In Part 1 of this post last week, we started our discussion on finding book endorsements, which included when to go after them and how to pitch the endorsers you’ve chosen. Today, let’s find out the kind of endorsements you should be after for your particular book as well as how to contact the people you need.
While it may be fun to have an endorsement from your favorite sports star or Hollywood celebrity, it’s more important to find someone who is relevant to your book, or in other words, someone whom your audience will care about and know. You don’t necessarily have to focus only on those who are experts in the area you’re writing about, but you do want people who are related to that arena in some way–either authors themselves, especially if they have written books on your subject; speakers or seminar leaders; executives in relevant companies or organizations; or even professors from large universities.
If you’re writing a business book, for example, find those bigger names who may cut across various areas of business in order to help expand your audience. Just because your book is on marketing doesn’t mean that every endorser has to be from the field of marketing. If you’re able to find a big-name celebrity who can also add relevance to your book–go for it!
Now, how to reach these people….
First, see whom you already know who may know the person you need to reach. Your chances of contacting, and securing endorsers will greatly improve if you can reach them through a mutual source. Think of common organizations, publishers, agents, friends, or work associates–anyone whom you can begin networking with to help you bridge the gap between you and your endorser.
If that approach falls short, and depending on the line of work your endorser is in, you may need to use various methods to reach him. If you’re seeking out an author, often that person has provided some sort of contact information–perhaps a website or blog address–right in their books. If not, you can contact the author’s publisher or agent, letting them know what you are after, and they can provide contact information to you.
If you’re seeking out an executive at a corporation or non-profit organization, the company’s contact information is readily available online or with a simple phone call. You’re sure to end up reaching an assistant or administrator of some sort, but briefly describing what you’re after should enable you to secure an email address for the person you need. At the very least, you can leave your contact information, and if the person doesn’t get in touch with you, follow up with the same administrator after a couple of weeks.
The celebrity names will pose your greatest challenge, and while I have never had to attempt to reach a celebrity, I have heard from others who have that it really wasn’t as tough as they thought. Many simply used Google or another search engine and input the name of the person they were looking for. From there, they tracked down either that person’s agent or an assistant. From there it was hit or miss. Some freely gave out contact information; others were more guarded. But when the author fully explained the purpose of getting in touch with the celebrity and offered to be brief, valuing that person’s time, in nearly every case, an email address was given out. Granted, this was usually not the person’s personal email, but an address that did, in fact, ultimately make its way to the celebrity.
The bigger the name, the more of a Plan B you need to make them. Don’t count on them to have time to read your book, or even if they do, to get back to you with an endorsement in a timely manner. Make sure you have several others as back-ups you can use, just in case.
One more tip is to set reasonable deadlines for when you need your endorsements back. If you don’t, your endorsers will assume there’s no hurry, and it may be months before you hear from them. It’s okay to follow up if it’s after the deadline you’ve given and you still haven’t heard anything. But only follow up once, and be sure to be respectful when you do.