Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Making the Most of Blurbs and Endorsements

Marketing with Fran by Francine Silverman

There are varying opinions on the value of blurbs on book covers. The detractors claim that endorsers will often provide blurbs without reading the book or as a favor to others. Joseph Finder, an author and blogger, believes people are persuaded by blurbs; it’s only writers who are cynical of author endorsements. Web: Blurbs.

There are various uses to blurbs. I use a review quote in my release to small publishers: “While Silverman’s book is geared towards individual authors and their book promotion efforts, I think small publishers would also be well-advised to read it,” says Bernadette Geyer, one of 30 reviewers to give the book a glowing review.

For Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First, Shel Horowitz took the endorsements from book marketing gurus to create a composite headline in his release: “Principled Profit is HOT, Say Canfield, Levinson, and Others.” Then he listed all the endorsers with links to their blurbs. More details at: frugalmarketing.com.

Peter Bowerman feels that Bob Bly’s blurb on The Well-Fed Writer helped sales tremendously. When he self-published it in 2000, Peter was a first-time writer and having praise from perhaps the most recognized expert in Peter’s industry (copywriting) helped assure potential readers that Peter knew his stuff. On his second book, The Well-Fed Writer: Back for Seconds, Bly’s quote is on the front cover. In fact, the first four pages of his latest book are filled with blurbs). Details at: wellfedwriter.com.

How to get endorsements? Ask. People are flattered by the inquiry. Or use your connections. Kathi Kamen Goldmark is a former media escort and founder of an all-author rock band with Amy Tan, Dave Barry, and Stephen King. So when it came time for endorsements for And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You, she was able to “get some impressive endorsements from well-known authors.” Chronicle Books “ran with the ball” by running a full-page ad for the book in the New York Times Book Review. Details at: And My Shoes.

Shoshanna Katzman also snagged a celebrity endorsement through connections. An acupuncturist, herbalist and Tai Chi and Qigong professional, Shoshanna’s first book, Feeling Light: The Holistic Solution to Permanent Weight Loss and Wellness, was endorsed by Courtney Cox, the star of “Friends.” Shoshanna had made contact through her co-author, an old friend of the show’s clothes designer. Shoshanna sent Courtney a galley of the book and Courtney faxed back the endorsement. This was when “Friends” was still new to TV, and Shoshanna never quite realized how incredible it was to receive this celebrity endorsement. Details at: qigong4everyone.

Your endorsers don’t have to be celebrities. Writers in your own genre are often more valuable. When William R. Benedetto wrote Sailing Into the Abyss: A True Story of Extreme Heroism on the High Seas, he garnered 12 pre-pub endorsements from two bestselling authors, high-ranking USCG and USN officers, and members of the Merchant Marine. How? “Through somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody.” Details at William Benedetto.

Finally, always thank the endorser. As Joe Finder relates, an almost-bestselling author had begged him for a quote, so he read the book. Though lukewarm about it, he managed to “scrape together some nice, honest thing to say.” But, bemoans Joe, “the writer didn’t even thank me – not a note, not a book, nothing. Pissed me off.”

A few weeks later, Joe noticed a blurb on that book by a friend. When asked why he’d contributed the blurb, the friend replied: “A favor to their mutual agent. And you know, that bastard writer never even thanked me.”

-- Francine Silverman is editor/publisher of Book Promotion Newsletter, a biweekly ezine for authors of all genres, and author of Book Marketing from A-Z, a compilation of the best marketing strategies of 325 authors from all over the English-speaking world. Visit http://www.bookpromotionnewsletter.com.
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