I’ve never really gotten this endorsement thing.
I’m not convinced how useful they are. My first book with Zondervan, Eyes of Elisha, had two endorsements by suspense authors who had “gone before me.” James Scott Bell and Terri Blackstock. After that, we’ve never bothered with endorsements again. Am I hurting sales because of this lack? Don’t think so.
1. The CBA novelist world isn’t all that big. Especially when you’re talking about novelists who’ve been around long enough to be “recognized.” So I notice that the same endorsement names keep popping up again and again. I think this is not good. I think an endorser loses credibility by over-endorsing.
Now, I don’t mean credibility in terms of not being believed as honest. I mean simply that the endorser’s name loses that “oomph” power. How much weight can an author’s name carry if he/she endorses three, four, five, or more novels a year?
2. Authors evidently don’t think it’s important that endorsers stick to their own genres. I disagree. I can’t understand why new authors of historicals, cozy mysteries, romance and the like ask me to endorse their books. Why should my name have any weight in genres in which I do not work and have not built a reputation? By the same token, I can’t understand why, for example, a known historical author would agree to put her/his name on a suspense.
Bottom line, I think our industry treats endorsements too lightly. The result is that they’ve become less than meaningful.
No doubt I’m coming at this issue from my eyes-always-on-marketing viewpoint. And believe me, I’ve come to my opinions through learning from my mistakes. But to my way of thinking, my name as an author is all I have. My name stands for my brand, my reputation. I have to protect my name with my readers at all costs. After all, I've worked years to build what name I have. So I am not going to put my name on another’s book lightly. To me, my name on someone’s book means, “Readers who know my name and what I write—if you like my kind of story, I suggest you read this book also, because I believe you will like it as well.”
I am asked to endorse books a lot. Truth is, I can rarely endorse any these days due to my own writing schedule. This reality in itself keeps my name from being overused. And if I do make that rare exception, it is only for books in my genre.
For my own novels, the only endorsements I’d seek would be from suspense novelists with readerships much larger than mine, and who rarely endorse. Again, this is the kind of name that pulls weight with me. I’d be crazy not to be giddy over an endorsement from Koontz or King or Patterson or Clark.
So how about you, BGs? Am I the only one of these opinions? When you see those long lists of endorsers in the front of a book, does that prompt you to buy the novel? When you see a name used again and again, does that name lose the oomph factor with you?
Read Part 2