A Surprising Lesson in Book Marketing — Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener
5 min readJun 20, 2020


Today, I got a surprising lesson in book marketing.

It began with a LinkedIn Message from a contact I didn’t remember connecting with. He must have written a nice message for me to say yes, though!

His current message irked me at first:

My Ungenerous First Response

The focus of this book marketing message was definitely, “I need a favor. Help me, please.”

I suppose I just wasn’t feeling generous. I’d bought a lot of books lately, wanting to support both my reading habit and authors during the challenging past few months.

Who was Benjamin Hardy, PhD? Hmmm. A first degree connection on LinkedIn?

He’s never worked with me. I don’t know him. Why should I support him over the thousands of other authors I could support?

Or over buying a second or third copy of a book by one of the authors I work with?

And “Personality Isn’t Permanent”? Do I need that? I’m on a summer novel kick and am waiting for several anti-racism books to arrive. By my bed are two books I’m slogging through bit by bit, Why We Sleep, which is awesome but a bit dense with research and a fascinating qigong biography with way-too-small-print-even-with-my-reading-glasses-on. And, of course, there are my clients’ books.

Sorry, but this brain is full and the bookshelves overflowing!

Giving Ben a Chance

Still, I did more research.

Quite a few authors I like and respect endorsed the book. They found it valuable.

But I’ve just spent so much money on books. If I were going to spend my money on one more book, shouldn’t it be another book on overcoming racism? There were so many compelling titles and I only bought two.

Still, wow, what chutzpah to reach out to someone he doesn’t know and ask me to buy his book as a favor to help him and help his book become a bestseller.

Maybe This Guy Isn’t Just a Book Marketing Machine

Maybe it isn’t just chutzpah, though.

The book helps people realize they can change.

Maybe it’s his mission that drives him.

I’ll think on it and decide tomorrow…

I must have been impressed by his book marketing though, because I took a screenshot of his message and tucked it away for the future.

Persistence Pays Off

I probably would have forgotten his message but in my inbox this morning was an email:

Hmmm. He’d never emailed me before. I think he (or someone on his team) researched to find out my email address. Wow! Persistence.

This time, he focused more on the powerful potential of the book. Ben shared what others are saying about the book, such as the Linked in comment from Greg Link, above and the cover blurb by Seth Godin.

He brought it back to me and what I might get out of reading his book, as well as what people I loved might gain.

My initial reaction?

I know personality isn’t permanent because mine has changed over the years. I’ve worked on myself. My qigong practice, in particular, has made me calmer, less reactive. So I don’t need this book…

Wait, aren’t there some persistent personality quirks that get in the way of some of my most important relationships? What if this book has information I don’t know? What if it can help me go deeper?

Maybe this book could really help me and people I share it with, in addition to helping Ben achieve his bestseller dream?

So, I bought the book

Yes, from the behemoth Amazon, since that’s where he asked me to get it in order to help his numbers.

My Surprising Lesson in Book Marketing

Yes, I bought the book. And I think there are a lot of book marketing lessons in here to unpack. Here are a few of my takeaways:

  • It usually takes a few touches to sell a book. It took two marketing messages for me to buy.
  • Social proof is powerful. Get testimonials for your book from people your audience will know. Yes, you and I know this, but see how Ben Hardy used those testimonials in multiple ways?
  • People buy for multiple reasons: to help someone, wanting to see themselves as generous, to improve themselves, to do good in the world. Ben got at all those reasons in his two marketing communications to me.
  • Mood makes a difference. Sometimes people are in a more generous mood than other times! They have more give.
  • It helps to know your audience and for them to know you, but sometimes you can reach out to the unknown and have more dramatic results. (Still, at some level, I am his audience and he knows that much about me.)
  • If you have a goal, think outside the box and do things other people aren’t doing-or maybe even would be too embarrassed to do.
  • Minds change. It was interesting to write this up and witness my own process of changing my mind in reaction to Ben’s book marketing. I guess that speaks to the power of Ben’s message about change.
  • When you stand out, you can get people to do extraordinary things. After all, I don’t know this guy. But Seth Godin does. And here I am writing a whole blog post that will help him market and sell his book! Which I think, by the way, is going to be a remarkable book.

So, here I am, looking forward to delivery of Personality Isn’t Permanent by Benjamin Hardy, PhD. And, just maybe, you are considering buying it too.

What are your thoughts on changing our minds, book marketing and anything else this post brings up for you?

Originally published at https://www.lisatener.com on June 20, 2020.



Lisa Tener

An award-winning book coach & author, Lisa helps writers succeed, from idea to book deal. She writes about writing, publishing, creativity and more.