Q: How do you approach authors for a cover blurb and solicit reviews? I have a book coming out soon and, I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m very shy about this.
A: No need to be shy about this, authors are usually honored and flattered to be asked for a blurb. The worst that can happen is they can say no, and that’s really not that bad.
The beauty of the Internet is that even the shyest of people can use email. You will get some ‘nos’ due to time constraints, and you may not hear back from everyone. That’s okay! Ask several authors, and as a general rule expect a reply rate of 1/2 and a ‘yes’ rate of 1/3.
Here’s what I did to land my blurbers, and here’s what I recommend to you:
– Brainstorm a list of 10-12 authors in your genre whose work you really enjoy
– Put them into three lists: achievable (perhaps indie authors whom you consider your peers), ambitious (more famous than yourself), & outrageous (some of the top authors in your genre)
– Start following these people on Twitter, their blogs, facebook page and so on. Share their content and leave interesting, memorable comments. Show an interest in them
– After a few weeks, reach out to them via email or a website contact message. Write a personalized message saying who you are, why you love their work, and why you want them in particular to blurb your book. Be specific. Offer a short overview of your book, but not too much description or detail. Here is the place to write out your “30 second elevator pitch” so that it grabs their attention but doesn’t overwhelm them
– Give them an action step – tell them exactly what you would like from them (a 3 -5 sentence blurb), and be sure to let them know that this is a no-obligation offer, in other words if they don’t like the book they can pass on the blurb
– IF they reply, give them a timeframe (1-3 months is the norm) and ask in what format they would like the book (digital or paper)
– Send them a manuscript or digital copy along with a handwritten thank you note!
Be sure to follow up after your “deadline” has passed. Just a friendly note asking how they are getting on and if they need more time. As you well know, everyone is busy these days! 1 or 2 follow up emails are perfectly acceptable to keep you on their front burner. If you don’t hear back from the follow up emails, let it lie and focus your energies elsewhere.
Best of luck!
Authors, have you been approached by a fellow author and having something to add? Or were you the one doing the approaching with some success? Chime in & share your experience below!
Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book and Fire Up Amazon!
Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she's not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, "yoga-ing" or at a coffee shop in Seattle.