Book Launch Media Kit—Using Your Testimonials

by Joel Friedlander on March 18, 2011 · 14 comments

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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.

Advance Praise

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.

Getting Lucky

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.

A-Self-Publishers-Companion-Blurbs

Click to enlarge.

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:

A Self-Publisher’s Companion Media Kit Blurb Sheet

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

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    { 13 comments… read them below or add one }

    Roemer McPhee March 18, 2011 at 4:16 am

    Such a very useful post today, Joel. I particularly like your point about getting over introversion ( or any other obstacle) and doing things right. It has to be done.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Roemer, so many writers are introverts (not too surprising) that I’m constantly getting the “But I don’t like to market, do I have to?” question from authors. The key is to approach it like it’s your job, where you often have to do things you would not have chosen to do, but they have to get done anyway.

    Reply

    Victoria Mixon March 18, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I swear, Joel, your blog is the most helpful blog on self-publishing I know. I find myself forwarding so many of these posts to my ‘publisher’ sys admin husband. Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge, particularly about self-marketing. Myself, I’m simply clueless about that end of things.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Victoria, I take that as high praise coming from you. I’ve also struggled with the marketing end, but the more I do it, the more I’ve grown to enjoy it. It’s a completely different challenge than the one we face staring at the blank screen. Thanks for your support.

    Reply

    Keri Knutson March 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I just found your website recently, and I have to compliment you on the great stuff here. Friends and I just started a new blog to live-time chronical our foray into self-publishing and we’ve picked your blog as our inaugural Blog of the Week. Keep up the great work. We’ll be regular readers!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Keri, thanks so much for the link, I really appreciate it. As you post more articles, you might think about submitting to our blog carnival which is focused on self-publishing:
    Self-Publishing: The Carnival of the Indies
    I’m sure readers would like to follow your journey.
    By the way, is that handsome Boston Terrier yours? We have two.

    Reply

    Keri Knutson March 18, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks, Joel. As soon as we’re good and anchored over the coming weeks, I’ll certainly do that.

    Reply

    Keri Knutson March 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Unfortunately not my dog, although I do have a rather charming half-Boston who is brindle. Love the breed though; they are wonderful dogs.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Okay, Keri, I take no responsibility for this, but here’s a photo of one of ours, Ozzy, in his youth:

    Ozzy

    Keri Knutson March 18, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    OMG, that is an overload of cute! Makes me want to smooch his little nose.

    Reply

    Michael Selmer November 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks for all the useful information your blog provides. I had both a publisher and an agent. Then I discovered that all agents and publishers are not created equal. I was lucky enough to get out of a bad situation and now I am self-publishing. This requires a crash course in marketing and sites like yours are a blessing.

    Reply

    Alice Stelzer March 25, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Joel, I’ve followed you on Twitter and read your blogs for some time. This blog gives very good information. Even though I’ve been a marketing consultant, I’m confused about how and when to get blurbs for my first book, Female Adventurers.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Alice, thanks for that, much appreciated. This is a critical question for nonfiction authors, and I’ve written about it here: How to Get Testimonials for Your Self-Published Book.

    This is also a pretty big topic in my training course, The Self-Publishing Roadmap, where one participant told me she thought the lesson on doing this was worth the entire cost of the course.

    Reply

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