In her next behind-the-scenes instalment, Elizabeth Lovatt looks at how endorsements for a book are acquired
It’s a little quieter this month over at MIR; not only are the Birkbeck students now on Summer break (woo!) but we have a little breathing room between tasks while the issue is copy-edited and typeset. The small role I have been doing, however, has been to do with endorsements for the new issue.
Endorsements are the short quotations you see on book covers or in the front of a book, usually from other writers or reviewers. Increasingly these are coming from places like Twitter and blogs, but plenty of endorsements are still from established writers or newspapers. They serve as another kind of hook for readers who may not have heard of a new author or anthology where a recommendation from a known name can make quite the difference. You may not realise but once you are an established writer you can be inundated with such requests to “endorse” or “blurb” another writer’s book!
For MIR we thought carefully about the kind of people we wanted to approach and request an endorsement from. We began with a long list of names: a mixture of authors and writers who either had a connection to Birkbeck or to our theme of climate. We also wanted to approach not just writers but scientists, activists and other prominent people who speak publicly about climate and may be interested in the ideas and stories in our collection. Once we had a longlist this was whittled down to our most wanted, with some in reserve as we knew not everyone we approached would have the time or inclination to provide an endorsement.
Once we had our names we selected around six pieces, a mixture of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry that we felt best represented the new issue and sent these along with a letter of explanation to our top list of endorsers. We’ve had some positive responses, so now we simply have to wait and cross our fingers! The endorsements, while providing a helpful marketing angle (which is an angle that should never be discounted!), also help to situate the new issue in the publishing landscape and place us alongside other publications and writers to which we aspire. We believe in these stories and the quality of the work in MIR 16 and for those stories to be read as far and wide as possible it helps to have the support from others in the same field. Endorsements are one way of helping get the words we have so carefully chosen and edited into readers’ hands.
That’s it from me this month; more to follow as we gain momentum towards the release date with details of our upcoming launch party and performances!