Lately, I’ve been noticing who has endorsed the books I’m reading. I find it interesting to see what names I recognize and whether I agree with their assessment of the book. However, the endorsements rarely affect my decision to read or not read the book—usually I’ve already decided that, based on the story or other things I’ve heard about the book.
For example, I was excited when Francine Rivers gave a glowing endorsement of Bonnie Grove’s book Talking to the Dead. Rivers is one of my all-time favourite authors and I was quite impressed that she read and recommended Grove’s debut novel. However, Talking to the Dead was already on my must-read list, from what I’d heard about it on Grove’s blog and other blogs.
On the other hand, I just finished reading Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner, and didn’t like it. Yet as I scanned the page of endorsements, three names caught my eye. Ane Mulligan, editor and co-owner of Novel Journey, said, “I was captivated by the appealing characters and the story’s underlying mystery.” I found myself wondering if I was missing something, that she liked the book and I didn’t. Jane Kirkpatrick and Mary E. Demuth both praised Forkner’s other book, Ruby Among Us.
I’ve seen discussions among new writers about trying to get endorsements for their work and whether endorsements really sell books. Randy Ingermanson wrote a column in the May 09 issue of Christian Fiction Online Magazine about how infrequently he endorses books. Big-name authors have lots to do besides reading new novels and writing nice things about them. Which makes it all the more impressive when I do see big-name authors endorsing books like Talking to the Dead or Ruby Among Us.
Yet I still wonder… do endorsements sell books? Do you notice them? Do they influence your decision to buy or not to buy the book?