Friday, April 13, 2012

Endorsements: Asking the BIG question

"Will you please, pretty please with sugar and a cherry on top, read my book even though a billion other people have asked you to read theirs, and then write a little ditty telling everyone how absolutely wonderful it is so we can use that to sell my book??? Thanks!"

Endorsements.

They make you want to lose your lunch to ask for them.

But your publisher will slap you with a big trout if you don't...

What: Definition

What IS an endorsement, actually?

Well, it is when someone "recognizable" gives your book a written thumbs up. Usually for us authors, it is another author, the more well-known the better, who has read your book and agrees to give their public stamp of approval, and writes an "endorsement" that can be used for marketing purposes.

But it can also be another well-known figure like a well-known speaker, advocate, musician, or pretty much anyone that has a "platform" and can influence your book in a positive way.

Who

My super cool agent, Rachelle Gardner, gave me some super good tips on this, as did a few other authors that I asked for advice from.

Make a tiered list. For me, my publisher told me to try and find 10 authors who were willing to read for possible endorsement.


Teir 1: Start with those you know. This is where networking PRE-contract is HUGE HUGE HUGE. If you already have those ready connections, it makes this SO much easier! Focus on those who write in your genre, or have such big names that genre doesn't matter (i.e. if Dave Ramsey or Dr. Dobson comes to your house for a BBQ every summer....)

Tier 2: Genre. Look at authors who write in your genre and who can reach the audience YOU want to reach.

Tier 3: Connections. Look at genre's similar to yours, and look for authors who you might have a connection. Same agent/agency. Maybe you met one time briefly at a conference.

Tier 4: Everyone else!

My Book on Pre-order! Ah!
How

You humbling ask. Personally, I did so by e-mail, but I supposed you could always call someone if you know them super well enough to have their cell on speed-dial.

But you don't ask for the endorsement, specifically. That's a bit self-absorbed and presumptuous. You DO ask if someone would consider reading your book for possible endorsement. Don't automatically assume they will like your book.

Bitter reality newsflash: Some won't.

Your e-mail should be professional, but in my personal opinion (there are varying opinions about this) I like to make my correspondence personal as well, especially if I know the author to some degree. Sometimes too professional can come across as stuffy, although being too nonchalant can come across as not taking it serious enough, too. In my e-mails, I tried to strike a balance. I had a base e-mail composed, but I personalized parts of it to fit who I was sending it to, so they knew I took time to email THEM, and didn't just send a mass e-mail blind copy.

Oh, and don't send a mass e-mail blind copy!

When

This will vary by publisher. Personally, asked my publisher well ahead of time (like 9 months ahead of time) when they would like the list and how it worked. This worked well, because they said, "Now!" so I was able to get my requests sent out in plenty of time, and the people who agreed had plenty of "notice" if you will.

I know some authors get requests with super short turnarounds. I understand that can't be avoided at times, but is very much less than ideal.

Results

I did my research. I sent e-mails to 11 authors, then waited while biting my names for responses.

I received 7 positive responses ranging from "Yes!" to "Send it to me and I'll read it if I have time."

I received one "no, sorry, I just don't have time.",
one "I'm not doing endorsements right now,"
one "I don't think I'll have time but I'll think about it," and
one no response.

And since I was forewarned that a lot of authors just don't have time for endorsements, I was pretty content with those stats.

AND!!!! Out of the 7, I've already received my FIRST endorsement!!

Keep in mind, those 7 do not have to endorse my book. They might end up not having time, and that's okay. The might end up not liking my book enough to endorse it, which while that will make me sad, it's okay too.

My first ever endorsement came from SUPER cool author Tamara Leigh (author of the Southern Discomfort series and my FAVORITE book, Faking Grace.) Oh, and Tamara also just released her book Dreamspell via ebook as well! I've already bought my copy and can't WAIT to read it! It's a medieval time travel romance... I mean, how COOL is that!

Anyway, Tamara brought tears to my eyes with her endorsement, and knowing I at least have "one" made all the nail biting and fretting over e-mails totally worth it!

Without further adieu, my book's first endorsement!

"Don’t let the light-hearted cover and title fool you. Krista Phillips’ spunky, rough-around-the-edges heroine may be “tickle me” funny, but her faith journey offers more than a cute read. There is depth here, made all the more satisfying served up with a generous side of romance."
Tamara Leigh,
Author of Restless in Carolina and Dreamspell
Discussion: Have you thought about the process of getting endorsements once you're published? If you could have any author endorse your book, who would it be? Any questions about getting endorsements? 

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Krista is a follower of Jesus, a wife, a mother, and a contemporary romance author. She recognizes that life can be frustrating and just plain not fun sometimes, but believes that laughter and smiles can make the not-so-fun a little better! She blogs about the amazing things God has been doing and her journey as a busy momma of 4 and caregiver to a daughter with a rare congenital heart defect at http://www.kristaphillips.com. She is represented by the fab agent, Rachelle Gardner, and her debut novel, Sandwich, With a Side of Romance, releases September 2012.

13 comments:

Bonnee Crawford said...

Hmm, wow, I'm learning about new things in the world of writer's every day here! I never knew you were supposed to ask for those cool little statements about the book, I thought someone just did it for the fun of it or something. Well cool :)

I'd want Patrick Rothfuss to endorse my book. I think that would be AWESOME! He's a fantasy author, I have a fantasy book... so there's the link! Fingers crossed and I'll put him on my list.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Oh I am so glad you did this post. The whole thing frightens me.
You did get an excellent endorsement --sweet!

Sherrinda said...

Woohooo! That is so awesome, Krista! And I'm sure there's more awesomeness to come.

I would have YOU endorse my book, even though you write contemporary. You could spin a good endorsement even if you didn't like my book, I'm sure! lol

And I just bought Tamara's Dreamspell!!!! Medieval time travel!!!!! That is my one of my favorite genres EVER, but of course, they don't have that in CBA!

Melissa Tagg said...

Congrats on the endorsement! Fun learning about the process!

I just read Dreamspell...loved it!!!

Joanne Sher said...

This is SUCH a practical post. LOVE it - and excited for you!!

Jeanne T said...

Blogger ate my comment. :) Krista, I loved this post, and the practical things to consider when seeking endorsements. I'm so far from this point in the process I hadn't even considered it. Lord willing, there will be a day when I need it, so I'm keeping this post. :)

Loved Tamara Leigh's endorsement--it was beautiful.

And, I'm soooo looking forward to reading your book!

Beth K. Vogt said...

I've been through the "ask" and you've done a wonderful job of explaining the whole process. I think talking to other authors who've gone before you (who know the process) helps too -- and, of course, asking your agent for guidance is so, so wise!

Freya Morris said...

Great tips! Thanks.

Keli Gwyn said...

I second what Beth said, Krista. Your explanation of the process I went through recently is spot on. The line, "They make you want to lose your lunch to ask for them" made me smile. I can so relate to that feeling, especially when I hit send on my carefully worded requests to some of the big name authors on my Dream Endorsers list.

Congratulations on your first endorsement. It's great, which is not surprising since I'm sure your book is full of awesomeness. I'm eager to read it. =)

Katie Ganshert said...

Great post, Krista! Can't wait to get to your book!! It's patiently sitting on my nightstand, waiting to be opened. :)

I love that your pub gave so much time. That is key!!

Krista Phillips said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone!! Endorsements was one of those hugely fuzzy areas for me coming into publication so hoped I could shed a little light on them after having started the process! I'm sure I'll learn much more as I go!!

Sherrinda... you are SWEET!!!

I thought of you when I found out Tamara was dipping her toe back into medieval novels! I know you'll love it!!

Elizabeth Saunders said...

I hadn't even thought about endorsements, yet. Thanks for the tips, Krista.

Right now my dream endorser would be Elizabeth Peters. And maybe I'll learn more Christian historical authors as we grow that genre.

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

The Lord blessed me with a bunch of super-talented Christian historical fiction writers who are willing to endorse my MSes once they become books! I am SO grateful for that. About a quarter of them offered to endorse after looking at the intial chapters. God is good!

Thanks for the post!