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You need to find endorsements

No bookshop believes what first-time authors say about their own book, or, often, what the publisher or the sales rep says.

Most stores in the USA will not consider stocking a copy of the book if there is no decent endorsement.

If you rely on good reviews after the book has come out, it can be too late to get the shops to stock it.

Endorsements are powerful, especially if they are from people that potential readers of your book, or the bookshop buyer in that specialty, are likely to recognize.

Chain-store buyers consider an endorsement from a bestselling author as good as gold and while a consumer may not know all of the authors' names, the right endorsement for a book can make the difference between high sales and low sales.

Rather than thinking of endorsements as a chore, think of it as the start of your engagement with the community, as far as the book goes. There are some key like-minded people who ought to know about your book. Sometimes the process of getting endorsements leads to further co-operation, to talks and seminars, workshops and conferences. It can bring the attention of others in that circle to your book, beyond the endorser. You can get good feedback. It can be worth pursuing them for these reasons after publication as well.

How many endorsements do I need?

Focus on getting up to three or four, good-quality endorsements. You may have to approach double, or more people to secure that amount.

If they are overlong, remember to edit them down to make them immediate and punchy.

Lots of endorsements from people who no one has ever heard of can put off the reader and look desperate.

If you really can't get any endorsements it doesn't mean we're going to cancel the contract but it does suggest we're going to find it hard to sell.

Try for one or two in the UK if you live in the USA and vice versa.

If you have good endorsements from magazines, newspapers etc. for previous books that you have published elsewhere it is worth putting those up too.

I have got a good endorsement. What should I do now?

Add your endorsements to the ENDORSEMENTS section of your Book Details page.

The endorsements you add feed through to our website

Make sure anything you add here is punchy and well-edited.

The text you add here feeds through to the John Hunt Publishing website, and we use it to write your Advance Information (AI) sheet, which we use to promote your book to the trade.

  • Put the “best” or “key” endorsements at the top. You can arrange the order of your endorsements by numbering the "Sort Order" box which you will see at the bottom when in "Edit" mode; order them 1, 2, 3 etc. These will be the “top” endorsements on our website and the first the potential buyer reads.
  • Add your endorsement as one paragraph. If it is a big one edit it down, and don't format it into multiple paragraphs. Endorsements always display on the website in plain text and one paragraph. Don't enclose your endorsements within quotation marks.
  • Write the name of the person who gave the endorsement in the From box. Also write where the reviewer is from, (i.e. which magazine they write for, which organization they belong to, which books they have written).
  • Leave the Source box empty. All the information from the From box feeds automatically into the promotional material we send out to the trade. If you put important information into the Source box, then it won't reach the people who need to see it.

Can you get some endorsements for me?

No. We don't seek endorsements for books ourselves, or give suggestions because we end up overloading the people we know. This one is down to you. We also, as a general rule, do not send free hard copies to people who have kindly provided endorsements. It works much better if you send one yourself, from your free copies or a digital copy, with a personal note.

How do I find endorsements?

Do you have any personal contacts you can ask for an endorsement? Ask!

Do you have any personal contacts who can ask someone else for an endorsement. Ask!

Don't be afraid to cold-call well-known people. They will likely be busy, get many similar requests and may not reply – but some might, particularly if the book is closely related to their concerns and you tailor the letter/email accordingly. So ask!

Look at similar books in your field and see who endorses them. Ask!

When you ask for endorsements, tailor each approach. Skip the flattery, talk their language, write about things they care about.

Can I use endorsements from previous books?

Yes. Of course, we'd rather you use endorsements for the book that is being published, but if it makes sense to use endorsements for your previous books, then you can. Using previous endorsements is not a good way of getting out of looking for new ones.

  • Add the endorsements for previous books to the ENDORSEMENTS section, and make it clear that these are from a different book.
  • Add a note on the Author Stylesheet explaining what you have done, and your requirements.

How to write an email asking for an endorsement

Mention you have a publisher and are set for publication. They are more likely to respond.

Attach your manuscript to the email, unless they ask specifically for a hard copy.

Give them a lead time. As a general guide ask for it within a month, though be flexible and ask the endorser how long would work for them.

Don't pay someone to endorse your book. This is dishonest.

When's the deadline for endorsements?

Ideally, by the time you upload the final manuscript.

Your last chance is when the designer finalizes the proofs after proofreading (2-3 months after you uploaded your manuscript).

Add your endorsements to the front of your manuscript as well.

They will be included in the preliminary pages of your book.

When will my endorsements appear on the website?

Once your publication date is set, when your text and cover files are ready.

They will only appear on the website if you have added them to the ENDORSEMENTS section of your Book Details page.

What happens if I get an endorsement after the final files for my book are finished?

Add them to the ENDORSEMENTS section of your Book Details page. They will still appear on the website.

Let us know if they are highly significant (famous names of international renown, etc.) and we can update our sales reps and the worldwide trade databases.

Will you send free copies of my book to endorsers?

No, sorry.

Send them one of your free copies, with a personal note. It works much better.

Also ask your endorser to post their comments post-publication as a review on Amazon and any other online retailers.