8 Ways to Get “Blurbs” for Book Marketing Photo by Morguefile
“Blurb” is a great little word, a sort of nickname for the more official-sounding words such as “testimonial,” “acknowledgment,” “endorsement,” “review” or “comment.” A blurb is a snippet of something that somebody says about your book that you can then use in your book marketing. It can be anything from an eloquent celebrity endorsement that you’ll probably want to use on your front cover to an unfortunately useless comment (“Great book!”) that a reader puts up on your Amazon book page as a “customer review,” but may quickly get disappeared by Amazon because it doesn’t fit their review criteria.
There’s a whole history (just Google “blurbs” and you’ll see) about why blurbs have gotten to be so important, especially for indie authors publishing on Amazon, but the bottom line is that — aside from a good book with a good cover — you gotta have blurbs. An author should never launch a book on Amazon “naked” (meaning with no customer reviews), yet many do. That’s not good. Blurbs legitimize your book and make people feel more comfortable about buying it. Going to a book site with no reviews feels like going to a movie when there are only one or two other people in the theatre. It feels uncomfortable. You want out of there. Buyers go elsewhere.
Where to Use Blurbs
- Indie authors want blurbs mostly in the form of customer reviews on Amazon. Set a goal of 100. (I know! Yikes!). Blurbs are also used for . . .
- Front cover (hopefully from a celebrity or thought-leader in your field)
- Back cover (as a powerful sales pitch for your book)
- Inside the book where you can include pages of blurbs — which is why you’ll want to get a bunch of them in advance of publication
- On your marketing pieces (business cards, postcards, bookmarks, flyers, “one-sheets”)
- As part of your email signature
- On your website, blog, or landing page
- On certain social media sites (pretty-up a blurb for Pinterest)
- Stamped on your give-away items, such as mugs or pens
How to Get Blurbs
Before Publication . . .
- Send out pages of your work (or a chapter to a specialist in the area you’re writing about) to get feedback and a usable “comment” (to later be put up on Amazon).
- When your book is close to its launch date, set it up on Amazon (pre-order status) so you can ask the people who’ve already read your pages or sections to write a “customer review”. Give them How-to directions.
- Order “proof” (advance) copies to give out for peer reviewers or whole-book readers for additional reviews. People do tend to procrastinate, so give them a deadline and offer some incentives for getting their review in quickly.
- Some reviewers who procrastinate are very relieved to have you write their review for them and they can just sign off on it. Saves them a lot of time!
After Publication . . .
5. Launch Day: As soon as your book is up on Amazon, officially published, grab the link from your book page and paste it into an announcement you’re going to send (using an email program like Constant Contact) to your email list telling them your book is published, asking them to click on the link to see it, and begging them to write a customer review (I like to use the word blurb or “comment” because it sounds less like a book report!). Explain How-to and why – because it helps you sell books!
6. If you’ve sent out a lot of announcements, some people will write reviews on Amazon, others may write you personally and say nice things about your book. Immediately, email them back and ask, “Would you mind putting that on my Amazon site?” (Give How-to directions). Otherwise use their blurb for something else.
7. Whenever you run into anybody you know at the market and they say something nice about your book, ask them, “Do you mind if I use that as a blurb.” If they can put it up on Amazon themselves, great, but if not you can use their blurb elsewhere, so write it down before you forget it, then email it to the person who said it to make sure you remembered it correctly!
8. This is like looking for spare change in the couch, but look though older emails and social media posts to find blurbs about your book you forgot you had. You may actually find a great blurb you didn’t realize was a “blurb” at the time that you read it. Now you recognize it for what it is and realize it’s just perfect for a press release you’re writing.
Blurbs are in the Air
There are many more ways to get “blurbs” (reviews), such as tracking down Amazon Top Reviewers or doing the whole guest blogger thing (which is getting harder and harder as there is more and more competition for attention for one’s book). There are, as well, some really terrific books and Kindles by known experts in the book marketing business, but for now keep it simple and do these basics. And keep in mind that the next time somebody tells you, “Your book really touched me, especially that scene . . .” ask them, “Can I use that as a blurb?” See, blurbs are in the air.
(c) Sylvia Cary, LMFT, author of The Therapist Writer: Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Published.