Book Influencers, Endorsers and Forewords–Oh, My

Janet Grant

Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant

“What does an influencer do?”

“Who makes a strong endorser?”

and “Should I ask someone to write a foreword?” are questions my clients frequently ask me.

The answers can help you to:thumbs up 2

–obtain a contract

–make your book discoverable

–market your book

–add prestige to your work

What does an influencer do?

Wielding one’s influence on behalf of a book can make an immense difference in the number of copies sold. Once you have a publishing contract, your publisher will ask you to supply a list of influencers. The publicity team often will also ask you to write a letter to those influencers that will accompany a free copy of the book, which the publishing house will send out shortly before your book releases.

The idea is to give individuals influential among your potential readers the chance to tell those they have strong connections with what a great book you’ve written. It’s up to the influencer to decide just how loudly to broadcast their enthusiasm.

Influencers can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, depending on the networks you’ve developed and the people you’ve had the opportunity to develop relationships with. If you attend the same church as a sports super star, and you chat with her every now and then, you would want her to be on your list. (If, however, your book is an academic look at the Trinity, well, the sports star might not mingle with a lot of academicians.)

Bloggers you know (and perhaps have done a guest blog for) also belong on your influencer list.

If you are writing about how you overcame depression, you’ll want to have your book sent to influencers in the counseling realm, especially any whom you’ve met personally.

The way to determine if someone belongs on your influencer list is to ask: Does this person have a megaphone he or she might use to broadcast about my book to potential readers?

Who Makes a Strong Endorser?

Endorsements appear on the back cover of your book, or possibly a snippet of an endorsement will be on the front cover (“Riveting” –Francine Rivers), or in advertising, in the catalog for sales staff to point out to book buyers, and on one of the first pages inside the book.

1. Someone whose name is widely recognized. Your pastor might love your book, but if you attend a church with a congregation of 300, his endorsement would have little weight.

2. A person who is an authority or spokesperson on the topic you’ve written about. If you’re writing a nonfiction book on the importance of losing weight, to have the Surgeon General or Michelle Obama offer an endorsement would be to get your publisher to hum happy tunes.

3. An author who writes in a similar vein to you. If your writing is reminiscent of Ann Voskamp’s, her endorsement can lead those who enjoy her writing style to give your book a try. Or if your fiction bears some resemblance to Steven James’s, having Steve remark on how much he enjoys your suspenseful writing can be a significant help to you.

Should you ask someone to write a foreword for your book?

First, I am compelled to point out the spelling of foreword. This part of your book is a word given by a notable individual that comes before the book’s content–hence it is a “fore” “word.” Not a forward. I see this word misspelled more often than I see it spelled correctly.

The foreword is an explanation of how important your book is, or why the person writing the foreword believes you are the right person to create such a book, or what about the book especially moved or influenced the person writing the foreword.

It is written only by someone extremely well-known and highly-regarded. That’s why, when a book contains a foreword, the cover often will announce: “Foreword by ____________.” Potential readers who respect this person will buy the book on the basis of the foreword alone. So strong potential writers of a foreword might be, for example, Desmond Tutu, Annie Dillard, or someone whose name isn’t a household word but who is an authority on the topic you’re writing about. (e.g., If your book explores the importance that bees play in food production, the president of a national organization focused on feeding the world’s hungry would be an appropriate choice to write a foreword.)

With an impressive array of lined-up influencers, endorsers, and a topnotch person to write a foreword, your proposal would showcase that you understand how each of these individuals can enhance any marketing plan and make it more likely your book will reach as many potential readers as possible.

Have you created a strategy for your WIP to line up influencers, endorsers and a foreword? What might your next step be?

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