Friday, January 27, 2012

What is a REAL EBook?

So when will we start to see REAL ebooks appear on the market? You know the ebooks that take advantage of their digital environment. Ebooks that have been rendered to improve the reader’s ebook experience. As the number of ebook devices explodes into the book reader’s world, the readers are going to expect more. This statement is especially true with the younger generation whose world seems to center around instant access.

I just completed a study of twenty newly released ebooks just to see how far the art of ebook publishing has advanced in the last year. I choose ebooks from well-known authors, from self-publishing authors, some novels, some technical books. I wanted a variety for my study. I would like to share my observations and suggestions for their improvement.
My contention is that REAL ebooks should be a different product than their paper counterparts. They should be formatted differently; sections arranged differently and in some cases they should have different covers. In short, to be a REAL ebook, they should not be just a copy of the traditional book version.
The following is a list of certain areas that I feel need improvement; areas that you must consider when you create your ebook.

REAL ebooks Links

Rendering your ebook with links is a major step in the right direction in creating a REAL book. What items MUST have links?
  1. The Table of Contents must have links to the chapter headings. Most are doing this now.
  2. Author’s References—the ebook must include links to the author’s website, email address, blogs, online profiles and social networking connections (Facebook/Twitter). You need this to get your reader/audience involved.
  3. Author’s Other Books—there should be links to the buy pages for other books created by the author. Why miss this marketing opportunity.

    For example, in my study two of the ebooks were written by top 10 authors and published by traditional publishers. Both had a list of their other titles, provided credits for the book creation and the usual publisher information. Neither used links to assist the reader in buying other titles or helping their co-developers secure new business. One did have a link to the publisher’s web site. There was no links to the author’s website, blog, email address or social network information.
  4. In book links—the REAL ebook should have links in the content to footnotes (held in appendix), to word and term definitions and to references. For example, one project I recently worked on was a pictorial about Omaha Beach with over 50 original pictures inserted in the content. With the picture, its title and the picture credits, the content became very difficult to read. The solution was to have a link from the picture title to the picture’s credits in the back of the ebook. If the reader wanted to check out the source they could follow the link and then hit the back key on the ebook device. If the reader didn’t, they could ignore the link and continue without interrupting the reading experience.

Another example in my survey was a technical book about the publishing industry. It was a well written book with lots of good information and references. But there were no links. None! It contained lots of hard coded website addresses and email contact information. All I had to do was re-enter the URL into my web browser and I could find the source.
Actually this is a missed opportunity. One of the problems that traditional books have that REAL ebooks can solve is the maintenance of links in the books. As we know we live in an ever changing world. Web and email addresses change on a daily basis, it seems. So there I am with a link to some interesting information and the link is no good. A broken link, if you will.
If the REAL ebook is managed properly, you can avoid or limit this problem. You can create an online directory of links for your ebook. Then you setup a link monitoring process and a link maintenance routine and maintain a valid list of links in the directory. I call this the Goodlinks concept. Just include a link to the online directory in your ebook and you won’t lose your audience.
In fact you can draw the reader to your site and market other products and services. Of course, the beauty of the REAL ebook is you can republish it at any time with the updated links and information.
I believe the REAL ebook can help solve the read-back problems that all readers are faced with at one time or another. I watched a reader the other day try to deal with a novel that was riddled with acronyms and abbreviations. It was getting to be such a problem that half way through the ebook, she actually started writing them down on a separate piece of paper to reference later. Here is an example. “He called USAMRIID for advice.” I give up.

Other Considerations to Ponder

Sometimes the traditional book cover doesn’t work for the ebook. In this case, size does matter. That great book cover that you had designed is going to go small. On-line distributors try to catch the eye of would-be readers with thumbnail covers. The problem is that sometimes colors get in the way, the type size and face doesn’t look good small and the art gets distorted. A professional designer can solve this problem. You need one that can make the cover work in both environments. Check with our host for this site, Joel Friedlander.
One of the other cover issues is with the effort to get the prospective reader to view a sample of the ebook; some distributors will put a label over the right hand corner of the thumbnail which obscures that portion of the cover. A good designed cover will keep important information viewable like the author’s name or even the title of the book. I saw that in my study.
REAL ebooks should include, with their copyright notice, the page number source document for the ebook, especially if the book has various editions. This is relatively a new process but it helps readers coordinate content between the paper version and ebook. This is increasingly important in the educational environment. Students using both hardbound and the ebook versions need a reference point sometimes.
One of the current ebook marketing strategies is to allow the prospective reader to read a sample of the ebook before buying. All distributors seem to go at this sample process differently but at the end of the day they want to provide the prospective buyer with something that can help with the buying decision. Most of them use a percentage basis.
The REAL ebook concept can help with this process but there has to be a rearranging of the book’s sections if the process is automated like most of them are.
Let me start with an example. I reviewed the buy page on Amazon for each book in my study. I choose one ebook in my study and downloaded the sample, comparing it to the full length version. Here’s what I found.
The ebook sample was in the same section sequence as the paper version. I know there is a traditional way to setup a book. This sample was no exception. It started with the cover followed by the title page, the table of contents, the dedication, the copyright page and a list of the writer’s other works.
So you ask what’s wrong with this. If this sample was going to help sell my ebook, it probably failed. The sample was 80 device pages long but the viewer had to page through 24 pages before they could start reading the book to make a decision.
I believe if you are going to use the sample as a sales tool, there are some slight changes you can make. I would include the cover and the title page with an abbreviated TOC up front along with the author’s other books with buy links. Also I would include upfront the author’s website and contact information. Move the copyright page, dedications and credits to the end of the ebook.
If you get to setup your own sample, keep this in mind. REAL ebooks and their samples should give the prospect what they need to make a decision and only that. A sample doesn’t need a complete table of content. This ebook had 80 chapters which took up four complete device pages and the kicker was; the links to the last 76 chapters were no good. Make the sample simple. Get the reader to your content as quickly as possible.

Bring on the REAL ebook

In most cases, ebooks are still just copies of the paper version but there is a huge opportunity to improve the ebook reading experience. Creative book design and digital links can help us move the ebook experience forward in acceptance.
Currently we have a problem. Let’s face it. Until traditional publishers start to treat ebooks as separate products with different properties and requirements, we have not taken advantage of the digital product. Their approach is simple but self-serving. Get it out the door. Get the copy into an ebook format, charge a higher price than needed and watch the money fall to their bottom line.
The advantage should go to the self-publisher because they control the process. They have the ability to correct the problems easily and make something really special.
Seek a professional to help you through the process if you’re really serious about marketing your ebook.
What do you think about the REAL ebook concept? Is adding links to an already completed product just too much work or would it move your book to the leading edge of ebook world and improve the readers enjoyment?
James-MoushonJames Moushon helped lead the startup of the electronic forms industry in the creation, conversion and usage of electronic forms, working with over 200 companies and organizations. In 2003 he changed his focus to ebooks and their development. He is also the author of the thriller Call Off the Dogs, and he blogs at The eBook Author’s Corner

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A True Treasure--Crossing the Bridge of Sighs by Susan Ashley Michael

Customer Review

Buy This Book!
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Treasure !January 26, 2012
This review is from: Crossing the Bridge of Sighs (Paperback)
Crossing The Bridge of Sighs is a delight-a joy to read that stays with you long after you close the book! If you've ever visited or wanted to visit Venice, this book will remind you of all the treasures this floating city offers.

"Life is just a bowl of Baci" is a phrase that Susan Ashley Michael developed for the book, but one which has become a part of my thoughts and speech, and one that takes me back to this indelible story again and again.

Claire endures all the events of life that we wish never to endure, and emerges more charming, more a heroine, for tackling the prunes and pits that life throws her way.

This is a MUST READ!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

ISBNs, Ebooks, and Bowker--what you need to know!

Andy, a lot of new self-publishers, coming into this side of the business for the first time, are surprised at the cost of ISBNs for their books. It’s been pointed out that the spread between the high price—1 ISBN for $125—and the low price—$1.00 each in quantities of 5,000—is remarkably big. Can you explain for my readers exactly what it is they are buying when they receive that 13-digit number, and why it costs so much?

First, I want to clarify the options and pricing structure for ISBN numbers which changed at the beginning of the year, reflecting up to a 50% price reduction for most units compared to previous years.
  • Single ISBNs costs $125.00
  • A 10-block of ISBNs costs $250.00 ($25.00 per unit)
  • A 100-block of ISBNs costs $575.00 ($5.75 per unit)
  • A 1,000 block of ISBNs costs $1,000.00 ($1.00 per unit)
  • Larger blocks (10K, 100K) are available as part of a more detailed inventory review.
All of the above options include:
  • Assignment of the numbers to the publisher and instant access to manage them at
  • Publisher and ISBN registration in the Publisher Authority Database which supports the International ISBN Agency Publishers International Information Database
  • Free access to to create and manage bibliographic meta-data records for each ISBN which are quality checked and incorporated in Bowker’s Books in Print database
    This database is a collection development and database of record for thousands of major and independent retailers (including Barnes & Noble and Borders), thousands of libraries and several major search engines, social networks and mobile channels.
  • All ISBNs and core components of meta-data records are now incorporated in Bookwire ( as “Title Cards” which are web pages and part of a search-optimized title discovery index.
All of the above services are provided for a one-time fee at purchase. The ISBN ensures that publishers and their titles can be discovered and play a pivotal role in cataloging, discoverability and trading as part of catalogues, point-of-sale systems, etc. and ensure that a title and/or a format of a particular title are unambigously identified no matter where it is found. An appropriate analogy would be domain names which are purchased and renewed annually for additional fees, except ISBNs never need to be “renewed” for any cost. Similarly to domains, ISBNs purchased on volume basis carry discounts as volumes increase.
Another issue that’s very confusing for self-publishers and small independent publishers is the use of ISBN with ebooks. With as many as 9 or more formats available, people are unsure how to assign ISBN and whether every single format requires it’s own ISBN which, for some, is a pretty big expense. What does Bowker recommend?
Bowker shares the view of the International ISBN Agency; e-book formats should be assigned separate ISBNs, especially where trading models involve multiple partners. There will, however, be instances of compressed supply chains where an e-book in a particular format is available exclusively through a single channel (e.g. Kindle). In those circumstances there is no requirement for an ISBN, unless the publisher needs it for control purposes. (A simple guiding principle is that a product needs a separate identifier if the supply chain needs to identify it separately). The assignment of separate ISBNs to each format ensures that the e-book ordered is the correct one for the user‟ e-reader device and/or software platform, it facilitates electronic trading of e-books, particularly where multiple formats are sold through the same channel. For example, without unique product identification, a retailer or library wishing to order specific formats would have to add various additional metadata fields that would require extra processing by each link in the supply chain, it enables product level reporting of sales and usage and facilitates management of e-book products by publishers, and provides a well-proven global system that is simple to use and involves no new integration work to fit into existing systems. This position paper might also be helpful as a point of reference: ISBN E-Book Paper, Feburary 2010

If you love a book to help....

If You Love a Book Author and Want to Help Her ...

36 Ways to Help a Book Author You Love

Eileen Flanagan, author of The Wisdom to Know the Difference, wrote a blog post about a year ago telling friends of book authors how they could help the author sell more books. You can read her blog post here:
I thought I'd include some of the highlights of her help list, add my own comments, and provide many more ways that friends can help book authors to sell more books.
If you have a friend who is a book author, please use these suggestions to help them out. If you are a book author, please share this page with your friends (so they can help you out).
1. Buy your friend's book. Encourage other friends to buy the book. Go to your local library or bookstore and encourage them to buy the book. Buy books as gifts.
2. Don't put off buying the book. Don't wait for the holidays to buy the book as a gift. First, the sooner you buy, the more confidence you'll inspire in your friend. Second, media and other decision makers pick up on a book based on the momentum the book inspires. The more sales at the beginning of the book's life, the more attention it will get from key decision makers, the media, and consumers.
3. Where should you buy the book? First choice: the indie bookstore nearest you (that will help your friend get her book into that store on a regular basis). Second choice: a chain bookstore like Borders or Barnes & Noble (if they start selling the book locally, they might buy books for more stores in the chain). Third choice: the author's website (the author makes the most money when selling direct). Fourth choice: buy direct from the author. Fifth choice: Buy from (preferably from the link on the author's website).
4. Recommend your friend's book. If you like the book, recommend it to friends. Blog about it. Tweet a review or mention. Share a note on Facebook. Recommend the book to your book group. Review her book on,, GoodReads, Library Thing, and other reader social networks.
5. Tell your friend what you like about the book. Provide your friend with support by telling him something you like about his book. Was it a good read? Did it move you to tears or laughter? Did you learn something new?
6. Help your friend get speaking engagements. If your friend is comfortable speaking, recommend your friend to your Rotary Club, Jaycees, church, Friends of the Library, bookseller, garden club, school, etc.
7. Recommend your friend's website. Link to it from your website, blog, Facebook page, etc. Tweet about it. When your friend writes a blog post, link to it. If your friend tweets something great, retweet it. Feature a quote from your friend's book on your website. Or tweet the quote.
8. Create a Wikipedia page for your friend. While authors can't create their own Wikipedia page, other people can. Every book author deserves a Wikipedia page, since a published book grants the author at least a modicum of fame. On the Wikipedia page, feature a short bio, a bibliography, a link to the author's website.
9. Help your friend with the media. If you know of any newspaper editors or reporters, magazine editors, radio producers or hosts, TV show hosts or producers, columnists, bloggers, etc., send them a copy of the book or a note about the author. Or tell your friend about your connection, and introduce her to your contacts.
10. Pray. Prayer always helps. Pray for your friend and his book. If you're not into prayer, ask your favorite tree to help.
11. Ask. Ask your friend how you can help her. You may have some talent, connection, specialized knowledge, etc. that might be just the thing she needs. Or they might just need some of your time to help pack and ship some books or make a few phone calls.
12. Do a video review of the book and post it on YouTube and other video sharing websites.
13. Help your friend make some videos for the book. Every author needs a cameraperson, a scriptwriter, a producer. Again, share on YouTube and othervideo sharing websites.
14. Look for specialty retailers. As you drive around your own hometown or a nearby larger city, keep on the lookout for specialty retailers that might be interested in selling your friend's books. Cookbooks in gourmet shows, do-it-yourself books in hardware stores, children's books in toy stores, art or history books at museum shops. Make the contacts yourself or pass them on to your friend to follow up.
15. Look for other sales venues. If your friend's book is about retirement, check out accountants, tax lawyers, etc. who might be interested in buying copies to give to their clients. Health books, children's books, and cookbooks might interest doctor and dentist offices. Health clubs might be interested in exercise or diet books. Again, make the contacts yourself or pass them on to your friend to follow up.
16. Suggest catalogs, associations, and other special sales opportunities. If you receive mail order catalogs that feature books like your friend's book, tell her abour the catalog. The same with associations, groups, corporations, etc. that might be interested in buying bulk copies of your friend's book.
17. Help them sell rights. If your friend's novel would make a great movie and you have a connection to an A-list actor or producer who might be interested in making the movie, introduce your friend to your connection. The same with TV producers, audio publishers, agents, etc.
18. Be a mentor. Provide feedback on your friend's marketing ideas, book proposals, news releases, book covers, etc. Share your experience, if you have any, on marketing, writing, publishing, printing, design, etc.
19. Form a mastermind group. Create a group of five or so knowledgeable people who can help your friend with the writing, publishing, or marketing of his or her book. You can meet regularly (at least once a month) live, via phone calls, or via online webinars.
20. Write a testimonial. Or write an introduction to the book. Blurb it (give a great selling quote that can go on the back cover of the book).
21. Social network for your friend. Tweet about your friend's book. Retweet his tweets. Engage in a conversation with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Write comments on your friend's blog. Interaction and activity increase any person's visibility on the Internet and the search engines.
22. Champion your friend's book. When you visit bookstores, make sure they have your friend's book in stock. If they do, then put the book face out on the bookshelf.
23. Seed your friend's book. If you can afford to buy a few extra copies, start leaving them around town. Leave a copy on the bus. Donate a copy to the library. Leave a copy in a waiting room. Every additional book out in the world helps to generate exposure for your friend's book while also increasing the word-of-mouth about the book.
24. Host your friend. If your friend wants to do a book tour and you live in a city he wants to visit, offer to put him up at your home. Drive her around town to her media appearances and book events. Pick him up at the airport. Take him back afterwards. Do whatever you can to make their book tour in your town the best ever. You can, of course, also help her set up a tour in your town, with media interviews and author events.
25. Recommend your friend's book to your reading group. If you belong to a reading group, suggest your friend's book as part of your reading program. Or at least tell your reading group about the book.
26. Sell their books at your events. If you speak, do seminars, or display at trade shows or fairs, offer to sell your friend's book along with your book, crafts, tapes, or whatever you sell.
27. Reciprocal link. Set up links from your websites to your friend's book or author website. Better yet, create a special page recommending your friend's book or speeches and then link to his or her website.
28. Interview them. If you host an Internet radio show, podcast, or teleseminar series, interview your friend.
29. Create other products. Help your author friend generate other products to sell. Interview them for a CD or DVD product. Create a joint webinar. Compile a collection of articles written by your friend and other friends.
30. Add their blog to your blogroll. If you write a blog, add your friend's blog to your blogroll. It's a simple thing to do, but another link is added notice to the search engines that the writer's blog is important.
31. Blog about your friend or her book. Post an article about the book, a review of the book, etc.
32. Interview your friend on your blog. An author interview is one of the best ways to introduce a new book author to a wider audience - even if your blog has a small audience. Every added audience provides impetus to growing awareness of the author's website, book, and brand.
33. Host a blog tour visit from your friend. Volunteer to me one of the host blogs on your friend's Mega Blog Tour.
34. Share their book in the literary social media such as Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing.
35. Help out on Amazon is the big kahuna of book sellers, especially when it comes to ebooks, so helping an author get found on there can give them a big boost.
You can certainly do these things on other bookstore sites as well (nothing against copying and pasting a review, for example), but Amazon tends to have more cool features to help an author get found.
Here's the list (any one of these things can help):
  • Write a review on Amazon, even if the book already has quite a few and/or you've reviewed it elsewhere. There's evidence that ratings and reviews factor into the Amazon algorithms that decide which books are promoted on the site (i.e. certain books are recommended to customers who bought books in similar genres). If reviewing isn't your bag, don't worry about writing paragraphs-long in-depth studies of the book; maybe you could just pen a few sentences with a couple of specifics about why you liked the book.
  • Tag the book with genre-appropriate labels (i.e. thriller, steampunk, paranormal romance). You don't have to leave a review to do this; you just need an account at Amazon. A combination of the right tags and a good sales ranking can make a book come up when customers search for that type of story on Amazon.
  • Give the book a thumbs up. This takes less than a second and probably doesn't do much, but it may play into Amazon's algorithms to a lesser extent than reviews/ratings.
  • Make a Listmania List and add your favorite authors’ books to it. This creates another avenue for new readers to find books. It's better to create lists around similar types of books (i.e. genres or sub-genres) than to do a smorgasbord, and consider titling it something description so folks will be more inclined to check it out, ie. “Fun heroic fantasy ebooks for $5 or less.”
  • If you have a Kindle, highlight and share some wise or fun quotations from the boo. If enough people share their highlights, they’ll show up at the bottom of a book’s page.
The above suggestions are excerpted from an original blog post by Lindsay Buroker.
36. Buy your friend a copy of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. Okay, this is a little selfish on my part, but your friend will love the gift and gain incredible value from reading the book and acting on all the ideas in the book.
You can order the book at or via this website.

If you like the above article, you'll also like the following 2 blog posts as well.

Book Marketing Tips
Last week I had a chance to sit down with John Kremer and have a chat about book marketing.
I don’t think John needs much of an introduction, but for those new to the indie publishing scene, you really ought to get to know him and what he has to offer indie authors.
John is the owner of Open Horizons publishing in New Mexico and his website, is the largest collection of marketing advice for indie authors anywhere online.
John is the author of several books including the classic 1001 Ways to Market Your Book, and he runs The Book Marketing Network, a social media site with a membership of over 7,000 authors, self-publishers and others involved in writing, producing and marketing books.
I was curious to see what John thinks are the best practices for authors who are marketing today, and he really delivered. This video is full of actionable advice, tips and ideas from a man who has been studying and practicing book marketing for over 25 years.
Here’s the interview

click on the link ot see the video!

Monday, January 23, 2012

How to Get Blurbs for your book!

One way enterprising authors can level the playing field for their book marketing is to enlist the help of better-known, more-established figures in their field.
How do you do that? By getting people to read (or scan) your book and supply a positive comment you can use in your book promotion. These promotional quotes have many uses, whether you call them testimonials, blurbs, or something else.
Before we go into how to get these testimonials, let’s take a look at why they work.

How Testimonials Help Sell Books

The power of testimonials varies depending on:
  1. the kind of book you are publishing
  2. the specific niche into which you hope to sell it, and
  3. the influence of the people who are giving the testimonials.
Two important elements that affect the effectiveness of your testimonials are social proof and congruence. Let’s look at each one.
Social Proof
A lot of the influence of testimonials comes through the persuasive effect of what’s called “social proof.” In an ambiguous situation, the influence of what other people are doing can determine how we react.
For instance, in considering a book in which you might be interested, if you notice that every authority in the field has recommended the book, that’s a powerful form of social proof in your decision whether or not to buy the book.
The Congruence Test
Testimonials also exercise another persuasive effect through the perceived authority of the person giving the quote. So if you have a book on how to throw the perfect pass in football, a testimonial from Aaron Rogers, the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, last year’s championship team, will carry a lot of influence.
But a mistake authors often make, in my experience, is assuming that authority in one field will carry over to other fields. If Aaron Rogers gives me a testimonial for a book on getting rid of garden pests, who cares? Rogers has no authority in the field of pest control (that I know of) so this testimonial would fail the test of congruence—there’s no connection between his field of authority and the subject of the book.
Authors fall into this trap in different ways, but the most common one I hear is something like this: “Well, Aaron used to babysit for my sister and said he’d be happy to help out any way he could, so I thought it would be great if someone as famous as him says good things about my garden pest book. I mean, millions of people love the guy, how could it hurt?”
My advice would be to resist this temptation and wait for your football book to be ready before you appeal to Aaron Rogers for a blurb. It’s important here to realize the difference between the kind of celebrity testimonials you see on TV and targeted book promotion. Aaron might be able to sell Cadillacs for the local dealer. After all, Cadillacs are the same no matter which dealer you buy them from, so Aaron’s testimony that “Charlie’s Caddys is the best place to shop!” could carry some weight.
But if your book presents you as an expert in the field, you are selling something quite different and unique. Here, people really care about whether you know your stuff, and no amount of testimony from an unrelated, non-expert, non-authoritative source is going to help.
Okay, now we’re ready to look at how to get this done for your book.

Getting Testimonials: A 3-Step Process

In order to streamline your efforts at getting blurbs for your book, I’ve condensed this process into three pretty simple steps.
1. Identify Your Targets
This is a very important part of the process, and here’s where you have to really stretch yourself the most. What I mean is that you are going to want to “shoot for the stars” and try to get the very best quotes you can from the people who are at the top of the mountain in terms of notoriety and influence over the people you’ve identified as potential buyers of your book.
It’s super important here to rigorously apply the law of congruence we talked about before. You have to know who your readers are and who influences them. That’s much more important than whether they are “famous” or on TV or a friend of the family.
But don’t hold back. Spend a few minutes fantasizing about the “perfect” blurb, the one that might really change the sales of your book, and what it would look like on the cover of your book or in the first paragraph of your press release. Then go for it, and include those people in your campaign.
In this step, you’ll also need to get the email or regular mail addresses for the people on your list. And don’t limit the number of people you ask. Get your list together and plan on approaching every one of them.
2. Send a Well-Crafted Query
Your query letter will make or break your testimonial campaign, so it’s important to spend time on it. Here are some tips to remember as you draft and review it.
  • Keep it short. It’s likely that the people you are querying are pretty busy. If you send a four-page letter explaining your book and marketing in detail, many people won’t even have time to read it. So how short should it be? As short as possible to still get the job done, but in no case should you go more than one page.
  • Introduce yourself. If the people you are writing to don’t know you, you’ll need to include some information on who you are and why you’re qualified to write your book. However, no one wants to read a resume or long list of accomplishments; that’s boring and will put people off if you include it at the beginning of your query.
  • Why is it important? Tell in a sentence or two what you hope to accomplish with your book and why other people should care.
  • Connect to a common cause. This is crucial. Try to establish a commonality between yourself and the person you are querying. For instance, if their last book is on a similar subject, point out that you are both trying to educate people on these issues. It’s also important here to mention whether the person’s work is noted in your book, or if they or their works are quoted, and where.
  • Be specific about what you want. You need to include in your query exactly what you’re looking for and what you intend to do with it. For instance, you might say “If you enjoy the book, would you give me a quote I can use in my book promotion?” Don’t forget to mention that you may edit the responses for length, since some authors will send you much more material than you can reasonably use.
  • Set a deadline. You will get far more responses if you set a deadline, and this is quite common in publishing where we’re trying to meet publication day deadlines. You can say something like, “It would help tremendously to have your response by February 1, but of course I would be grateful for any responses that come in after that if your schedule doesn’t allow you to meet that date.”
  • Make it easy. Don’t send your book with the query letter, but do offer it in whichever formats you have available. If you are doing a print or print on-demand book, offer the printed copy as well as a PDF. If you have an eBook version, offer that as well. I particularly like PDFs and use them extensively because they look just like the printed book but can be delivered instantly.
  • Leave options open. Be aware that there may be reasons a particular person won’t blurb your book, and that’s just the way it is. Don’t take it personally, since the person may just be very busy, on a deadline of their own, traveling, or the brother-in-law of your biggest competitor. You never know, but the idea is to invite enough people that you’ll end up with some really great testimonials even if a number of people don’t respond.

3. Follow Up

About a week before your deadline, send a very gentle reminder to people who have agreed to review the book but who haven’t yet responded.
Even more important, when someone sends you a blurb you can use, make sure to thank them. This simple step, often overlooked, can help ease your way when you want to do more promotion or you’re ready to promote your next book.
Another way to show the people who blurbed you that you really appreciate their help is to send them a copy of the finished book with another thank you note.
Being able to issue your book with the strong recommendation of a host of experts and authority figures in your field will give your book a boost in many ways. So shoot for the stars, and give your book the help it deserves by getting the best testimonials you can.