So I’m active on LinkedIn. I try to keep social media down to the essentials, but you never know when opportunity might rap its knuckles next to your shingle. When LinkedIn began they ran the warning that you should only connect with people you actually knew, since people can say bad things about you and hurt your job prospects. Since that kept me down to about a dozen connections (many academics, being secure with tenure, don’t bother with LinkedIn), I eventually followed the advice of a wise friend and accepted invitations from people I didn’t know because, as he pointed out, they might be the ones with jobs to offer. That made sense. There is a flip-side to it, however, and that is people think I have work to offer. I don’t. At my job I have no hiring capacity whatsoever. (I can feel the links being broken even as I write this.)
The vast majority of people who contact me on LinkedIn want something from me. They obviously don’t read this blog. (See paragraph above.) Many people send me messages wanting me to publish their books. Editors, my dear and gentle readers, work in specific disciplines. No one contacting me on LinkedIn has written a book about the Bible, although my profile indicates that’s my gig. And besides, many companies, including mine, have policies against doing business over social media. I often think of this because the book business is easily researched. There’s a ton of information both online and on shelf about how to get published. Messaging someone on LinkedIn is not recommended.
Writing a book takes a lot of effort. I know, because I’ve done it a number of times. If you’re going to put years into doing something, it pays to spend at least a few minutes learning about how the publishing industry works. I made rookie mistakes in my younger days, of course. But that led me to learn about publishing even before I had a job in the industry. Quite apart from my job, I freely admit to being a book nerd. And publishing, despite its many problems, is an inherently fascinating industry. Although I’ve had academic books accepted for publication, I still struggle getting my fiction to press (I have had short stories published, but my novels remain unread). I won’t contact other publishers I know through LinkedIn, though. I’d rather have it be a personal experience whether it’s acceptance or rejection. And that’s something social media just can’t replicate.