How to safely get an endorsement?
December 8, 2008 6:06 PM   Subscribe

OK, I've posted on this subject before. Each time, I'm a little further along. Here is where I am right now. I've been working on a book since March. The idea upon which the book is based has been getting a lot of attention recently and has consistently been in the news for about four years.

After a recent post about some impending national publicity, it was suggested that I create a proposal and find an agent to help distribute the book. The agent I found says that the marketing portion of the proposal needs to have endorsements about the book from authors a publisher would recognize. This is to prove that the agent isn't the only one who thinks the idea is viable.

So, I've searched the Internet for the email addresses of all of the authors of the books I compared to my own in the proposal. Agents want this done to show a publisher that few or many books on a subject might show market potential. Anyway, I've found the email addresses for the authors of about half of the books in my proposal.

Should I have any hesitation of explaining this possibly novel concept to established authors who write books on parallel concepts in hopes of getting their endorsement? Are their endorsements likely?
posted by CollectiveMind to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I gotta tell ya, in this economy, it's unlikely that a writer without a proven track record - e.g., have you actually written a complete book start to finish? - is going to get a book deal without having written the actual book, no matter how many people endorse you.

And the same thing for endorsements. Unless you're a proven expert in the field, it's unlikely another author is going to endorse you unless you have a CV of work behind you.

You might want to go to a community like Readerville or Backspace and ask some writers and agents with abundant track records about this.

My $.02: Don't spend your time getting endorsements. Spend your time finishing the book.
posted by micawber at 6:21 PM on December 8, 2008

If this is non-fiction, then it's common as dirt to secure the promise of a foreword and endorsements before you write it. It's part of the platform.

I would be more concerned with familiarizing yourself with the other authors' work, than I would be with them stealing your ideas. They've already done this- including the part where they secured endorsements and forewords from other authors.

But my question to you is- is this YOUR agent? Or just some random agent? If it's YOUR agent, and s/he isn't being dinged on the Preditors and Editor's list, on the Writer Beware lists, on the Bewares board at Absolute Write, then I'd listen to him/her.

If it's just some random agent, then I'd buy a copy of How to Write a Book Proposal, write the proposal, query legitimate agents until you sign with one, and then listen to him/her.
posted by headspace at 6:24 PM on December 8, 2008 [3 favorites]

I have never heard of an agent asking an unpublished author with no publishing history to contact published writers cold to try and drum up some blurbs or get their buy-in on a proposed novel idea, it just doesn't make sense.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:57 PM on December 8, 2008 [1 favorite] really depends. Some authors do not blurb anyone for any reason, so you're not likely to get theirs. Some blurb anyone who asks, and theirs aren't worth much. Most will only blurb on the full manuscript, even for non-fiction, so a lot of proposals include realistic ideas of who to contact when the manuscript is finished, rather than actual endorsements. They can't praise your writing without reading it, after all!

But most importantly, most authors will only blurb someone who comes recommended to them through the agent...and in my experience, agents HELP their authors get blurbs (by talking to other authors in their stable). They don't send them out to find their own, especially for a not-yet-published author.

Is your agent experienced? And not just in book publishing in general but in non-fiction, hopefully with your subtopic specifically? Is he or she with a reputable agency?
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 5:27 AM on December 9, 2008

Authors receive tons of books from other authors looking for a blurb. They may read only a small portion of them. Work your network of friends & family to find notable people who might be willing to write a blurb. If you are an expert, presumably you've met people in the field, and some of them may be willing to write a blurb.
posted by theora55 at 3:40 PM on December 9, 2008

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