Monday, February 9, 2009

Testimonials: What to Send Someone When You Request Their Endorsement for Your Book

Send the Right Stuff To Get the Testimonials You Want

By Susan Kendrick

The latest series of articles on this blog have focused on testimonials for use on your book cover and throughout your marketing materials. We've looked at how to get big name testimonials, how to write them yourself, and mistakes to avoid.

Now, a Question from a Reader!
What to send the person from whom you are requesting a testimonial

Hello, Susan—Thank you for your blog and your web site—and the offer to submit a question. I have an important question about getting big name testimonials for my inspirational book. (Currently, it’s being considered by an agent.) I have a few people in mind whom I’ve never met. What should be sent to them? Thanks!


Thank you for your note. Good question! I will answer you directly in this email and then post my response on the blog as well.

The first thing to do when you have someone in mind you want to approach for a testimonial is find out if you can contact them directly or if they have a “gatekeeper,” a secretary or assistant who handles their calls and emails.

-- If you can contact the potential endorser directly, first do so by email. Briefly introduce yourself and say why you are contacting them. Also tell them the complete title and subtitle of your book and why you would like an endorsement from them. Then, ask them what they would like you to send--i.e. the whole manuscript, or just the Introduction and a few samples chapters.*

Also mention that to help make the process easier for them--since you know they are busy--you would be happy to create and send them a few testimonials to choose from or to use as a springboard for their own ideas. And, ask if they would like to receive your material by mail or email. Keep this initial email as short and sweet as possible. Just the facts. Don’t overwhelm them. Be clear and concise. Look like someone who understands and respects their time.

* One thing that Dan Poynter recommends, too, is to approach this person as someone you would like to review a chapter or chapters because you would like their expert opinion on a particular aspect of your material that is their known area of expertise.

When you do send what they request, it is ideal if you can include the back cover sales copy, or at least a good working version of it, to give them an at-a-glance idea of the scope of your book and the benefit to the reader. Ideally, you will send your completed front cover design as well. Sending this market-ready piece shows the potential endorser that your book is real and in the production stage, not just an idea you are working on. This is another good reason to start your book cover early, so that you have that front cover ready to send.

-- If the person you are approaching does have a gatekeeper, call or email them. Then, follow the same approach as above, and ask this person how best to proceed—by phone or email, what to send, in what form, etc. If they offer to put you in touch directly with the person from whom you would like the testimonial, great. If not, work directly with the gatekeeper with the same high level of respect and professionalism.

Now, It's Your Turn

If you have further questions about how to approach potential endorsers for your book, who to approach, how to write quality endorsements yourself, etc., please feel free to email me directly at

And, please ask about our Critique & Consultation sessions and our mini coaching sessions. Sometimes all it takes to move forward is some feedback and direction. We're happy to provide help where you need it most and need it now.

Happy Publishing!

© Copyright 2009, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1-715-634-4120.