Endorsements give your book credibility and can boost sales. They provide third-party validation that your book is worthwhile, and as a result they are so much more powerful than any publicity that comes directly from you.
Yet many writers are bashful about asking for them, or they ask the wrong people. Here’s how to make the most of the opportunity:
1. Think about endorsements at the proposal stage.
As a coach, I like to get the process going at the book proposal stage, even though doing so sometimes strikes fear in the writer’s heart. “How can I ask someone famous to endorse my book when I haven’t even written it yet?” they counter.
No problem. Just ask if they will agree to review your book for a possible endorsement, when it’s ready. That makes it easier to say yes, because they’re not committing to writing a positive blurb from now. And it gives your proposal more weight to have these commitments up front.
While writing my proposal for Will Write for Food I emailed cookbook author Deborah Madison (met her at the Greenbrier), restaurant reviewer Michael Bauer (I had interviewed him for my sample chapter on restaurant reviewing), and literary agent Lisa Ekus (I knew her professionally). I explained that I was writing the book and would be honored to include their names in the proposal as potential endorsers. I explained why I thought they were a good match for the book. All agreed.
Another kind of endorsement is the foreword. This is a larger commitment, where someone writes an essay inside the book, instead of a sentence or paragraph. Often publishers pay