert to write a foreword for your blogged book, you will want to have authorities, authors, thought leaders, and other well-known people in your field and in related fields offer short reviews, called testimonials or blurbs, for the front and/or back cover of your book or the inside of your book. You can also use these blurbs on your website or blog and on sites like Amazon.com to help promote your book. This stamp of approval from experts helps sell books. Getting them early in the process can also help drive readers to your blog.
As I mentioned in my last post, this promotional task is one you can undertake prior to the completion of your book. I managed to get four or five testimonials with only the overview from my book proposal, the table of contents, two sample chapters, and a link to the blog. I garnered many more—15 all counted to date—once I had a full manuscript to show. I did show the first and second draft to some people. With others, those I felt needed to see a more polished manuscript, I waited until the publisher and I had a final or almost final version.
Obtaining blurbs follows the same basic format as obtain a foreword. You will seek out those experts whose endorsement would help sell your book. Remember, their testimonial about your book is just that—an endorsement of you and of your work intended to help sell copies to readers. Ask yourself who would be a good choice to provide such an endorsement? Who are the most respected people in your field or industry? If you are writing fiction, who are well known novelists or other well-read authors in your niche? Who else writes romance or thrillers, for instance? If you write nonfiction book about business, who are the leading business experts? And if you write about a specific type of business, like real estate, who specializes in that business area? Seek out those experts. Send them an email or a letter with information about our book and ask if they might be willing to provide a testimonial.
Offer to write a testimonial for them if they like. They’ll tell you if they prefer to write one on their own or to edit something you create. Once you have one or two testimonials in hand, when you contact a new expert, you can list the names of those who have already given you blurbs. Write something like, “Here’s what some people have already said about my book.” Then list a few of the testimonials you’ve received.
Don’t forget to tell the people you contact what you will do for them! You will put their name, the name of their book, business or website (whatever they prefer) on your book, website, blog, etc., with a live link. In other words, you will become their promotional partner. Tell them you would be happy to help them promote their book, assuming they have one, in return (if you are, indeed, willing to do so). In other words, seek out the types of people with whom you would like to partner up.
Granted, some of these people will think you are some peon and realize they can do way more for you than you can do for them. It’s okay. Offer anyway.
And don’t be put off by well-known experts. You never know who might endorse you. I have a friend whose book was endorsed by Guy Kawasaki. She contacted him through LinkedIn, he agreed to look at the book, and Viola! A blurb came back that gave her book instant credibility.
And what’s the worst that can happen if you ask for Someone Really Important’s endorsement? He or she says, “No.” Want to know what? I only received two knows out of the 17 people I asked to blurb How to Blog a Book. And now I’m looking for people to actually do reviews! (That’s another subject…)
By the way, I was only able to put 10 of my blurbs in How to Blog a Book. None are going on the back cover that I know of. They will all be used (and have been used) on my website and blog. This is because the publisher only gave me two pages for testimonials. You might have more room, though. I was really bummed about this. It’s hard work getting them in, and you really want to be able to use them all.
I’ll conclude by acknowledging that some people say blurbs don’t matter. I admit that your blogged book must actually be worth endorsing. However, for some potential readers, it makes a difference that people they perceive as trustworthy have endorsed your book. Knowing that could make them purchase your book rather than one with no endorsements.
That’s why I bothered to get them. And I suggest you do, too. In fact, I suggest you get at least one or two really early on and post them prominently on your blog, so readers who show up their know your blogged book, although still being written, has gotten the stamp of approval from an expert. (You can also include these in your book proposal, if you choose to write one. Include the names of people you plan to contact for a foreword, too.)
Doing so surely can’t hurt, and it will likely help.