How to Get Great Testimonials for Your Book

March 2004
by Jay B. Lipe

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Testimonials are among the most powerful yet inexpensive marketing tools around. Good ones grab attention and encourage potential buyers to pick up the book. Great ones take possible buyers even deeper by making them say to themselves, Yes, this is the kind of book I’ve been looking for.

Think back to a time when you were book browsing. Didn’t those back-cover blurbs sway you just a bit? Didn’t reading a testimonial by a well-known author make you think, Well, if so-and-so liked it, then it must be good?

But your book testimonials won’t just sway readers. They can also influence book reviewers, bookstore owners, distributors, agents, foreign rights contacts, and columnists. With high stakes like these, you’ll want to spend significant time obtaining the most attention-getting testimonials for your book. Here, then, are some suggestions.

Stay focused.

The best book testimonials I see stay focused on one central idea. Because book browsers are skimming, each testimonial should hammer home one specific aspect of the book. That way, the skimmer can absorb several different aspects of your book after only a quick read of its back cover. Keep each testimonial laser-like in its focus.


Any testimonial is good, but some of the more effective ones follow one or more of these six tried-and-true guidelines:

Quantify a benefit.

If yours is a nonfiction title, see if you can get testimonials that…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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