Tuesday, February 12, 2013


During the recent elections, I often wondered about the concept of celebrity endorsements. Why should I, or any other voter, care which sports figure or movie star thought a particular politician was better able to hold office than his/her opponent? If I want expertise in politics, I certainly don't think I'll go to a celebrity. I'll ask someone knowledgeable in the area, someone whose judgment I respect.

The same can be said of products. Why should I care if some familiar TV or movie face who is a hired pitchman (or woman) for a product lends themselves to a 30 or 60 second commercial for it? I don't know of anyone who is unaware that these endorsements are the result of a paychck, not necessarily a knowledge of the headache powder or kitchen appliance or hemorrhoid cream. Why do we still see these commercials? Because they apparently work.

So what about book endorsments? These aren't paid endorsements. And if I can't give an honest one, I don't give one at all. That's the way with most authors. That having been said, just because I like a particular book may not mean that you'll like it, as well. Books, movies, TV programs, and lots of other things are matters of individual taste. So, even though my endorsement isn't commercially driven, it may not mean a lot to you.

So, what's your opinion of endorsements? Do you buy Hanes underwear because Michael Jorden endorses them? Does the appearance of Kaley Cuoco in a Toyota commercial sway you toward that brand of auto? What do you think? I'm anxious to hear.

(photo via FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


Anne Mateer said...

I have had several reader (not writer) friends tell me they definitely look at endorsements on books. Which was part of what led me to solicit endorsements for my third novel. We'll see if it helps spark any new readers!

Richard Mabry said...

Anne, I think the reviews are mixed--some readers depend on endorsements, some don't. But, like you, I don't dare do without them.
Then again, I loved the Kaley Cuoco commercial for Toyota during the Super Bowl, but I didn't trade in my Subaru for a Camry afterward.

Theresa Lode said...

I'll pay particular attention to endorsements on non-fiction books...say, Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, etc.

But I also know many times those endorsements aren't necessarily written by the person. But nonetheless, they are lending their name so that's good enough for me.

Endorsements given by vapid celebrities on products can actually turn me away from trying something, cynic that I am. ;)

Richard Mabry said...

Theresa, I can only speak to endorsements of my own books, and the endorsements bearing my name on books written by others. In those cases there's no ghost-writing of the endorsements. When I can't truthfully recommend a book, I just remain silent.

And as for the paid endorsers, like you I find they tend to turn me away from the products.