Many authors do not realise that the very first goal in the process of marketing their book is to go after early endorsements. It is a worthy goal because getting some high profile people to write a blurb for you or to endorse your book can add so much of value to your book, which will in turn can help you to carry out the marketing process smoothly. However, securing them can be a bit tricky task as it is always very challenging to get in touch with the high profile personalities, from whom you might be seeking to score endorsements!
In this digital age of social media & email where we potentially have access to everyone, it is easy to be carried away in your attempts to target a high profile influencer. Some authors creates a hit list of high profile people, or influencers they want endorsements from, and they will just start hitting them up in every way imaginable. Sometimes it works, but more often than not, it does not work. If you pitch the wrong person in the wrong way, you will just waste valuable book marketing time.
Though it can be challenging to secure book endorsements, especially if you are self publishing, it is definitely possible if you go about it with thoughtfulness and patience. Moreover, the higher you go up the celebrity food chain, the more involved the process becomes. Well, before we go any further, let us break down the type of endorsement you might want – Foreword, Endorsement or Review!
These terminologies (Foreword, Endorsement & Review) can be confusing at times and frankly all of these things are pretty similar. So, let us start with the reviews.
Reviews – Theycan come from paid and highly respected professional reviewers working for professional organizations, to equally respected blog reviewers, to book reviews written by readers that appear on Amazon and Goodreads. One of the advantages of reviews is that you can include excerpts of reviews on your book cover and/or inside your book under the ‘Endorsements’ or the ‘Reviews’ section. So often endorsement and review are used interchangeably!
However, if you are going after a high profile person in your market, you should use the term ‘Book Endorsement’ because that term automatically implies something that has done before the book is published. In the book publishing industry, endorsements or advance praise for a book will often be referred to as ‘Blurbs’ and interestingly, the short book descriptions are often referred as blurbs too. Nevertheless, over here the term blurb shall not be confused with short book description copy.
Celebrity Endorsements – They can mean virtually anything and so it is not always about trying to get an endorsement from a popular movie star or a cricketer. Sometimes it is a celebrity in your specific market and juts one complimentary nod from a famous face can launch even the most obscure product. Most advertising agencies pay a high price to have a celebrity take a swig of their soft drink or wear a pair of their running shoes.
The good news is that if you can get an endorsement for your book, it probably will not cost you a thing except time, patience and persistence. It is a long road, and you should start down it as soon as you have a reasonably final manuscript!
Forewords – A celebrity or an expert in your market, mostly used for nonfiction, typically writes them. It could also just be someone you admire, or whose work has inspired the book you wrote. Different from a book endorsement, but still endorsing your book in a much broader way, a foreword by an industry expert can help enhance your overall book marketing.
Now, after analysing and finalizing the kind of endorsement (Foreword, Endorsement & Review) you want for your book, comes the time for developing your hit list. The more you have been networking, the faster and easier this process will go. If people know you, or have at least met you, they may be more inclined to help you out in your attempt to secure endorsement for your book!
Well, let us focus to the steps, which should be followed in order to get endorsement from a high profile personality –
Create Your Hit List
Whoever is on your list should have a direct interest in what you are selling. Still, make sure that those contacts should not be indirect and not through some random thing, they were involved in ten years ago, but a direct connection. The more direct the connection, the easier this will be. In book marketing, we call this alignment, and your first and most important job is to find people who are aligned with your book!
While you may get someone like Virender Sehwag, a former Indian Cricketer, who actively carries out promotional activities through his social media profiles and has millions of followers, and carries real respect in the cricketing world. So, wouldn’t it be great if he shared your stuff? Wouldn’t it make more sense if Sehwag was actually interested in the subject of your book? Therefore, you need to act accordingly!
Look for Potential Conflicts
Does the potential endorser have a book or product coming out that they are currently promoting? Sometimes these things can present a conflict, and other times they present an opportunity. A book marketing synergy, as it were. Before you pitch your target for a book endorsement or a foreword, research them and make sure there is not a conflict with your book.
On the other hand, there might be an opportunity to offer to share their work with your crowd. Though it may not be as big as the influencer’s reach, it is still a nice gesture, and most people will not turn down a free mention of their book or anything in which they are knee deep in marketing!
Check for Connections
Book marketing is all about relationships. Remember, people who know you are more inclined to give you an endorsement or write a foreword. So, check with your list of professional associates and friends and find out if any of them know your target. This could be the opportunity, which you might need the most and while you stay on it, just make sure to build relationships. As you will need them down the road, so you do this by adding value, because book marketing is a two way street. You can share their stuff, help them out, and show others the value of knowing you. Do not just show up with your hand out for a book endorsement, because I can almost guarantee you will not get a positive response.
Study their current work
If you have your sights set on someone then study them, and find out what they have written, what they like and do not like. Get to know who they are, maybe reference something they recently shared on social media, a trip they took, whatever. Let them know you are paying attention, and that you care. When it comes to getting the attention of your intended target, these kinds of thoughtful details tell them that you are paying attention, and it can make a huge difference!
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