Most people (including myself, and likely you as well) require social proof in order to buy things, especially online.
So you may not be surprised to hear that one of the #1 book marketing tasks for a self publisher is to:
Get some Advance Reviews for your book
You must drum up some reviews.
It may seem backwards – getting the reviews BEFORE the book is published…
First things first – let’s slow down and clarify a few different kinds of book reviews (or “blurbs” as they’re sometimes called). What these have in common: they are “social proof” for your book and thus, they are comparable to gold.
1) Advance Review Copy (ARC) Blurbs
These can go:
On the back cover of your book. Having review blurbs on the back cover of your non-fiction book can be a subtle and powerful way to motivate someone to reach for your book. It may seem like a small thing but it is more important than you might think.
Inside the book on a page titled “Praise for [Book Title Here]”
Pasted into the Editorial Review section on Amazon Central
On your book’s sales page on your website
2) Amazon Customer Reviews
Obviously, these are the reviews which are left on Amazon–and they are extremely valuable (to the point of almost being mandatory) social proof for your book. These can be both verified and unverified reviews, the former being more valuable (a topic for another blog post).
Today, I am only talking about the first kind of reviews – Advance Reviews Blurbs.
How to get Advance Review Blurbs for your book before you publish it
Step 1: Brainstorm people you know
Brainstorm friends/colleagues/ friends of friends/old friends you know (or can figure out how to contact) who maybe interested in your book, or who just support you and might want to help you with an easy action.
They can be in your industry – but they don’t need to be. They can be in a related industry.
Take your time and keep adding to your list as you think of people –this list will come in handy later when you are consider a “launch team”
They could be your aunt who is retired – and you just remembered she’s interested in the subject matter of your book.
It could be your best friend from high school’s Dad who you just remembered cares about the subject matter of your book!
You want to gather a list of people who legitimately care about what you are doing, and potentially want to take an easy, small action to support you.
More than likely, you know a few people who have done especially well for themselves and– bonus–they're amazing humans! They actually love to be asked for help because helping makes them feel good. But they're busy so you have to be very specific in your request for help!
Step 2: First Ask – planting a seed
Email each person on your list directly–individually–and personally to invite them to write a short blurb for the back cover of your book, which will also give them a boost by including their name and title/business.
Here's the first email template you can copy, paste & adapt:
How are you doing? I know it’s been awhile! I hope you are well, and [something personal here]!
Would you please consider writing me a short, honest blurb for the back cover of my upcoming [genre here] book?
The title of my upcoming book is:
If you are willing, I could potentially have an advance copy to you by [date]. A few sentences would be totally fine!
Thank you so much for considering it!
Here's an example: "This is a book full of powerful ideas and... Reading it will definitely help you …” – Your Name / Title / Your Business
Step 3: Second ask – send the Advance Review Copy ARC – make sure to attach a PDF of your book!
Here's the second email template you can copy, paste & adapt:
Thank you so much for your interest and support! I am thrilled that you wouldn’t mind taking a peek at my book.
An “Advance Review Copy” of [Book Title Here] is attached.
Again, here's another example: "I like how this book helps me … When I read it, I really….” – Your Name / Title / Your Business
It would be incredibly helpful if you could write a few sentences for the back cover of my book by [date].
Thank you again so much!
Step 4: Second ask – follow up
Here's the third follow up email template you can copy, paste & adapt:
Hope this finds you well! Thank you so much for your support in my endeavour to self-publish [title of book here].
My book is launching on [date] – do you have a sentence or 2 for me to include? : ) I am happy to proofread whatever you write.
Thank you again so much!