18 Aug 101. Getting Blurbs for Your Book
Whether you publish with a traditional publisher or you take the indie route, marketing your book will mostly be your responsibility.
Getting other prominent authors and experts to blurb your book can be an important part of your book-marketing plan.
In this episode, you’ll first get clear about what a book blurb actually is.
Then you’ll discover how to get blurbs from the right people and how to put those blurbs to work selling your book.
Mentioned in This Episode
Welcome to Nothing but the Words. I’m your Book Coach, Candice L. Davis.
This episode is all about how you can get blurbs for your book.
Miriam suggested I do a podcast episode on how to get blurbs for your book. It had never occurred to me, but obviously it’s a great idea.
Most authors have no idea how to get blurbs for their books and they wait until much too late in the publishing process to start thinking about it.
It’s never too early to start keeping a list of the people you’d like to ask to blurb your book.
So what is a book blurb?
A blurb is just a short, written endorsement for your book. It usually comes from another author, although it can come from someone else with name recognition in your field.
Blurbs usually appear on the front or back cover of a book (or both), on the Amazon book description/sales page, and on the author’s website.
If you look at Tony Robbins’s book Money: Master the Game, you’ll see blurbs everywhere.
He has one blurb on the front cover and three on the back cover, above the back cover copy, which summarizes the book and tells you why you should buy it.
And then, if you open the paperback edition I have, you’ll find five whole pages of blurbs, starting with a sort of general “Tony’s great” endorsement from former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.
That, my friend, is a lot of blurbs, many of which, like Clinton, speak more to how great Tony is than they do to the content of the book.
Whatever you think about Steve Forbes, Oprah Winfrey, President Clinton, Steve Wynn, or Diane Sawyer, their endorsements carry weight.
So let’s say you pick up a book of horror fiction and it has a quote from Stephen King on the front or a book in the personal-development space that has a quote from Brené Brown on the back cover—those are blurbs from big names in their genres.
Someone who reads in that genre has probably either read their work or, at the very least, knows their name and respects them as an authority.
If you write a book on investing and Warren Buffet offers to endorse it for you, you probably want to take him up on that offer. He’s not an author in the strictest sense—although his letters to investors have been compiled in a book—but he’s perhaps the most recognized authority in the field.
Or say you decide to write a book on the behind-the-scenes reality of reality TV. You might want to have one of the “Real Housewives” blurb your book even if she’s never written one.
That being said, most blurbs will come from other authors in your genre or closely related genres.
Listening to my examples, you might start to think blurbs only count if they come from someone superfamous.
Fame or name recognition is incredibly helpful of course.
But someone whose name most of us wouldn’t know might be important to your audience.
And even if the endorsement comes from someone with almost no name recognition, just adding the title of their book or their position can give your book credibility.
So how do you actually get blurbs for your book?
If you’re publishing with a traditional publisher, ask your literary agent and your publisher to connect you with authors who could write blurbs for your book.
It’s helpful if you do your own homework and ask about specific authors they’ve worked with, but you can also ask for their suggestions.
Confirm with your publisher that they can use these blurbs for your book. (Worst case, you can use them on your website and social media, but it’s good to have clarity about what the publisher can use for your book cover or interior of your book.)
If you’re self-publishing, start with your circles.
Start with people you know and have relationships with and work your way out from there.
At the same time, you can always shoot for the stars and go after one or more of your favorite authors or big names in your arena.
Put together a digital package including your book cover image, a summary of your book, a list of other endorsements and blurbs you’ve received, and a sample of your book.
For your sample, you might include your table of contents, your foreword and introduction, if you’re including a foreword and introduction in your book, and the first few chapters.
This should be the “pretty much finished” version of your manuscript, a version you might label “uncorrected proof.”
Layout design is done, but you may still need a round of proofreading.
When you reach out, keep in mind that no one owes you an endorsement or even a response.
If you’re asking this person for a blurb, the odds are other people are asking for blurbs and endorsements too.
Don’t take it personally if someone declines to blurb your book or never even responds to your request. Such is life.
Some people may ask to read the whole book—many of my clients and colleagues would want to read a whole book before they endorse it—but others may not.
When you reach out to ask for a blurb, include:
Who you are
How you’re connected to this person (if you are)
What you love and admire about their book and/or their work
What your book has in common with their work
A request for a blurb if they enjoy the sample of your book
Your willingness to send along the full manuscript if they want to read it
Your gratitude whether they blurb your book or not
Will a blurb make or break your book sales?
Look at it this way.
The right blurbs can certainly help. But many books have become bestsellers without a single blurb.
Consider your overall marketing plan and how blurbs might help.
That’s all for this week’s episode, friends. If you’re ready to get started writing your transformative nonfiction book, grab my guide “Jump-Start Your Book” at candiceldavis.com/jumpstart.
The jumpstart will help you get clear about your book idea and get started writing without wasting a lot of time.
Thanks for listening to Nothing but the Words. I’m your book coach Candice L. Davis, and I’ll see you next time.