SEEKING BOOK ENDORSEMENTS
Have you ever bought a book because a famous person whom you’ve long admired provided a glowing endorsement? I know I have. With the knowledge that this particular person said the book “changed the way I think and feel” often provides enough enticement to nudge me into a purchase. I know I am not alone, and that is why endorsements are crucial to a book’s success.
Publishers want your book’s back cover to be filled with complimentary blurbs from celebrities, authors, and other qualified individuals. Actually obtaining these endorsements is the tricky part. Over the years I have learned how to get results when seeking endorsements. The following information should help you obtain that dream endorsement. Good luck!
WHEN TO SEEK ENDORSEMENTS
The publisher will appreciate your involvement in seeking endorsements sometime after you have turned in your final manuscript. After you’ve met your delivery deadline, you will be asked (by your editor and possibly the publicity and marketing departments) if you have a list of potential endorsers for your book.
WHO TO CONTACT
Create a list of up to 20 people who would make great endorsers for your book and list the reason why. For example, if your book is about babies you may want to seek endorsements from well-known pediatricians who have authored books, actresses who have children or grandchildren, and editors of parenting magazines. Remember, name recognition is important. I have been pleasantly surprised by celebrities who have kindly provided endorsements for my books. Don’t be afraid to ask!
I typically make my list of 20 consist of 10 people who would likely endorse my book (often these are contacts I have made over the years and lesser-known authors), eight “dream” people that I hope will endorse my book (celebrities and famous authors), and two people who are far-off dream endorsements (such as Dr. Phil McGraw and former Presidents).
Show this list to your publisher and negotiate how many bound manuscripts or galleys they will provide for you. Most major publishers will provide bound manuscripts for their authors as long as you do the labor (letter writing, packaging, and mailing). See if the publisher will reimburse you for the mailing costs.
Another option is you could send custom letters to your publisher and they will do the mailing. Sometimes I find it’s best that I do my own mailing because celebrities are often more willing to help an individual writer (you!) vs. helping a huge publisher.
HOW TO FIND CONTACT INFO
You should find a solid address for the potential endorser before you show the list to your publisher. A solid address is a street or P.O. Box address that appears to be for the individual, not the agency (e.g. “Wilshire Blvd.” addresses will most likely go to the celebrity’s agent). However, if you can not find an author’s address, you can send a letter to the author, care of the author’s publisher. Be sure to write “Author Mail” after the author’s name. Writing to an author in care of the publisher could take 2-3 months before the author receives such a letter. If you know an author’s literary agent (check the acknowledgments in the author’s book), this will likely be faster than going to the publisher.
The Internet is filled with websites and contact information for many well-known celebrities and authors. I have had success with the websites www.celebritiesfans.com and www.seeing-stars.com. For other options, enter “celebrity addresses” in Google. Also, I highly recommend The Celebrity Address Book. The company publishes an updated edition every year; see www.ContactAnyCelebrity.com for more info.
HOW TO CONTACT
I usually contact potential endorsers via “snail mail.” I find it’s more personal. However, if I have made a previous contact with the author (at a writer’s conference, Book Expo, or at a booksigning event), I will send them a casual email asking if I could send a bound manuscript of my latest book.
WHAT TO SEND
Your endorsement-seeking packets should include a custom cover letter requesting an endorsement, a bound manuscript, an endorsement form, and an SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope).
WHAT TO SAY IN THE COVER LETTER
The following is an example of a cover letter to a potential endorser for my book, Looking for God in All the Right Places:
I truly admire the work you have done as an actress. I also have found your honesty and candor in interviews refreshing and delightful! <Note: You could state something specific, such as “You were terrific on the recent “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”>
Would you possibly be willing to review the enclosed manuscript of my forthcoming book, Looking for God in All the Right Places: Prayers and Poems to Comfort, Inspire and Connect Humanity and offer a comment? If so, I would greatly appreciate your feedback on the enclosed endorsement form no later than September 30th. It will be published Spring 2004 by Loyola Press. <Note: I choose a date that is approximately three weeks from the date of my letter.>
As a small thanks for your time and consideration, I’d be happy to send you an autographed copy of one of my other books. (If you’d like a personal inscription for you or someone else, I’m happy to oblige.) Please see the attached color postcard listing my current books. Whether or not you decide to offer an endorsement, I hope you enjoy the book.
Take care. And much continued success to you!
With warmest wishes,
Enc. copy of Looking for God in All the Right Places, endorsement form, SASE, color postcard
WHAT TO INCLUDE ON THE ENDORSEMENT FORM
The following is an example of an endorsement form to a potential endorser for my most recent book, Looking for God in All the Right Places:
Looking for God in All the Right Places: Prayers and Poems to Comfort, Inspire, and Connect Humanity
compiled by June Cotner
Publisher: Loyola Press
How would you like to be identified? (e.g., “author of” or professional title):
I cannot comment at this time
Please return your comments to me by using the enclosed envelope, or you may reach me by fax: (360) 697-9496, or email: email@example.com.
Thank you very much. I look forward to hearing from you!
© 2010 June Cotner, publishing consultant and author of the bestselling Graces and Dog Blessings and 24 other books. PO Box 2765, Poulsbo, WA 98370 firstname.lastname@example.org
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