The text in the endorsement boxes will feed through to public databases and to the sales sheet we send to the trade.
Put your key endorsement in the top slot, following the formatting guidelines below.
Most of us are reluctant to go around seeking praise for our work. The trouble is, no bookshop believes what first-time authors say about their own book, or, often, what the publisher or the sales rep says. Most stores in the USA will not consider stocking a copy of the book if there is no other back-up to say it is a good one (and the more "serious" the support the better—relatives/friends/clients/individual reader reviews do not count). And if you rely on good reviews after the book has come out, it can be too late to get the shops to stock it.
Please follow the following formatting guidelines:
- Reviews/endorsements have certain pre-formatted elements. The body of the review will automatically be in italics, so do please omit inverted commas and html tags, which will corrupt marketing materials. You do not need html tags.
- The name of the reviewer should be placed in the "From" box. This is automatically in bold, you do not need tags.
- "Source": this is for where the reviewer is from, i.e. which magazine they write for, which organization they belong to, which books they have written. Until the database has been amended, please put the magazine or other organization for the top endorser in the same box as the name, so that it will feed into AI and marketing materials. If there is anything really distinguishing about them—they have won a prize or been president of a country or whatever—that buyers will have heard of, do add that.
- Keep it down (edit if necessary) to a few sentences maximum.
The endorsements that "count" for most are from people that potential readers of your book, or the bookshop buyer in that specialty, are likely to recognize. Try for one or two in the UK if you live in the USA and vice versa etc. If you have good endorsements from magazines, newspapers etc. for previous books that you have published elsewhere it is worth putting those up.
- Who gets them: We don’t get endorsements for books ourselves, or give suggestions, because we end up overloading the people we know. This one is down to you.
- How to get them: On the principle that no one in the world is more than half a dozen steps removed from anyone else, and using email, get responses from those you know best, get their contacts, and move up the ladder. Well-known people who you don’t know and who are being asked for endorsements every week probably won’t reply, but the occasional one will, particularly if the book is closely related to their concerns and you tailor the letter/email accordingly. The more individual you can make it, the more likely you are to get a reply. If you draw a blank in your network, you could search through other books in your category on the website to see who endorsed them. It is easier to get to know people today through the internet. Talk with people on the different platforms; comment on their blog, follow them on Twitter, talk with them on Facebook. The more you can connect on different platforms, the more likely they are to recognize you. Skip the flattery, talk their language, write about things they care about.
- What you need to send: Most people willing to give endorsements are prepared to do so on the basis of an emailed attachment of the manuscript, so long as you make it clear that it has been accepted for publication. It is not worth the expense of sending out of parcels of 500-page manuscripts or proofs out in the post for the sake of a possible couple of sentences in reply, particularly as most may not look at it anyway. The occasional prima donna may want to see hard copy, and it may be worthwhile sending it if they’re a world-recognized authority, but if you can establish a relationship with them in the letter/email it shouldn’t be necessary. And if you can’t they’re probably not going to endorse it anyway. An emailed manuscript is in some ways preferable to sending a proof (PDF), because they may make comments on it that you want to take into account. After the manuscript has been copyedited, approved and sent to production, it is too late to make changes.
- Getting them later: Well-known people in their market get swamped by requests for endorsements. They are unlikely to give one to an author who has not got a publisher yet, unless they know you. When the contract is signed you can say you have a publisher, and refer them to our website. Sometimes they are willing but just have not got time to string some sentences together, and ask for a draft of the kind of thing you would like them to say which they can adapt in their own words, but it is not wise to push that on them at an early stage. Sometimes, if they are really keen, a longish endorsement can be turned into a foreword.
- How long to give them: Give the right kind of lead time. Asking them for an endorsement in a couple of days is probably not going to happen. In three months it will probably be forgotten. Most well-known people are very busy, and usually want a month or so to fit in some reading time. Check with the endorsee how they want to be described.
- Buying endorsements: There are a lot of "authorities" and “experts” (often surprising ones) around who will provide endorsements or forewords for money (the going rates are $500–$3000 for an endorsement, depending on how well-known they are, $1000–10,000 for a foreword etc.). Ignore them—it is dishonest with the reader.
- Where to enter them: Enter the endorsements directly onto the Book Details page in the Endorsements section. You don’t need to let anyone know; the editor will see them and they will feed through to the website.
- How to enter them: To enter a new endorsement, click on "+ add and endorsement." Type, or copy and paste, the endorsement into the box. The endorsee and their credentials goes against "From:" at the top; the "Source:" section is only applicable if the endorsement has appeared in a publication or on a website. You can sort the order in which your endorsements appear by inserting a number into the "Sort Order:" box. Choose a date from the "Date:" box, then click on "Save". You can edit endorsements later by clicking on "Edit". Put the best one at the top.
- When to get them in by: Ideally, aim to have them in by the time you upload the final manuscript. Add them to the front of the manuscript and they will go in the prelims. The last opportunity to have them inside the book is when the designer finalizes the proofs after proofreading (2-3 months from uploading your manuscript to Production); at this point he will check the Endorsements section on your Book Details page for any that you have added. The editor will also refer to this section for the back cover copy. The publication date is finalized when the text and cover files are ready. The information is then sent out. After that, any endorsements you add will still go on the website, and let us know of any highly significant ones (famous names, international renown etc.) so we can update sales reps and databases.
- How many endorsements to get: If you really can’t get any endorsements it doesn’t mean we’re going to cancel the contract, but it does suggest that we’re going to find it hard to sell. If you can get dozens, stop at around half a dozen, or focus on the best-known names. Nobody goes on reading beyond that, it gets tedious. Three or four is generally fine. If they are overlong, use the best few sentences.
- The difference they can make: Rather than thinking of endorsements as a chore, think of it as the start of your engagement with the community, as far as the book goes. There are some key like-minded people who ought to know about it. Sometimes the process of getting endorsements leads to further co-operation, to talks and seminars, workshops and conferences. It can bring the attention of others in that circle to your book, beyond the endorsee. You can get good feedback. It can be worth pursuing them for these reasons after publication as well.
- Free copies of the book to endorsers: We don't send them, sorry. Send them one of your free copies, with a personal note. It works much better. Also ask your endorser to post their comments post-publication as a review on Amazon and any other online retailers.