More people are publishing books than ever before thanks to the ease of print-on-demand technology. Because the point of entry has become so widely available, standing out from the crowd is a challenge for any first time author. This is where an endorsement from a NYT best-selling author, a field expert, or celebrity, can help you rise above the rest and reach thousands of people.
As Tucker Max says, “You have to write a GOOD BOOK to gain credibility and authority, and a good book is defined by how interesting and valuable other people find it.” While it seems obvious, it’s absolutely critical to check your work for typos before submitting it for endorsement. If you’re sending an unfinished manuscript to Mark Cuban that’s filled with grammatical and syntax errors, your chance of receiving a book blurb drops significantly.
Plan in Advance
In an ideal world, you want to build mutually beneficial relationships with the experts and authors you seek an endorsement from years or months in advance. However, if you’re looking to publish your book sooner rather than later, it’s still possible. Regardless, take into account the time it might take for an influencer with an extremely busy schedule to read your book—should they choose to do so—and then send an endorsement to you if they are so inclined.
As a 19-year-old unknown kid, I gave a beta copy of my book to Jack Canfield. Obviously, Jack Canfield is one of the busiest people on the planet, and there was no guarantee he would read it. However, five months later, I received an endorsement from Jack. Understand that highly influential people are busy, Respect their time and plan ahead for this period of gestation.
The Book Doesn’t Have to be Finished or Perfect
The book I gave to Jack didn’t even have a spine or back cover. I did the formatting myself, and it definitely wasn’t perfect. However, the content was edited, polished, and essentially finished.
Had I waited for the book to be finished, I’m not sure I would’ve had an opportunity to meet Jack in person. He was conducting a one-day seminar two hours from where I live, and I knew this was my shot. Do the best you can with what you have. If an influencer is in town, figure out a way to get your book—or a portion of it—as ready as can be in case you have the opportunity to hand it over in person.
Be Authentic and Personable
A generic email sent to your favorite 50 influencers wherein you just swap out their name and email address is not going to get you far. Create a list of influencers whose work has helped or inspired you personally. Make sure your email makes specific reference to the “how” and ‘why” their work has influenced you. Also, make sure your content is relevant to the person you’re pitching. Don’t ask Gary Vaynerchuk for a book blurb if it’s about arts and crafts.
Now, if you’re asking for an endorsement in person—at an event, dinner, etc.—or sending a book via mail, make an effort to be creative and stand out. When I gave Jack Canfield my book, I attached a handwritten letter about how I had used the principles he taught to successfully launch a Kickstarter campaign and land my first speaking gig to 2,000 high school students.
I explained how I hoped my book would inspire people the way his books have. I also quoted him in my book, and put a sticky note on that page.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield
In a world loaded with automation and digital info, going the extra mile is greatly appreciated and shows you care. Whether it’s a handwritten letter, a painting, a custom gift, it doesn’t matter. If you’re sincere in your request, knowledgeable about the person you’re pitching to, and proceed in a respectful manner, you greatly increase the chances that you will receive a response.
It’s a Numbers Game. Keep Trying. Use different Mediums.
As an unknown author, the odds are stacked against you. Highly sought after influencers have gatekeepers and busy schedules. However, don’t be deterred by hearing “no” or not hearing a response at all. As Jack Canfield says, when someone says “no,” you say “next.”
If emailing doesn’t work, try calling the next person. Will an influencer be in your town in the coming months? Get a ticket to the event. Make a funny YouTube video and figure out a way so the influencer can see it. Is your cousin’s best friend buddies with the person you want to reach? Contact him. There is no right or wrong way. The more you try, the more likely you’ll get a ‘yes.’
I reached Chris Guillebeau through the most conventional, un-sexy route possible: the contact submission form on his website. Now, my book is about dropping out of college and my journey solo traveling through Central America. I’d read Chris’s books, The Art of Nonconformity and The Happiness of Pursuit.
I knew my book would resonate with Chris because it was so aligned with his own work and beliefs. I ended up sending him my book and he wrote a kind, glowing endorsement.
An Endorsement Brings Credibility
Having a NYT best-selling author or a widely followed celebrity endorse your book will only help you. It gives you credibility, demonstrates “social proof” and can influence people’s purchasing decisions if they don’t know you, but trust the influencer.
While an endorsement alone will not likely make your book a best-seller, it will open doors that were previously shut. Whether it’s a speaking engagement or an online course, an endorsement can boost your perceived value to people who do not know you. It establishes a certain level of trust.
Make the effort to write a great book—one that you are truly proud of. Give yourself time to plan for endorsements—and other unexpected factors that arise when writing a book. Do the best you can with what you have and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Be sincere, personal, and respectful in your request. Have faith in the process and prepare to hear “no.” It just means you’re one step closer to yes!