How are you ever going to make your book stand out if thousands of titles publish every day? I’ve read that the average person spends 8 seconds looking at the front cover and 15 seconds on the back. The fact of the matter is that good testimonials can, and do, sell books. The reader is looking for a reason to purchase your book. It’s up to you to hook them.
Testimonials are short blurbs, sales pitches, or reviews of a book by people with credible links to the content. Big-name blurbs carry weight and can move books like nothing else. Below are a few tips on how to solicit strong, reliable testimonials for your book.
Send the galleys, or printers’ proofs, to at least four respected professionals in your field for peer review. It is a common practice. Then approach your peer reviewers for testimonials. They’re now familiar with your work and won’t be surprised by the query.
Next, you have two options. You may offer to write the testimonial on behalf of those you have queried. Draft a suggested testimony. Include a cover letter acknowledging their expertise in the field, and that you included the first draft to get them started.
Another possibility is to call the person and use quotes from your conversation to craft a blurb.
Both of these options allow you to draft a strong jumping-off point for your testimonial writers. They’ll come up with something better, make minor changes, or sign off on what you’ve written. Nevertheless, you have a strong blurb that will help to sell your book.
A Few Words of Caution
Like most good things, testimonials are good in moderation. A few on the back cover by prominent players in your field will help sell the book. Three or four pages on the inside, unless the book is an international bestseller, is probably overkill.
Try to reach out to respected peers in your field, but be aware that an author’s name found too often blurbing similar publications may reduce the value of the testimonial for your book. Look for thoughtful readers willing to offer genuine reviews and comments. There’s no point in misleading the reader with a testimonial; everyone knows it’s what’s inside that counts.
While you may try to design and format your book jacket cover text on your own, know that there are professional editors who can do it for you. An experienced professional editor, such as the editors at FirstEditing, will create a professionally written book jacket cover that will capture your audience’s attention. It is short, succinct copy that sends a strong message about your writing.
Originally posted 4/2/2010 and happily updated 11/14/2017. Thanks for reading!