A good selection of credible endorsements is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can craft for your book. Endorsements are short, positive, attributed quotes about your book in advance of publication which can be included in the book itself – inside and on the cover – and in marketing copy. That point about attributed is important – just as important as what people are saying about your book is who they are.
Endorsements are top-quality social proof. If someone’s never heard of you they might not be sure whether this book is worth their while, but if they see that someone they respect or with a credible position or institution behind them thinks it’s great, that’s much more convincing than even the punchiest back-cover copy. So it’s important to try to secure endorsements from names or affiliations that will be familiar to and trusted by your readers: a reader might not know you, but if they someone that they know and trust recommending the book, they’re much more likely to buy it. NB an unknown name with a high-powered job in a well-known company can carry just as much weight as an endorsement from a high-profile individual, but do make sure that whoever you choose is relevant to your target reader.
For cover quotes in particular, reach out as early as possible: we recommend that you send out the final clean copyedited manuscript as a Word document, even before it’s typeset, to give endorsers as much time as possible to read and comment. If you can’t bear to do that, send out first page proofs as soon as they arrive, but you’ll probably lose some from people who just can’t or won’t move fast enough.
Endorsements typically go right at the front of the book, even before the title page, so they’re the first thing someone sees when they open it. Ideally you want at least two full pages, which is about 10 shortish quotes: if you can stretch to 4 pages, so much the better. We add all endorsements to our bibliographic database so they go out into the book supply chain, meaning booksellers and librarians can see them too, as well as using them in marketing copy when pitching journalists, editors etc.
If you feel awkward about asking, keep in mind that requesting an endorsement is in a way giving them a favour back too: you’re featuring them in your book and holding them up to your readers as an authority, so many influencers actively welcome this sort of opportunity if the book is right for them.
Find out more in our PI-Q Endorsements course (free for authors) here.