Publishing a book and claiming the title “Published Author” instantly boosts your credibility as an expert in your field. It helps you get new clients and attract attention of people who’ve never looked at you before.
And when you publish that book, be sure to explain why you were already an expert BEFORE you wrote the book. This is where your “About the Author” page really needs to highlight your knowledge, training, and degrees.
But what do you do if you’re just getting started and don’t have a lot of history, credibility, expertise to put on your “About the Author” page?
Then call in a third-party expert!
When I was working on a pet project book where I had ZERO credibility about the subject I knew I was going to have to do SOMETHING to boost my credibility and help with sales.
Before I go any further, it’s not a genre that really NEEDS a boatload of credibility. Plenty of people write successful, helpful titles with no more knowledge than I have. (I’m not writing about finance or romance or legal stuff.) But it is in the health industry and other than being healthy, I really don’t have any creds to offer.
- What I did have is a friend.
- Who’s a PhD.
- In the health industry.
Now HE has credibility, right? Even without telling you exactly what his degree is in (pharmacy) just by telling you he’s got his doctorate you already view him in higher respect for this health-related-topic than me.
And you should!
I asked him to write the foreword to my book: Drink Up! 100 Recipes for Fruit & Herb Infused Water
Out of all the other books in this niche, mine stands out because I have a foreword written by a person who can start his name with “Dr.” and end it with “PharmD” (his actual degree).
And trust me, that boost of credibility means an added boost in sales. (And getting people to drink more water – which was WHY I wanted to write the book!)
How did I get him to write this foreword for me?
It was super hard and took a lot of work and effort and was scary and…
I sent him a message and asked him.
- He asked for a bit more details about the book. (I was prepared with a rough draft to send him.)
- He said he wasn’t much of a writer. (I explained I needed 3-5 paragraphs. More details about what is IN those below.)
- He asked for clarification about what I wanted. (Two-week deadline. Please include your official title and how you want me to list your name.)
And then he said okay.
Now, here’s something to remember: I happened to have a friend who is a practicing pharmacist with a PhD in pharmacy and had the time to help me out. For free.
But what if I didn’t have a friend who would be the PERFECT credible person to write my foreword?
Six Degrees, Kim!
My mom is always shouting (I mean that literally) Six Degrees, Kim!
What she means is that it’s really easy to find somebody who can help you out if you just ask one question:
“Who do you know who knows ______?”
And that blank can be a specific person: “Who do you know who knows Tony Robbins?” or it can be a skill set “Who do you know who knows how to read & write Italian?”
All you need to do is reach out to your network and ask the question: “Who do you know who knows ______?” (It’s important to mention that the question isn’t “Do YOU, friend, know how to do ABC?” The answer is usually no. If it was yes, you’d have asked them for help already!)
So, now you know how to FIND the person who can write your foreword, how do you go about asking them for their endorsement?
I’d prepare these items in advance of your conversation:
- Book draft or proposal. (I’m writing a book about how doing X helps your health.)
- Exactly what you need. (3-5 paragraphs.)
- When you need it by. (Deadline: May 15.)
Let’s talk about what makes an effective foreword:
- The expert needs to establish his or her credibility. This doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out thing! A few sentences about their training, work experience, expertise, etc.
- Show that they agree with your book’s idea, premise, or philosophy. They are supporting and edifying YOU and YOUR BOOK.
- Close by an endorsement of YOU, the author. This can be endorsing your research, thought-process, innovativeness, etc.
- When you are contacting the person you need to:
Explain how you got their name. (Hopefully your friend will have offered and introduction!)
- Thank them for their time.
- Outline your project.
- Ask if they’d be willing to write a short foreword.
- Share exactly what you’re looking for and when you need it by.
Here’s the key: this is a busy professional you’re talking to. You want to be clear and succinct and respectful of their time. You don’t need to send them the book draft (or book proposal) if they don’t request it.
In my experience, most people are more than happy to help you out. And they’ll do it for free.
But don’t forget your manners! Even if they say no, send a thank you card (go for the big bucks and MAIL a real, handwritten card!) If they say yes, send them the thank you card AND a copy of the book.