Good question, Mark, thanks for asking.
The quotes you see on the backs of books come from two sources. Most are blurbs - short recommendations written specifically for the cover. Others are excerpts from reviews. I first learned about blurbs in Austin Camacho's marketing text. I recommend you find a marketing book for writers that will work for you. Many exist.
How do you acquire blurbs for your book? The short answer is you ask for them. I know this is not an easy thing for many writers to do, but it is a necessary part of our business. If you are not comfortable writing request letters, find a friend who is and ask for help.
When deciding whom to ask for a blurb, consider your target market. What name (or title) would your readers recognize as an expert? Fiction writers often turn to other writers in their genre. Non-fiction writers are more likely to look for recognized experts in their field. If your target audience includes victims of natural disasters, you might go in two directions - ask recognized experts (news media, government officials, social scientists) and ask people (especially celebrities) who have been victims in the past and may have benefited from the wisdom in your masterpiece.
Your initial letter should be a simple request - will they read your book and provide a cover blurb? Include a compliment that explains why you're asking. If a mutual acquaintence recommended them, say so. Offer to send a signed manuscript to read for the blurb and a signed copy of the book after publication. For individuals outside the book industry, include an example blurb so everyone understands you are requesting a short quote.
Chances are, no one will reply with an unconditional, positive response. Those who are interested in seeing their name in lights will want to read the book first. Their responses will say so. This is when you thank them for their time and consideration - and send the manuscript. Always include your contact information - email address, SASE, any thing else you can think of to make it easy for others to help you.
Charlotte Phillips is the co-author of the Eva Baum Detective Series, 2009 President for The Final Twist Writers Group and contributor to multiple blogs. Learn more about Charlotte and her books at:
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