The publishing industry much like television networks and movie studios, uses endorsements as a way to entice you to buy their product. Sometimes that endorsement is a positive comment from a well-known publication like Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times or People. Sometimes it’s a recommendation from a respected author who writes in the same genre. For example, Karen E. Olson’s Day of the Dead has an endorsement from Lee Child. Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Goes to Washington is recommended by Charlaine Harris.
The right words from the right person can give a tremendous boost to a writer’s career--just ask any author whose book has been picked for Oprah Winfrey’s book club.
“Brilliant use of paragraphs!”
The first place to start is with your editor. See if she’s planning for ask anyone for a recommendation before you do it.
Next, talk to your agent. He may have the connections to get your book into the hands of the author who inspired you to start writing or the one whose own book is burning up the bestseller lists.
“Outstanding chapter breaks!”
Some writers don't mind asking other writing friends for some good words about their book. But don’t put someone on the spot. Make the request in an email or a letter. And don’t hold a grudge if a friend says no.
If you write under more than one name don’t use one persona to endorse another. All that will do is make you fodder for every snarky blogger out there—including me.
Any kind of enticement from chocolate to cash is a bad idea. So is groveling. So is guilt. So is sucking-up. The best approach is a straightforward, professional request. Keep it short, polite and honest. Don't use the author’s first name if you don’t actually know her. And say thank-you.
“Great Spelling! Nice margins!”
Dear Ms Important Writer,
I'm writing to ask if you will consider reading my mystery novel, The Stalker, for a cover quotation. I would appreciate any recommendation you may decide to make for readers.
May I send you an advance reading copy?
A. Newbie Author
Don’t lurk over the mailbox or your computer waiting for a response. Well-known writers get a ton of mail and they have deadlines, dentist visits, bad hair days and small children that projectile vomit. And remember, it may have been hard for you to ask, but it’s even harder to come up with a nice way to say no. So be gracious if you’re turned down. Follow-up with a thank you even if what you really want to say is, “Stick it in your ear you snotty hack!”
“This is definitely a book!”
And lastly, if the famous author does give you an endorsement don’t give his address to all your writing friends so they can ask for a plug for their books. (Not even if they offer you your body weight in chocolate.)