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Having a book blurb—aka a book jacket or an endorsement—from a famous (or even semi-famous) author is a marketing strategy that can have a positive impact on your book sales. But, whether you’re a new writer or a veteran, asking someone for a cover quote may seem intimidating. Don’t worry! Keep in mind that writers who are now famous were not always famous, and at some point they, too, had to ask someone for a promotional quote. Yes, even the biggest big-time authors know what it’s like to be just starting out.
But before you start sending emails to all your favorite writers asking them to endorse your book, it’s important to know the proper etiquette to use when making your request.
How To Request A Quote For Your Book From An Author
Plan ahead. The best time to start looking for the perfect person to write a blurb for your book is, in fact, shortly after you start thinking about writing the book. That means networking. Join trade organizations in your genre. Take classes with writers in your genre. Even if you don’t end up actually rubbing elbows with any best-selling authors—you never know who your friends may know. When you’re ready to send out your requests, the personal connections you’ve forged will help you get better results than if you had sent out a cold call.
Make a wishlist of endorsers. Organize a list of the perfect authors who could offer an endorsement for your book. The best potential endorsers:
- Are writing in your same genre (so that if your book does well, they get free press)
- Have a good-sized fan base and/or great credentials in their field
- Are writers you truly admire and could endorse in return
Ask your literary agent or publisher if they are going to reach out to other authors. Your agent and editor both have lots of connections. If you know any professionals in the publishing industry, ask them for recommendations as to whom you might approach. Hopefully, they’ll take the hint and offer to approach other authors for you.
Make friends on social media. If you can’t establish any personal connections, turn to social media. But don’t pop up on an author’s Facebook page and immediately start asking for favors. Instead, simply be the likable, interested/interesting author that you are. Once you’ve established a genuine rapport with the author, you’ll feel more comfortable asking for a quote.
Ask nicely in a well-composed, personal email. Don’t send your request by Facebook or Twitter—email is best, when possible. Here are the important points to include in your letter when asking for a book quote:
- Introduce yourself in a personal way, then state that you’re asking for a book jacket quote.
- Briefly offer the details about your book: genre, story, publisher, release date.
- Explain why you think the author in question is a kindred spirit who might like your book. Possible reasons could be: you also like his/her writing; one of the author’s titles compares well with yours; or you both love and write about the same topics.
- Give the author a deadline for the potential endorsement, but offer as big a timeline as possible.
- Let the author know where the blurb will be used. Will it be on your book cover, your author website, or both?
- Don’t forget to say thank you!
Book Endorsement Etiquette
Generally speaking, you should never have to pay for a book endorsement. Also, if you ask for a book blurb and an author gives you one, be sure to use it. Check with your publisher in advance to confirm that the publisher is willing to put a quote by your potential endorser on the book or website. The worst thing you can do after you get an endorsement is not use it. If you don’t like the whole quote, you’re welcome to pick and choose the phrases you like most (this is a common publishing industry procedure).
When the time comes, be sure to return the favor by promoting the author’s books on your own social media pages. You might even want to send a thank-you gift. And remember, someday in the future, a new writer may ask you for a book blurb. Pay the favor forward and graciously agree to write a book blurb.