About a month ago I asked a small group of authors, marketers and bloggers if they would endorse my new book, A Self-Publisher’s Companion. I had in mind a number of uses for these testimonials, if I was lucky enough to get them.
At that time, I said that I would use any testimonials in press releases, sales page copy, editorial reviews and articles. However, another use for testimonials is as part of your Media Kit.
By their nature, testimonials and blurbs are from the earliest readers of the finished manuscript. Often they are reading from bound galleys or Advance Reader Copies. Sometimes they are reading months before the book is released to the public.
Because we try to get blurbs from recognized authorities in our niche, from thought leaders and people who influence lots of other people, it makes sense to use them to help position your book in the editor or reviewer’s mind.
This works the same way as quotes on the front or back cover of your book: We hope reviewers will be influenced by a favorable comment from someone they know, just the way a book buyer would be. Testimonials are a form of social proof. If enough other people say something is good, or interesting, or fun to do, we are more likely to try it. Authorities add the weight of their own expertise so the social proof is even stronger.
Using testimonials in your media kit isn’t mandatory. Although it’s a good idea to send a Press Release with your book when you send it for review, adding other elements can make your media kit easier to use. They can also make your book look better.
So far I’ve received testimonials from about a third of the people I asked. About another third indicated that they would write one, or review the book. Two people declined. Interestingly, both of the declines were from people working in traditional publishing.
This whole subject is actually a little difficult for me to write about. It’s fine to explain publicity and promotion, to offer ideas of how to make your book stand out. But when you write something, you invest part of yourself into it, don’t you? Blatantly asking other people for their approval could be seen as kind of an outrageous act.
Writing about it now is even more difficult. For an introverted type, it feels a lot like bragging. I’m reminded of something Jeff Walker says: even if you’re an introvert, if you are marketing, it’s your job to sell yourself, your program or your product. If you have a hard time with that, his advice is: Get over it.
Here’s the “blurb sheet” I made up for my media kit. It contains most of the best testimonials I’ve received, and some were shortened to keep the reader moving. Their sole job in this media kit is to convince reviewers that this is a book they should take a look at.
I used a front cover graphic because the design is an important part of the book’s branding. Next to it is a complete data block with title, author, price, format, release date and ISBN easily available. It’s a good idea to make up a data block like this and use it on many of the elements of your media kit in case the parts become separated.
The layout emphasizes the names of the people quoted, since that’s the main thrust here. “Hot” words are highlighted to draw attention to them. It includes, at the bottom, the branding of my blog along with the blog’s tagline.
As one of the footsoldiers in your campaign to acquire media attention for your book, a blurb sheet like this can really work to your advantage.
If you’d like to take a closer look at this one, here’s a download link:
I’ll show you the other parts of this media kit over the next week or so. If you want to get a lot of readers for your book, you need a lot of eyeballs, and one of the best places to get that attention is in mass media. Reviewers are your gateway to that readership. Your media kit should make their job as easy as possible, and it’s worth putting in the time to make your book look its best when it hits the editor’s desk or inbox.
Photo by jurvetson