You can’t get expert and celebrity book endorsements – meaning the foreword and testimonial quotes – if you don’t ask the experts and celebrities. So ask them.
In my last blog entry, I showed you how to locate the experts and celebrities whose book endorsements you want. Congratulations on finding the contact information.
Now it’s time to ask them.
Book Endorsements Start with Email
If you have the email address, start there. With email, you create documentation for your records, as well as templates to revise and reuse often. Also, you’re a writer, so write.
Unless you only have the phone number. Some people see phone calling as an intrusive way to approach a stranger so be extra polite and humble. Write down your opening script so you don’t stumble through your first sentence. Apologize freely but believe in your book.
Request their current email address so you can send more information in a formal request letter. State the date by when you need their response so you can meet your self-imposed publishing deadline even if it arrives late. Your low-pressured approach will be appreciated.
Writing Your Testimonial Request Letter
Write respectfully to all of your experts, as if they are real people, not gods and goddesses whose responses will make or break your career.
Write from the heart. Tell them who you are, what the book is about, why it is important to you, and why you would be deeply honored if they would write a foreword or give you a testimonial quote.
Attach the table of contents, your author’s introduction, and two or three chapters and tell them you would love to send the complete manuscript.
I Personalize It for Country Joe
Be sure to personalize it as well.
For instance, while I was compiling testimonial quotes for my Voices from the Underground Series, about the Vietnam era underground press, Country Joe McDonald, leader of the legendary Country Joe and the Fish band from Woodstock fame, happened to visit the University of Michigan to perform. When I discovered he was coming to town, I pulled out my template testimonial-request letter and personalized a letter to him.
I knew Country Joe had served in the military in the sixties before becoming an antiwar leader and strong supporter of military veterans. So I included, as one of my two chapters, the history of Aboveground, a military underground newspaper published by GIs out of Fort Collins, Colorado. An appendix to the story listed nearly 400 military underground newspapers from all branches of the military. At the time, that was the most exhaustive such list ever compiled.
After the concert, I introduced myself to Joe and gave him the package, which I asked him to read when he had the time. Joe wrote back I’m pretty sure within two weeks. In his response, he wrote:
… an important project. That information needs to be available. I liked the list of GI newspapers and was not aware there were so many.
Book Endorsements at What Cost?
Don’t ever offer up front to pay for book endorsements. If someone asks for pay, decide how badly you want the endorsement and negotiate a deal.
But most foreword writers do not ask for pay or expect it, and testimonial quotes should not come with costs included.
* * *
This piece was adapted from Ken Wachsberger’s You’ve Got the Time: How to Write and Publish That Book in You. Ken’s other books may be found here and here. For book coaching and editing help, or to invite Ken to speak at your meeting, email Ken at [email protected].
Schedule your complimentary 30-minute coaching and editing session now.