A dear friend recently asked me to provide a quote for the jacket of a book she wrote. I’ve had the privilege of accompanying this woman along her journey to write her story since day one, so, of course, I said I’d be happy to share my opinion of her work. I was flattered that she asked, even though I had never composed a cover quote. After re-reading the endorsements on several books in my home and scouring online resources for guidance, I thought I’d share what I learned.
First, brief is best. Quotes that are between one to three sentences, or 50 to 100 words, seem to be the rule of thumb. Be concise in summing up your thoughts of the work you’re promoting.
Next, match the tone of the quote with the tone of the story. A serious quote won’t resonate with the intended audience of a comedy as well as a humorous one will, for instance. Likewise, a quote with an element of mystery will be more compelling for a thriller.
Read the work you’re endorsing. This may seem obvious, but you’ll write a better testimonial if you can focus on the parts of the book that rang true for you, shook you to your core or made you weep or laugh out loud.
Be compelling and specific. The job of the superlative is to entice the reader to buy the book. So, explain with creativity and adjectives how the work is a unique must-read in a way that compels the potential buyer to buy this book instead of another one.
It’s okay to get personal. If reading the book made you question your belief system, here’s the place to proclaim that to others. If your job became easier or your life became simpler because you adopted things you learned from reading the book into your life, say so. Likewise, if you know the author like I did, incorporate your knowledge of the writer’s expertise or persona into your comments.
Finally, write from the heart. Writers should always do this, no matter what they’re writing, in my opinion. But a book endorsement that doesn’t ring true serves no purpose. So, write with sincerity and you just might turn a would-be reader into a fan.