Getting Approbations and Endorsements
What Is An Approbation?
Do you have a work that can be recommended by rabbis or other notable people? Halachic works, siddurim and other authoritative sefarim (books) often contain a rabbi’s endorsements called “Haskama” or an “Approbation”. It is up to the author to obtain these. They should ideally be procured before your book ever goes to print, as it becomes a part of it. If you have already gotten a copyright, and/or submitted your work to the copyright office, it can still be added to the beginning or end of the book. Since it does not affect any major part of your own work, you will not have to re-submit it for copyright as a second edition.
How Do I Go About Getting An Approbation?
Get the contact information of the rabbi you are interested in getting the endorsement from. Either send a physical manuscript or email a pdf to the rabbi. Ideally, you should send out a few, as it doesn’t hurt to get more than one. The more the better! Once you have sent your work, they will send you a letter back with their approval, usually on their own letterhead. It may be in English, Hebrew, or handwritten in Hebrew script, as seen to the right. This will be a page in the book, generally, in the beginning, preceding everything else. If you are lucky enough to acquire more than one, put the most revered or knowledgeable rabbi first.
Keep in mind that some rabbis do not give endorsements as a personal policy. If this happens, do not take it personally or become offended. It is not uncommon and is applicable to anyone, not just you. If you know of someone who is an expert in your subject matter, try getting an endorsement from them as well. It never hurts to try.
Funding for Your Project
Fundraising in Jewish communities can be easier than other communities. It can depend on the time of year. The most ideal fundraising time is usually just before Rosh Hashana, and throughout the Hebrew month of Tishrei. If you aren’t ready to publish at that time, don’t worry. Any time is good for giving tzedaka.
If you have friends or family, they can help spread the word about your book, or publicize it in your community through email groups or synagogue newsletters or bulletin boards. Offer dedication spots in the front or back of your book for a set fee, such as $360 for a whole page, $180 for a half-page, or break it down even further, depending on the chosen size of your book.
Dedications and Memorials
Much like advertising, you can offer chances for people to fund your book by making dedications or memorials to their loved ones. State how a book dedication lasts forever. These may be offered for community programs or dinners, but stress how for a book, it lasts forever, far longer than an ad in a one-time program or an event that few will remember later on.