It’s important to get a lot of reviews on your book’s sales page.
But it’s even better to get blurbs from famous authors, or authors of other books.
I’m going to teach you a free and easy secret to getting blurbs for your self-published book.
Are you ready? Here it is:
This isn’t advice I always follow myself. Even though I know a whole bunch of well known authors with big platforms in my genre, including some personal friends and many I’ve met in real life, I still feel uncomfortable asking for favors.
I like to do it all myself. I’m more Thoreau than Dali.
But there’s two things you should know:
1) Giving blurbs is good for them
Although they shouldn’t put their seal of approval or support on just any project (they need to be careful with the trust they’ve built with their followers), in general putting a blurb on another author’s book will bring far more good than harm – it gets their name and the name of their book out to new readers.
Even if you buy a book and don’t like it, you may see the blurb on the book or sales page and think “Who’s that? What’s their book about?” and then go look them up.
Giving blurbs is easy, free marketing and is great for platform building.
2) Blurbs are easy to write
You’re not asking for a book report or a huge, academic book review. A blurb is usually just a sentence or two. They can skim your book and make sure it’s good enough to recommend, and write something catchy and simple in just 5 minutes.
Even if they get a lot of blurb requests, saying yes isn’t a huge time commitment.
There’s no harm in asking
Recently I told a client of mine about a book she might enjoy, that was in a similar genre as her soon-to-be self-published book.
She wrote the author a very short email, saying she liked the book and asking whether they’d consider writing a short blurb. She got a yes and a really excellent blurb (this is a mainstream author, of a very professional popular non-fiction.)
Personally, I was surprised – I wouldn’t have expected a mainstream author to give out a blurb to a self-published book, but maybe that’s outdated thinking.
So my client went from having very little platform and no reviews to getting a blurb from a Big Name Author, that’s going to look great on her book cover.
Who benefits? Both authors.
In my books I talk a lot about building up relationships, not asking for favors, giving and helping far more than asking.
But on the other hand, asking for blurbs is one of those things that is low effort and high payout – the upside far outweighs the downside.
How to do it
You can increase your chance of success by having a great book, having a great website or author platform, and having a great book cover.
However, having no book cover is probably better than having an ugly or homemade book cover.
People are happy to support good looking products, but wary of recommending shoddy looking products.
Make sure your design looks good. OR don’t use any design at all, just email them and send them a very clean, potentially formatted manuscript.
You could email them first, a “query” and ask “I wrote a book about (this)… can I send you the manuscript?” – however almost nobody is going to say “Yes” because of the built in expectations.
Better to just include your manuscript with the first email. Keep it short. Here are some samples:
I just finished reading your book __________and really enjoyed it.
I found a few parallels to the book I’m about to publish, “(name of your book)”, (a short one sentence summary of the book here…).
I have an awesome editor and feel ready for a critical review. Would you consider writing a short blurb for the back cover?
Looking forward to hearing from you,
I’ve been a big fan of yours for a few years, _____ is one of my favorite books, and it (in part) was what inspired and motivated me to keep writing and finish my own book.
My book, “Title: subtitle” is just about ready for publication, has been through professional editing and I’m working with a superb book designer. All that’s missing is a blurb from you on the back cover. 🙂
If you have time to give it a glance and write a short blurb, it’d make my dreams come true. It may be a long shot, but I couldn’t risk not asking. Even if you don’t have time, I just wanted to thank you and let you know how much I’ve appreciated your work.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Be positive, be appreciative, ask for a short review, make it sound easy.
You could let them know when the book will be published (give them a soft deadline, like “I plan to publish Sept. 1st, so it would be great if you could send a blurb before August 15th, but if you can’t get to it by then I can always update the book later.”
Attach the book, write your nice short email, press send.
You may need to ask 10 authors to get one blurb (or maybe you’ll get super lucky and get 9!)
Make a list of your biggest, perfect, “dream list” – the most powerful and well known authors in your field, then work down from there (lesser known authors, authors who haven’t published anything in awhile, other indie authors with big followings, other authors with small followings).
You can also check out www.BLURBTRADE.com to find some books you can give blurbs to.
I’m a philosophy dropout with a PhD in Literature. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write fantasy novels to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles.