How Not To Promote Your New Book On LinkedIn

B.J. Mendelson got a pitch to help promote a book from a person he's never actually talked to on LinkedIn. Here's what happened next ...

I just got this message on LinkedIN. The author is not going to be identified because I don’t want to embarrass them. As I mentioned yesterday, I don’t fault people for being bad at getting publicity for themselves. I mean, have you SEEN some of the people out there giving marketing advice? Some of their biggest success stories consist of them marketing themselves and nothing else. That should be a major red flag right there, but it’s often not for dumb reasons we’ll get into some other time.

Now. I know a thing or two about marketing books. My book is not only still relevant a full year after publication, but people are still buying and debating it today. That’s not bragging. That’s fact. Was the launch perfect? No. I got kneecapped by my publisher and was told to sit and do nothing for three months. Seriously. That’s what they told me. (Which, for you prospective authors out there, is proof enough that you should NEVER EVER TRUST YOUR PUBLISHER when it comes to promoting your book. They can and will make dumb decisions that can ruin you.)

Luckily, I’ve been doing this marketing and PR thing since I was eighteen. So while their order to do nothing nearly crippled the book, the fact that I was able to recover and that it’s still moving copies today, should vouch for some of what I’m about to share with you.

I’m not saying I’m a book marketing expert. But. I’m sharing this with you because, as I just mentioned, some of the people giving marketing advice on the Web are really sketchy, and you should question their qualifications when it comes to the subject they’re talking about.

Anyway, let’s look at this thing I got on LinkedIN just now:


“Hi There!

Hope all is well 🙂

Some great news…my new novel, XXXXXXXXX, was selected as one of Lauren Conrad’s top ten picks for fall reading and now there’s a vote to pick one of those ten as her book club selection of the month.

If you’d be so kind as to take a moment to leave a comment that you vote for my book, I’d be SO appreciative.

Here’s the link: (Link Removed)

Many, many thanks in advance! And, as always, happy to return the favor and then some!”


Yeah, no. Don’t ever do this. Like, if you take anything away from what I’m about to tell you, let it be that. You do not want to copy this sort of approach in any way, shape, or form.

Here’s why:


1. I don’t know who this person is. We have never talked. Not even once. We’re connected on LinkedIN, but I’m connected to almost a thousand other people on LinkedIN. So if I don’t know who you are, why am I going to care about what you’re sending me? I’m not. I connect with people because I use LinkedIn as a google for people, which is one of the platform’s strengths. But all because you’re now coming up in my search results doesn’t necessarily mean I know you very well, or well enough for you to spam me.

2. It’s bad enough that I don’t actually know who this person is, nor have I ever communicated with them, but what I’m being sent doesn’t have any sort of personalization whatsoever. It’s pretty much spam. You can’t just bulk send stuff to people anymore. It may work if they’ve opted-in to get that sort of messaging from you, and someone can probably argue that connecting with someone on LinkedIN is opting-in, but I don’t see it that way. Personalization is everything when it comes to marketing and public relations now. Everything should be personalized. Everything. You want to know why? Because it doesn’t take that long to do, and while it certainly doesn’t scale once you’ve reached a certain point (unless you have the resources of Amazon), it is absolutely worth doing.

3. LinkedIn (and most social media platforms) are pretty terrible at CONSISTENTLY driving results because of a multitude of factors that go on with when, how, why, and where people consume the messaging received on them. So if you want people to act on something for you, messaging them through LinkedIN is a really bad idea. In fact, it’s incredibly stupid because, on most LinkedIN profiles, you can pull up the contact information for that person. So the odds are pretty good that, perhaps with some additional googling, you can find that person’s email address and phone number. And if you can find that? CALL THAT PERSON. Surprise the crap out of them. Or email them if you’re really shy, but don’t just bulk send them stuff on LinkedIN. I know I already said make the effort, but it’s worth repeating: Make the effort. Do some research, get the contact information correct, and then make your pitch.

You want to get the most value out of your presence on LinkedIN? Go through all your contacts and create a spreadsheet. Enter their first name, last name, and then their phone number and email address. Then go through a couple of them each day and reach out to that person. DON’T PITCH THEM. Just ask how they’re doing, and most important of all, how can you help them do that? Then just do that a little a day until you go down the whole list.

4. Finally, every social media platform is different. Especially when it comes to their demographics. So this particular book doesn’t really fit into the demographic that primarily uses LinkedIN. The smart thing to do would be to find the demographic that is most closely aligned with the target readers of this book, and then set up a presence there and utilize some of the ideas I just mentioned in order to sell them your book.

I’ve been working on a Slideshare presentation about the best, most reliable way to promote a book that’ll generate sales, and I’ll share that with you when I’m done. But until then, why don’t you leave some more suggestions about how this person can better promote their book on LinkedIn in the comments section below.