Sometimes asking someone for help can feel awkward, making it difficult to figure out what to say. If you’re stuck getting started, here are some ideas and sample requests you can model your own emails after.
Of course, if the person you’re reaching out to is someone you know well, then these examples will only serve to remind you which details you need to share with them. They don’t need to be as formal and linear as they need to be when you’re talking with someone you have a more professional relationship with.
Influencers are people you want for endorsements and to be part of your launch team. Their name recognition and authority can go a long way in driving a successful launch for you. Before you ask for your support, though, make sure that you are 100% prepared and respectful both of their time and reputation. The easier you make it for them to support you, the more likely they will if they can.
That means giving them as much time as possible to read your material, highlighting one or two chapters you think would be especially of interest to them. In your request, you might also offer to write two or three sample endorsements for them to consider and make their own or a theme you’d like them to touch on.
For example, when I asked Ivan Misner, the founder of BNI, to endorse The Best is Yet to Come, I asked him to specifically touch on the message of hope offered within the book. With all the other endorsements I’d received thus far, no one had mentioned it and it’s an important theme to the book.
The resulting endorsement read:
This book is about finding hope against all odds, even in the darkest of situations. We all face pain, disappointments, heartaches and struggles in life that can sometimes lead down a seemingly hopeless path of deep devastation; yet Tara shows us there is always hope. Through brave and inspiring honesty about her own difficult personal experiences, she shows us that hope is always within our grasp if we make the choice to embrace it and that, no matter our situation, the best really can be yet to come.
Ivan Misner, Ph.D., NY Times Bestselling Author and Founder of BNI®
So as you write your own request for an influencer’s support with your book launch, here’s an example of what you might want to say:
Thank you for the work that you’ve done in <their chosen field>. As I’ve followed you online, I’ve learned <share some key things they’ve taught you> from you. And I’m truly grateful.
I’m writing today because I’m hoping that you might be willing to support me a little further.
My new book, <Title>, is being released on <Date>.
I was hoping you might be willing to take a look at it and possibly offer an endorsement for it, if you like what you see.
I’ve attached a pre-release copy. Chapter <x> on <subject> may resonate with you because <reason why>.
I know that your time is limited. But if you’d be willing to take a look and let me know if you’re able to help, I’d appreciate it. If I don’t hear from you by <date>, I’ll reach out to you again, just to make sure you received this message.
If it makes things any easier, I can provide a couple of sample endorsements I’d love to receive and that you can modify to make your own.
Either way, thanks for all that you do!
If they agree to endorse your book, then when they send their endorsement, you may choose at that time to ask if they’d be willing to also post it on Amazon as well. If you do that, be sure to provide a direct link so that it’s as easy as possible for them to say “yes” to.
If your book listing isn’t up yet, then save this step for a later date. At that time, write to them letting them know that the release date is approaching and that you appreciate their endorsement of the book. Provide them with their endorsement text again (don’t expect them to remember where they put it) and a link to the listing, asking them if they’d be willing to post it on Amazon for you.
As your launch date approaches, you may choose to reach out to them with information about the resources you’re providing your launch team and asking if they’d be willing to participate as well.
If you ask for all three things up front in the same email, it will feel overwhelming and they’ll be less likely to say, “Yes,” if they don’t know you. By “stepping” the request, they can bow out at any time, but whatever help they do give you will be beneficial to your launch.
It is very important to have a strategy in place that drives book reviews. This goes beyond what you print in or on the book. It starts first with reviews on your book listings on sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Shelfari and others. But it also includes bloggers, podcasts and more.
The focus of this particular outreach letter is to ask for reviews on book listings. The reason we’re starting there is because these reviews have the greatest potential to sway buying decisions.
Think about it like this…
When you go to the grocery store, the items nearest the checkout are frequently low-ticket items purchased as an impulse buy.
The closer you are to the point of purchase, the more likely a positive impression will tip the scales in your favor.
In addition, you can influence Amazon’s search algorithm and increase the likelihood of them promoting your title in their newsletters if you have a substantial number of reviews and a solid sales rank. Ideally, you want at least 50 reviews. 100 is preferable. The more you have, the more momentum you build and marketing your book simply becomes that much easier.
Reviewers don’t have to be people you know or who are familiar with your work. They simply must be people interested in your subject matter.
I’ll write more in future about how to get reviews using social media, but for this post, I’m going to focus on sending an email to someone you know to ask for a review.
Here’s a sample you can use as a template for your own message:
I hope you are doing well.
I’m writing because I have something I’m hoping you’d be interested in helping me with. My new book, <Title>, is coming out on <Date>. It’s been a long time coming and I’m really excited about it.
I need to find reviewers for it, though. The more reviews I have on the book listing when it launches, the better off I’ll be.
Would you be interested in reading it and leaving an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads or whatever other review site you like to use?
I can send you a pre-release digital copy if you’re interested.
I’m hoping to have as many reviews as possible already on the listing page by the launch date. But even if you can add it within the first month after its release, I’d appreciate it.
Let me know if you’re interested or not.
Some authors include an incentive in the message as well. For example, they might offer to send a printed copy of the book once it’s released or to offer bonus material.
Whether you offer an incentive or not is up to you. But if you have the resources to do it, it’s a nice acknowledgment of their time and effort.
Keep in mind, though, that you cannot offer to pay for a review, good, bad or indifferent. You’re seeking honest reviews, so you don’t want to make the mistake of giving the impression of bribing anyone.
While it takes a bit more proactive management, you may decide not to mention any incentive at all when requesting a review, but then circle back around after they’ve given one to send them a “thank you” gift of some kind. Acknowledging their time and effort is important, even if it’s only to say “thank you.”
Last, but certainly not least, are your peers. If you have colleagues who serve in the same industry or collaborators whose target market is the same as yours, having them introduce you to their following can expose you to a whole new audience already interested in what you have to share.
Depending on your relationship with your peer, this request can take many different forms.
You might want them to partner with you on a joint venture. For instance, perhaps you know someone whose own book is intended for the same reader. Why not bundle them together as a special promotion and offer both titles to each of your audiences for a discounted price?
Or perhaps they have a webinar or podcast that you could be a guest on that allows you to highlight the topic of your book and make a special offer to their audience?
Or maybe they’d be interested in an affiliate deal where they can sell copies of your book and earn a percentage of the proceeds.
There are plenty of ways that this can play out, so I’m not going to provide a sample email here.
Needless to say, you’re going to want to demonstrate that you know who they are, what audience you share, why your material is beneficial to them and their audience, and what you propose doing together.
It may take some imagination, but it’s where the fun comes in. People helping people. You win. Your peer wins. And your shared audience wins.
Influencers, clients and peers all are welcome additions to any launch team.
Typically, you’ll ask people you know fairly well to support you. Or you may not know them at all, like your followers, but they feel they know you and they love what you do.
Either way, the “ask” here is fairly simple. You want to communicate your excitement about the book and its value to your readers. And you want to assure your launch team members that you’ll be making it as easy as possible for them to support you.
We often put together a page of content they can use with sample status updates, shareable images, links to book listings, contact information in case they have questions and more.
It also includes our launch schedule and various ways that they can support the process.
Here’s an example of what that email might look like.
I can hardly believe it! My new book, <Title>, is almost finished. It’ll be released on <date>.
This book is for <intended audience>.
I’ve put a lot of my heart and soul into this book, and I’m excited to finally have it see the light of day. It’s going to <positive impact>.
I was wondering if you’d like to be part of my launch team? If you’re interested, you can sign up here: <URL>.
You’ll receive a PDF of the book so that you can enjoy it too, along with a link to a page with sample status updates, shareable images, links to the book listings, contact info for my publisher in case you have questions and more.
I know some people are very busy. So we kept things as simple as possible. Our status updates are designed so that you can prefill your social media calendar (like Hootsuite, Buffer or PostPlanner) and let it run on autopilot if you want. Or you can participate regularly in the different activities taking place.
I’m hoping that you’ll help me build a buzz about the book. So if you’re interested, please join my launch team here: <URL>.
I’d really appreciate it!