Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Celebrity Endorsements

Posted on: April 5, 2009

Does it help to sell a book if comes with a ‘Celebrity’ recommendation?

I suppose it depends upon in which form the recommendation comes and how visible it is to the target audience. For instance, you might be attracted to a book which claims to be by ‘the new Stephen King,’ but if you look at the back cover of a book and find that Stephen King himself is praising it, you would (if you are a fan of that sort of thing) be more likely to part with your money than if the recommendation were not there.

The point is  that in order for a potential bookbuyer to see the famous name attached to your cover it has to be on the shelves. If you have self-published or published a POD book the only way that you can really make the connection work for you is to mention it in your marketing.

 I have a friend who self-published an excellent little self help/ positive thinking book. In his office is a poster containing the photographs of one hundred celebrities from the worlds of entertainment, sport, erc. who recommend it.

I hadn’t featured anything on my blog about this aspect of promotion, but when I invited him to contribute to my ‘Tips From Published Authors’ series he declined- because in his view as a marketing exercise it just  hadn’t worked. He felt that too much of his time had been taken up by getting hold of the endorsements.

He didn’t tell me if he had sent each of those people a copy of the book.

Another writer friend of mine, Lynn Grocott, did a very clever thing. She had written a book called ‘Cut the Strings,’ which is about her triumph over a whole string of adversities.

She was at a speaking appointment with mountaineer Chris Bonnington, who agreed to write the foreward to her book- after all, in their own very different ways, they had both climbed mountains.

Chris Bonnington’s name on the cover and recommendation inside is impressive, and is used in Lynn’s marketing.

Perhaps the most famous foreword ever was that of T.S. Eliot on a collection of Kipling’s verse. Eliot is attributed with rehabilitating Kipling, who at the time was viewed as nothing more than a jingoistic rhymster. The foreword was so successful that it became forever linked with the verse and is regarded as a piece of literature in its own right.

Surely it goes without saying that a celebrity assessment of your work will have far more authority if it comes from someone who has some relationship to what you are doing. I once interviewed a man for a care job, and at the end he proudly produced a letter of commendation from a celebrity. The celebrity was the star of a current Science Fiction film. His protegee may have been a dab-hand with a sonic screwdriver or lightsabre, but would he be able to assist someone having an epileptic seizure without panicking?

He didn’t get the job.

 There must be a lesson in that somewhere. For job hunting and book marketing… and for life, I suppose.

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