Thursday, January 29, 2009

Writer's Digest Selp-Published Book Awards

Call for Entries -- Deadline is May 1, 2009

From Susan Kendrick

Here's an announcement that just arrived for the 17th annual Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards. Click here for details about award categories, how to enter, cash prizes, and more. Winning a book award, or even being a runner-up, is great way to gain industry recognition and add further credibility to your book.

Please contact us with any questions about how to get your book cover ready, at

Happy Publishing ... and Getting Your Book Noticed!
Susan Kendrick

Remember to visit our main website at

© Copyright 2009, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc.
All Rights Reserved. 715-634-4120

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When Good Testimonials Go Bad: 15 Words to Avoid

How to avoid the most common copywriting mistakes
when writing testimonials for source approval

By Susan Kendrick

This is the third in a series of three articles on testimonials: getting them, writing them, and now avoiding the most common copywriting mistakes in testimonials for your book cover, website, and all your book marketing.

The excerpts below are from the first article in my Copywriting Fitness Series I'm writing for the Independent Book Publishers Association, IBPA, (formerly PMA). This article will be published in its entirety and posted online on February 20, here and on the

First, the Good News
The good news is that, among all the copywriting mistakes you can make, the one that will do the most damage may also the easiest to spot and fix: exaggeration. Yes, you want that sizzle that makes people buy. Just don’t let the sizzle burn you!

... Here are some examples of the kinds of overwriting and exaggeration that you need to avoid when writing testimonials for source approval because they will make those testimonials work against you instead of for you. You don’t want to risk damaging your reputation, your book’s reputation, or the reputation of those people who are giving you their support.

Examples of What to Avoid

To stress benefits of your book, use copywriting that highlights those benefits in a way that is believable, specific, and relevant. In other words, avoid doing the following:

* "This author is celebrated around the world as the leading expert on ___________."

Really? Around the world? The leading expert? This had better be true. Unless you are Tony Robbins, reel this one in and be more specific: “He speaks to and coaches organizations in the United States and ## other countries on how to _________.”

* “The author unleashes unprecedented power in all individuals who follow her methods.”

Really? Unprecedented, as in never before possible? And in all individuals? Stop the presses! Surely no other books on personal power are needed because readers finally have the single answer that works for everyone. How about replacing that copy with: “Her methods are helping individuals face financial change [or whatever the right specific is] with new levels of confidence.”

* “The steps in this book will improve every area of your life quickly and easily.”

Really? Every area of my life? Quickly and easily? Sign me up! I sure hope I’m not disappointed when I get to the last page and my life is pretty much the same as when I started. Don’t give self-help a bad name. Be specific in your claims: “The steps in this book provide simple ways to be more respected as a partner, parent, and co-worker.”

Build your copywriting muscle and take control of the credibility that great quotes can give your book. The book gets the credibility boost it needs, and the people kind enough to lend you their good names to it looks good, too.

The Word Gym Anti-Exaggeration Checklist
15 Words to Avoid in Your Copywriting

World renowned

- Check for word length. Sometimes the longer the word, the bigger (too big) the claim.

- The bigger the claim, the more you need to support it by being believable, specific, and relevant.

- * Use “First” and “Only” only when this is absolutely, positively, demonstrably true, in which case, you should not only say so, but say so loud and clear.

To ask a question or for help writing testimonials for your marketing materials, feel free to contact me at

Happy Publishing!
Susan Kendrick

Write To Your Market, Inc.

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1-715-634-4120.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How to Get BIG Name Testimonials

One Author's Story

By Susan Kendrick

One of the questions we get asked most often about book covers, websites, speaker materials, media materials, and other marketing vehicles, is "How do I get testimonials?"

My last post,
Want Killer Testimonials? Write Them Yourself, presented some basic background and how-to's on how to write those testimonials for your quote sources to review and approve. What I want to do now is show you a good example of an author we worked with who learned to be very self-sufficient about getting big-name experts and bestselling authors to endorse her book. Part of that process involved, you guessed it, helping to craft those testimonials herself.

She Got 20 Big-Name Quotes -- from Brian Tracy, John Assaraf, Debbie Allen, and more!

Laura Cardone, founder of
Profits With Purpose, Inc., is the author of Motivation at Work: Transform Your Business in Six Extraordinary Steps. As you can see on her Book Back Cover, she ended up creating that copy almost exclusively from those big-name endorsements, which she got all on her own. She originally started out with more sales copy. But, when those endorsements came pouring in, she saw an opportunity to give her book tremendous credibility and used those quotes instead. She even quoted herself from her book, putting her in good company with these other bestselling authors. And, if you think Laura's back cover endorsements are impressive, check out Laura's Book Front Cover and the endorsement from Brian Tracy.

Now, take a look at how Laura uses those quotes on various pages of her website, from her home page to her tools and services page. In fact, another reason I chose Laura as an example is because of her topic. She may be of interest to you if you are a busy entrepreneur (who isn't?) who wants to "add more zeros to your bottom-line AND more time for yourself."

Two Things You Can Learn From This Book Cover ... and This Author

(1.) As I pointed out in
writing testimonials, work with your quote sources to make the process as easy, stress-free, and as positive an experience as possible. And, don't just think of the endorsement process as you asking someone for something. Think of what you can do for someone by giving them visibility on your book cover, website, etc., with a well-written testimonial that makes them look good, too. As in all parts of marketing, you are creating partners. Follow Laura Cardone's example. She didn't just go asking for quotes, she created mutually beneficial relationships.
NOTE: Laura says she created additional value for both her readers and her quote sources by including information about her sources' unique gifts and talents inside the book as well. "When we pass along referrals for products and services we believe in, we feed the web of life," says Laura. "We share helpful information and everybody wins!"

(2.) You, too, can become self-sufficient in your marketing when it comes to getting big-name testimonials. Being able to put a quote from Brian Tracy on the front cover of your book is proof of that. What Laura did is follow some basic advice and then take it from there. Here's what she says about that process. I have to admit that this is a plug for our double-CD set, but if getting killer testimonials like Laura's sounds good to you, you should know how she did it:

"This program helped me attract powerful testimonials from more than twenty bestselling authors and business leaders, including Brian Tracy. The tools and templates eliminated unnecessary bottlenecks, costly mistakes, and revisions. Thank you for sharing your expertise!”

To do what Laura did, check out
Bestselling Book Cover.

Too Late to Add Testimonials to Your Book Cover?

Fine! Add them to your website, your speaker materials, your media materials, every piece of marketing where you want to boost your credibility as a highly regarded expert on your topic. When you start the testimonial process early, you can usually get the ones you want for your book cover. But you will continue to get endorsements after your book is published, so use them throughout your marketing, and on your book cover when it's time to reprint.

Still to come ... details on how to avoid the most common copywriting mistakes when writing testimonials for source approval.

Happy Publishing!

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1-715-634-4120.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Want Killer Testimonials for Your Book? Write Them Yourself.

Want Killer Testimonials for Your Book?
Write Them Yourself.

By Susan Kendrick

The reason you may avoid approaching well-know experts, bestselling authors, industry celebrities, and other people in high places for testimonials for your book ... is the very reason you should consider writing those testimonials yourself. These people are busy. They may want to help you, but getting around to writing a meaningful testimonial can be daunting. They want to make you look good. They want to look good, too! If you understand this, you can make the process easier for both of you.

You may be surprised to find out ...

Knowing you can offer a way to help will also make you more confident about aiming high and approaching your "ideal" testimonial sources for their support of your book. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that many testimonials on book covers are created through this kind of collaborative partnership between author and quote source.

Help those who are helping you

Aim high. Do the best for your book. And, do it in a way that helps those that are helping you. Having testimonials ready for review is just another way to demonstrate your total professionalism as an author and expert. You show that you are a capable partner, one who can be trusted to take care of details and publish a quality piece of work.

Your source may approve a quote you have written without making any changes to it at all. Or, they may tweak it a bit. Or, they may use your quote as a springboard for their own thoughts. As with any kind of writing, some people just need a good running start. Start your book cover process early to give yourself time to get the testimonials you want.

Two Ways to Write Killer Testimonials

General Testimonials:
One way to write testimonials is to create several choices that could be said by anyone. That is, they each say specific things about some aspect of your book's message, its usefulness, what makes it different from other books in its market, how it will make a difference for people looking for information on this topic, etc. The quote focuses on you and your book, but does not reveal anything about the person saying it.

Customized Testimonials:
Writing a customized testimonial means that you do some research on the person your want to approach, more than you may already know about them. You look at their book or books on amazon. You google their Bio information, accomplishments, current projects, etc. You take that and weave it into the quote in such a way that it showcases their expertise or promotes that in subtle ways. High-profile
experts will appreciate your genuine interest in what you can do for them as well as in what they can do for you.

Warning: For any testimonial that you either receive from someone or write yourself, be sure to avoid making highly inflated remarks that are so glowing as to be unbelievable. Over-the-top exclamations can easily backfire and detract credibility instead of adding to it. This can hurt not only you and your book, but your quote source as well. My next blog post will provide a checklist of words and phrases to avoid as well as ways to create copy that is specific, intelligent, believable, and therefore the huge credibility boost you want for your book and your reputation as an expert on your topic.

Take control of the credibility that great quotes can give your book. As with almost any endeavour, do that by finding ways to help the people you are asking to help you. Your book gets the credibility boost it needs, and the person kind enough to lend you the support of their good name looks good, too. Everybody wins.

For information on how to choose who you will approach for testimonials, see the my article on Getting and Using Testimonials: Use the Three P's. For one-on-one feedback or advice on how to write quotes for your ideal sources, please contact us at

Happy Publishing!

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1-715-634-4120.