How to Write an Endorsement Blurb for a Book

Marketing, Tips, Writing

By Jori Hanna

It’s no secret that humans respond to a concept called social proof, the concept that if someone else is doing it, we should too. This is why modern marketing relies so heavily on digital word-of-mouth tactics such as influencer posts and product reviews. This is why the term FOMO (the fear of missing out) developed. This concept has been around for a very long time. Even in ancient Egypt, having someone vouch for you was the best way to get where you were trying to go.

This is how endorsement blurbs differ from book reviews. A review can be quoted and used in marketing if it’s publicly visible and positive. An endorsement blurb is a short quote given with the express purpose of vouching for the author or book. A review may be from a critic. An endorsement is from a well-respected enthusiast.

Endorsement Blurbs are Everywhere

Before we talk about how to write one, let’s talk about how endorsement blurbs are used. As a reader, you’ve seen them. They often populate the back cover of hardcover books, leaving the back cover description to instead land on the inside jacket flap. They show up on the front cover touting approval from a well-known and beloved author. They’re visible in online storefront descriptions like Amazon or Barnes and Noble. They’re highlighted on book advertisements. You can’t seem to avoid a good endorsement blurb. And when they do their job, they convince readers to take a chance on the book.

There are numerous final locations for an endorsement blurb, but you can assume that if a blurb is used, it will show up in one or more of these locations:

  • Author and publisher websites
  • Online storefronts
  • Printed on the cover of the book (front or back)
  • On a praise page inside the front matter
  • On advertising or in graphics created for social media
  • On printed materials, such as a bookmark or business card for the author or book

When an author receives a stellar endorsement blurb, a good marketer will put it on everything. It will become intertwined with the book’s identity, drawing the clout of the endorser in to the clout of the book.

This is the benefit to the endorser. If you can write a fantastic blurb, your name will spread everywhere that book goes. It’s possible that will increase your name recognition while the author you’re endorsing markets, driving sales for your own books in the process.

Who Writes Endorsement Blurbs?

Most of the time, given the nature of the social proof element, the blurbs on the covers of books are written by the people whose name is attached to the blurb. If that wasn’t the case, no one would trust these blurbs. However, there are times when an endorser asks someone, usually the author, to write a few options and they’ll approve one for use. If this is the case, you will likely be ghost writing your own endorsement for the endorser to claim.

Both work. The most important thing is to ensure you’re accurate and honest in the request process. Whether you’re writing a blurb for your own book or for someone else based on a request, it will help you to know what kinds of blurbs provide the best functionality in marketing. Especially if you’re an emerging author as well, using the strongest words you can may guarantee you win the cover spot rather than someone else, even if their name may carry more weight. 

How to Write an Endorsement Blurb

The best endorsement blurbs have a few things in common:

  1. They have multiple usable quotes.
  2. At least one of those quotes is a maximum of five words in length.
  3. They use adjectives of high praise.
  4. They are memorable.

An endorsement can be for the author, for the book, for a character, or for a series. Take these examples from books we’ve published:

  • “I would follow Peter Savage into any firefight.” – James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of The Demon Crown (Endorsing Lethal Savage by Dave Edlund)
  • “Winter Stars is a gift — a modern classic of frontier literature documenting the uncertain journey into the country of caregiving.” –Michael J. Fox. (Endorsing Winter Stars by Dave Iverson)
  • “Douglas Richardson is back with his trademark combination of grit and humor in this compelling and unconventional crime thriller that begins with a plane crash and keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Doug has done it again, spinning a riveting story that he tells with eloquence and detail and keeping you engaged, amused, and sometimes horrified.  You won’t be disappointed!” —Amanda Lamb, WRAL TV Reporter and Podcast Host, Author of the Maddie Arnette crime thrillers (Endorsing Old Dogs, New Tricks by Douglas Richardson)
  • “A Deathly Irish Secret is a captivating cozy mystery that transports readers to the enchanting landscapes of Ireland while weaving an intricate web of secrets and suspense. From the very first page, I was drawn into the charming village and its cast of intriguing characters. The mystery itself is cleverly crafted and … had me on edge! I truly loved this book and can’t wait to read more from the author.” —Tara Lush, author of the Coffee Lover’s Mysteries (Endorsing A Deathly Irish Secret by Nancy Nau Sullivan)

Let’s talk about why these work. In particular, let’s look at the blurb for Old Dogs, New Tricks. While lengthy, almost every phrase can be pulled to stand alone and be used in various marketing materials.

  • Douglas Richardson is back with his trademark combination of grit and humor
  • a compelling and unconventional crime thriller
  • Doug has done it again
  • a riveting story [told] with eloquence and detail
  • You won’t be disappointed!

Any of those would fit nicely on a front cover, a back cover, or in marketing materials. Some will apply more effectively to readers returning from Richardson’s first book. Others will apply even if you’d never heard Richardson’s name. All will be effective even without prior knowledge of who Amanda Lamb is. But if you’ve read Lamb’s thrillers, you may be even more inclined to pick up Richardson’s book based on her approval.

The quote from Rollins for Lethal Savage applies to the whole series rather than just that book because he commented on the main character. Rollins secured multi-book exposure for his endorsement and his name because of his quippy, clever, genre specific comment that assigns trust and authority to Edlund’s fictional character.

The quote from Michael J. Fox works as a full statement or split at the em-dash, allowing powerful use regardless of space allotments in printed materials.

Lastly, the quote from Tara Lush also has numerous helpful pull-quotes. But this endorsement is also a good example of how to comment on the writing style or craft the book’s author utilized. “Captivating…cleverly crafted.” These words can be applied to Sullivan’s writing on the whole, rather than just this one book.

Successful Formulas for Endorsement Blurbs

If you’ve been asked to write a blurb for someone, and you want to have the best chance at both helping this fellow author and having their work spread your name recognition, there are certain formats that will almost always guarantee a solid endorsement for use by their marketing team.

[Author name] writes with [adjective] and [adjective/noun], [strong verb] a [adjective] tale/story/plot/genre with [praise statement].

Nancy Nau Sullivan writes with intelligence and humor, crafting a thrilling mystery with an unforgettable cast.

[Title] is a [adjective] [genre] certain/sure to [verb] and [verb] with its [praise statement].

Deadly Savage is a tense thriller certain to capture and entertain with it’s precise, well-researched base and it’s high-octane plot.

The key thing to remember is that this endorsement is not a review. You’re not being asked to be a critic or to provide advice. You’re being asked to write a short piece that will encourage readers to take a chance on this book. Focus on the positives and use the strongest, most flattering words you can.

We Want to Hear from You

If you have a book ready to be published, we’d love to take a look at your book and see how we may be able to work with you to bring your book to the world. Review our publishing options, and if you think we’d be a good fit for each other, we’d love to review your manuscript.

Continue Reading

What is a Hashtag? And Why Should You Use Them?

What is a Hashtag? And Why Should You Use Them?

By Jori Hanna As you start diving into social media, you may find the advice to use hashtags so you can reach more people. But what exactly is a hashtag? How do you know which ones to use? And do they actually help your reach? What is a Hashtag? In the simplest terms...

8 Posts Authors Should Make to Start a New Social Media Account

8 Posts Authors Should Make to Start a New Social Media Account

Growing your platform through social media is an extremely powerful way to increase your reach. But if you jump in with marketing before you’ve created the relationships, you’re not likely to get the results you’re looking for. These post ideas will help you build those relationships so your social media author platform can be as vibrant as possible.