Testimonials can be some of the first words a consumer reads when picking up a book. These book blurbs serve as a way for readers to get immediate access to a book’s praise directly on the front and back cover, rather than having to search for them online. But how do authors get these endorsements from noteworthy people?
Let’s go over why this praise can be helpful, what a good testimonial looks like, and how to even get them.
Relevance and Quality
There are many reasons why you should consider having testimonials, some of them being that they strengthen your author credibility and attract readers to your book’s plot or themes.
This begins with the perceived influence of the reviewer. Even if the reviewer is not a household name, it’s crucial to make sure that they have industry experience. It always looks good to include a subheading or title after the person’s name to explain why they are relevant to this book. That means you’ll have to ensure that you are collecting testimonials from people that have real knowledge about their field and – this is critical – are able to communicate their thoughts concisely and creatively.
Some blurbs you receive from top authors or leaders might be bland or non-specific. While it may be great to hear from them, a successful testimonial is eye-catching and narrows in on particular aspects of the book that make it unique. The goal should always be quality over quantity.
Cultivate contacts that know you personally and/or professionally and can speak to your work. Vague statements are not worth your book’s cover – you want specific feedback that speaks to real aspects of the book and has concrete rationales for why that particular person is offering their endorsement. Your book deserves the best possible quotes. To get them, you’ll want to pick people that are not only knowledgeable in their profession, but also eloquent and have the ability to express why something works. They have to be able to communicate that well to an audience.
Who are your readers? Who influences them?
What elements of your book are most important to you, and who in your field can speak to those specific topics?
What does your ideal testimonial sound like? What do you want audiences to take away from your book? This will help focus your queries and request for reviews/blurbs.
Organization and Process
Coming up with a system for gathering testimonials is a large part of the process. Having a streamlined methodology will help you stay focused and will allow you to maintain the goals you have set for yourself. Check out the following tips to help you begin collating reviews and testimonials:
- Craft a short template query that you can send to prospective readers for their blurb or feedback, but make sure to leave room for a sentence or two that can be personalized. Sincere compliments go a long way. The template should explain explicitly that you are looking for a quote for the book, what you hope to accomplish, and, if the person does not know you personally, introduce yourself briefly but substantively.
- Depending on the volume of queries you intend to disseminate, maintain a spreadsheet that keeps track of the names you are reaching out to and the status of their decision(s). In general, it’s best to spread your net wide, as you will not get responses from everyone. (The net should not be so wide, though, that you begin to move away from the focus of the book.)
- Establish deadlines for yourself and for your reviewer.
- Make sure that the system is as user-friendly as possible for the person you are requesting a testimonial from; send the book to them in whichever format they like, and try to accommodate their needs.
Elements of a Memorable Testimonial
Any testimonial should tell the reader how they will benefit from the book, but being able to illuminate that in a way that pops is a golden ticket to a top-notch testimonial.
Short and succinct blurbs are the best, but don’t be afraid to seek one that’s a bit longer. Having the reviewer explain what they learned is always a good starting point. It is always important to find a balance between substance and style. You want a reader to see a testimonial and actually get information from it, rather than just absorb a glowing review that may be sycophantic in nature.
Brainstorming Questions for the Reviewer
What are some particular pieces of information that they learned, and how relevant are they to the book as a whole? Do they match the themes?
How was the information in the book conveyed, and what makes it different from other books on the market?
Contains specific remarks about the book and/or language that is visual or surprising
- “Ignore this book at your own peril.” -Seth Godin, Rework
- “For those of us who didn’t pursue MBAs – and have the penny-ante salaries to prove it – Sorkin’s book offers a clear, cogent explanation of what happened and why it matters. -Julia Keller, Too Big to Fail
- “Lean In is an inauguration rather than a last word…” -Anna Holmes / “What Sandberg offers is a view that shows twenty-somethings that choices and tradeoffs surely exist, but that the ‘old normal’ of blunting ambition so that can fit in one category or another does not have to be the way it is.” -Gayle Tzemach, Lean In
Lack of specificity, personalization, snappy wordplay
- “This was an inspiring book full of great advice and tips on how to succeed.”
- “A must-have book for all managers and businesspeople.”
- “The best book I’ve read all year!”
With these tips in mind, what are you waiting for? It’s time to go get those well-crafted testimonials! Let us know how it goes by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tagging us on social media @Mascotbooks: