A Marketing Team reason for rejection
All right, first I’m going to tell you the reality behind endorsements, then I’ll tell you why that reality is irrelevant.
By now you probably know that endorsements on the back of a book are nothing more than people doing favors for each other. They rarely reflect actual praise for a book. In fact, most times, the people who wrote the endorsements didn’t even read the book. (Of course, that’s not true of the endorsements on the back of this book…wink wink, nudge nudge.)
Here’s the way it works. I do a friend a favor—say, endorse her book or help him find an agent, or introduce her to my editor. She’s subsequently a hit in the marketplace (yay for her!). So when my next book rolls around, I politely ask her to do me the small favor of endorsing my book.
Well, she knows two things: 1) she may want a return favor from me in the future (say, a foreword for her next book), and 2) if she puts her name on the back of my book, that means all my readers will see her in a positive light…which could create add-on sales next time she publishes. So she graciously writes a sentence or two saying how wonderful my book is, and we both go on with our lives.
This is why it’s so important to network in the publishing industry, to make friends, and to stay friends with people of influence and/or people who might become people of influence. And that’s why the reality is that most (not all, of course) blurbs showering praise on a book and plastered all over the back cover are really just a you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours sham.
Now, here’s why that reality is irrelevant: Because endorsements impact sales.
Believe it or not, more than one-third of American readers say they “buy a book because of a quote from another author.” Crazy, huh? But true. Plus, stellar endorsements give a marketing team another hook to use when shouting about your book to the media—and they create PR goodwill from people who view the endorser favorably.
In fact, I’ve even had a book denied in publishing board simply because I couldn’t promise one specific person would endorse that specific book. Again, crazy, huh? But that’s the way it works sometimes.
So, when you’re preparing the proposal for your next book, be sure to include a section that highlights people to whom you are somehow connected and who, when asked, are likely to endorse your book. If the names on that list are recognizable, you’ll definitely get my Marketing VP’s attention.
What You Can Do About It
1. Stay networked.
This is the key to securing solid endorsements for any book. Like most things in life, it’s not what you know but whom you know. So be someone who knows a lot of people.
When you attend a writer’s conference, be the person who meets people. In some cases, go ahead and schedule appointments even though you don’t plan to pitch anything to a certain agent or editor. Tell them that you just wanted to meet them. Get their advice on the industry. Let them know you exist in case you send them a pitch sometime in the future.
Join online writer’s groups, write reviews of books by authors you like, post comments on author blogs and websites. Just stay in the game, so to speak, even if you don’t yet have a play to call. Next time you need a great endorsement, that networking may just pay off.
2. Don’t assume only authors can be endorsers.
My wife once published a book called The Low-Fat Lifestyle. (Great book by the way—sincerely!) If you look at the back cover on that book you’ll see an obligatory endorsement from a prominent women’s author/editor. Above that one, however, you’ll see an endorsement from a guy who’s never written a thing in his life.
So why does he rate as a significant endorser for this book? He’s a medical doctor, an accomplished physician, and an expert in the field of health and medicine. That makes him a person who immediately lends credibility to the healthy ideas my wife included in her book.
So don’t assume your endorsers must always be other writers. Find credible experts in the field who can lend their authority to the material covered in your book. Sometimes that carries more weight than even a bestselling author.
3. Stay on good terms with your editors.
John Maxwell is a New York Times bestselling author, one of the nation’s foremost experts on leadership, and a well-respected business guru to millions. I personally have never met, nor spoken to, nor even exchanged emails with Dr. Maxwell. Yet he wrote an entire foreword to one of my books.
How did I pull this off? Well, I stayed on good terms with an industry friend who went on to become both my editor and Dr. Maxwell’s editor. When the time came for collecting the foreword and endorsements, this editor did me a huge favor and contacted John Maxwell on my behalf. (And hey, if you’re reading this, I still owe you one Mark!)
Like I said, it’s not always what you know, but whom you know. So stay on good terms with your editors—even through all the waves of rejections. Those people may one day do you a big favor when it comes time for endorsements.
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