Putting yourself out there as an author feels very scary especially when it comes to requesting endorsements. One of the hardest things I had to deal with when requesting endorsements or “blurbs” for my debut memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces was that of rejection.
However, there’s a real art to getting them. These ten pointers will increase your chances of getting the right blurbs.
1. Start with people you already know. It is always easier to ask people who feel a personal connection to you or your book for their time without renumeration. They will be way more prone to do you a favor than celebrity authors. Such contacts can also include those you’ve met at conferences, workshops and writer groups.
2. Find blurbers via subject matter and demographics. As a former New Yorker, I googled 40-something writers from New York who wrote on Jewish subjects. I’m Israeli so I played the “Israel card” and reached out to Danny Ayalon, the former Israel ambassador to the US, who gave me a whopping “yes.”
3. Find blurbers from other books. Once I had exhausted all my personal contacts, I started reaching out to people whose endorsed books had a similar subject matter, theme or genre to mine.
4. Ask your publisher or publicist for recommendations. They might also be able to make the connection, making the communication easier.
5. Make your blurbers’ lives super easy. Offer to send a copy of your book in either electronic or print form, audio if you have it. Give guidelines, like a suggested word count, a deadline and where the blurb will be used. If they express time constraints, offer to write a sample blurb they can sign off on.
6. Give, give, ask. Figure out what you can do to help potential blurb-writers before approaching them. I began an author interview series for newly featured books. I promoted their work widely. Since I made the effort to do something for them, some of those authors were happy to return the favor by endorsing my book.
7. Always point out what you like the best about the potential blurber’s work. Pull the focus away from yourself. After all, you’re asking a major favor!
8. Expect a 50 percent rejection rate. People are just busy and sometimes they cannot follow through with their initial commitment. Things come up. Don’t take their rejection personally. Authors are human, too.
9. Ask experts. Since my genre is memoir, I reached out to Linda Joy Myers, president of the National Association for Memoir Writers. (NAMW) In some cases, you might get a more positive response from a big name expert than a famous author.
10. Plan ahead. Before your book is published, identify the major players in your niche and carefully cultivate relationships with them. Factor in the time it will take for them to read your book, and write the blurb.
The key is to stay persistent. I emailed 40 people and got 11 endorsers. With my book just a few months away from publication, I tweet the blurbs as part of my marketing plan. I sent each of the endorsers a copy of the book along with a thank you note. Public thanks can bring awareness to a cause and help you stand out from a sea of authors who are all trying to make a name for themselves.
Dorit Sasson is a speaker, podcaster of Giving Voice to Your Courage and author of Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces, which was recently shortlisted for the Santa Fe Literary Awards. Download a free chapter over at www.DoritSasson.com