Great news. Your book is almost ready to see the light of day. After months of sentence re-construction, scene revisions, and subtle changes in wording, all the hard work is behind you—almost. You have one hurdle left to climb.
You need to ask people to blurb your book.
You’d rather clean out the kitty litter for the third time this week.
I get it. As writers, so many of us are reluctant to ask for help, especially when it comes to self-promotion. We don’t want to inconvenience anyone, or pressure them into reading our work. We are shy and we are fearful of rejection. But, we know that once we overcome this embarrassment, we will be one step closer to our ultimate goal: seeing our book out on the shelf.
Here’s how you might ask people to blurb your book, based on lessons I learned writing (and seeking blurbs for) I Wanted Fries With That.
1. Understand the Numbers
You need three to five blurbs for the book cover. Let’s assume that about half the people will say yes. This means that you should plan on asking at least ten people to start. The wider the net you cast, the less a “no” will sting. If you end up with too many “yeses”, you can choose some of the copy to go inside the book or on your website. It’s better to have too many than too few, so assume from the beginning that you’re going to have to ask more people than you need.
2. Build Your Muscle
Start with people who are likely to say yes. Do you have a friend who’s a published author? Even if she writes nonfiction and your book is a thriller, she may be willing to give you a quote you can use. Think of writing teachers you know, or people you took a workshop with that might be interested in helping you out. Ask the people you know first so you can get used to what it’s like to pitch.
3. Works Both Ways
People outside the publishing industry might be interested in blurbing your book to increase their name recognition or the legitimacy of their own brands. You may want to frame the ask as an opportunity, for example, “My novel takes place in a universe ruled by Australian finger fruit. As founder of the Exotic Fruit Grower Association, I’m wondering if you would be interested in providing a blurb for my book.”
4. Connect the Dots
Before you reach out to a complete stranger, try to warm up your cold call. If you can get a mutual acquaintance to introduce you, that should be first choice. If not, learn what you can about the person. If they’re an author, read their work. Listen to their interviews or podcasts. Look for something you have in common.
Your email should highlight the connection, for example, “I loved your nonfiction book about the history of in-car cup holders. I have always been intrigued by modifications in the automobile industry, and my book is about the evolution of the self-driving car. I’m hoping you would be interested in reading my book, and possibly writing a blurb for the cover.”
5. The Dream Ask
Sure, it’s a long shot, but go ahead—you have nothing to lose. In fact, I would mention that in your pitch, as follows: “I have been a huge fan of yours since I read your graphic novel, Chain Link Fence. I know you have a new series coming out, and you are busy with your podcast, but I thought I owe it to myself to at least ask—would you be willing to take a look at my work and give me a quote for the cover?” Prepare yourself that you might get a no, or you may never receive a response, but at least you won’t lie awake wondering what could have been.
In conclusion, there is no way to get what you want if you don’t at least ask for it. While it can be sometimes uncomfortable or embarrassing to ask people to blurb your book, it is even more uncomfortable or embarrassing to put a naked book out into the world. Keep your eyes on the end goal, and stay focused. I have faith in you.
Did you enjoy this blog on how to ask people to blurb your book? You might also dig these posts for writers.