How to Secure the Best Blurbs for Your Self-Published Book

Picture this: You pick up an interesting-looking book at the bookstore. Maybe the cover looks compelling, or the title catches your eye. Then you see endorsements from some heavy-hitters on the back cover:

  • Oprah calls it “a one-of-a-kind story for the ages.”
  • “A must-read!” – NYTimes
  • “I couldn’t put it down.” – David Sedaris

You’d be a fool to pass up a book with those kinds of reviews, right?

As a self-published author, how do you secure these rave testimonials for your own book? And how exactly do you get ahold of Oprah?

What is a Book Blurb?

Book endorsements or “blurbs” are reviews and testimonials from notable people, publishers, and media outlets. You’ve likely seen them on plenty of book covers, ranging from a few well-written words to several paragraphs.

Depending on the book you’re holding, these might also be authors of the same genre or subject matter. For example, on the cover of Tara Schuster’s memoir Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life, from Someone Who’s Been There, you’ll see a rave book blurb from Glennon Doyle:

“You’re going to want Tara Schuster to become your new best friend.”— Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Untamed

And on the cover of the memoir Untamed you’ll find an endorsement from famous actress Reese Witherspoon:

“Packed with incredible insight about what it means to be a woman today.”— Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club Pick)

Both books would be considered in the self-help category with a focus on women’s health, relationships, and career planning, and all the blurbs are from women entrepreneurs and thought-leaders.

These book blurbs not only build excitement for the book but also give a sense of authority to the author or subject matter discussed in the book.

If Reese Witherspoon put it on her book club list, wouldn’t you want to at least know what the book was about?

How to Get Blurbs for Your Book

Asking for book endorsements from industry leaders and influencers is a key part of your book marketing strategy. This captures the attention of readers who might not know you, but are familiar with the person blurbing your book — and that means for sales!

Celebrity endorsements sound exciting, but how do you go about getting them? (Hint: you don’t call Oprah — she’ll call you).

Start with your network. You might already know authors in your genre or have some connections on social media that might help you find interesting influencers.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to secure book blurbs so you can sell more copies of your self-published book.

1. Take Stock of Your Network

You probably don’t have Reese Witherspoon’s phone number, but there are plenty of ways to access influencers like her. If it’s people in the entertainment industry you’re after, you might find people at lower levels who have inside knowledge.

Have a box full of business cards you’ve collected over the years? Go through them and see if there’s anyone you’ve met in the past who would be well-suited to write a blurb, or who might be willing to introduce you to someone.

Social media is also an excellent place to start sourcing blurbs. Writer Facebook Groups can serve as a jumping-off point. You can create a post about what you’re looking for in a blurb, and connect with others who are doing the same. You might even consider doing a swap (they give you a blurb, and you can blurb for them).

2. Dream Big, Start Small

Start with a few lists of names of people who you would love to blurb your book:

  • Top Tier
  • Middle
  • Low-Hanging Fruit

At the very top of your list will obviously be your idols! It’s okay to dream big here and put any celebrity you admire, but identify celebrities who align with your book’s topic in some way.

For example, if you have a book about the history of musical theater you might love Bruce Willis, but you’d be much better off considering Hugh Jackman who started his career on Broadway.

The next list will be more realistic. This might include podcast hosts on your topic, up-and-coming speakers and entrepreneurs, or even your local newspaper. These people might be higher up in status than you, or they’re about where you are in your career.

It’s also a good idea to list a few authors in your genre and influential people in your subject matter.

For children’s book author Diane Worthey’s debut In One Ear and Out the Other: Antonia Brico and her Amazingly Musical Life, she landed celebrity folk singer Judy Collins as a blurb:

“Dr. Antonia Brico was my teacher from the time I was 10 years old. She was a dynamic and amazing woman. Now we have a beautiful book about her life where little children can learn what can happen when you pursue your dreams and do what’s in your deepest heart…What a beautiful book!”— Judy Collins

Finally, create a list of people who are already fans of yours, micro-influencers, or beginning reviewers actively looking to blurb new books. You might also have success at local bookstores and media outlets that like to feature authors in the community.

All 3 of these lists will include some level of research and digging, but chances are there might already be someone you know who could be a great fit for your book. Start with these folks first!

3. Create a Welcoming  Invitation

Once you have a list of people to potentially blurb your book, create a template invitation. Make sure you start with your “why:”

  • Why is this person a good fit to give you an endorsement?
  • Is there something about their work that you admire? (Be sure to tell them what it is!)

You can give a brief synopsis of your book, and any relevant information (ie. release dates, awards, etc.) that might help guide the reviewer. It’s also wise to give them an idea of what you’re looking for.

Here’s a great example of a book burb invitation:

Hello _____,

I’ve been following your work for years and have always connected with your views on women’s mental health!

I’m publishing my own memoir Ladies, Let Me Tell You Something about my long journey with anxiety and workplace burnout. It will be launching in 2023 and I’m currently collecting endorsements and blurbs.

I read your latest op-ed about women’s burnout during the pandemic and I thought you might enjoy my book. If you’re open to it, I’d love to send you an advanced reader’s copy and hear your reaction.

Looking forward to speaking more!


Blurb-seeking Barbara

4. Offer More Than You Ask

As with any big ask, it’s effective to give more than you take. This could mean something as simple as a signed copy of the book, some personalized merch, or tickets to the book launch.

As a polite gesture, see if you can get their address or P.O. box to send a thoughtful thank you card in the mail. A little gratitude goes a long way!

Make the Most of Your Self-Published Book

Your self-published book deserves exposure, rave reviews, and all the awards you’ve dreamed of. But sometimes, you need a little help getting there.

If you’re not sure where to start with your newest book project, we’re here to help. PufferPrint is dedicated to bringing your story to life! We can help you from start to finish, and everywhere in between your book publishing journey.

Get a free quote today to jumpstart your book project! >

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