Advice for writers

The Placebo Effect for Authors

Placebo pills
 
We all know what the placebo effect is. It’s the impact of belief on outcomes. If you believe a drug is going to work, it does, for some people, even if what you get is just sugar. For more on the medical implications of this, see the American cancer society.
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What they call it is the Expectation Effect, the effect of expectations on outcomes. Effectively it means that if you believe something will work, that belief impacts the outcome in a high percentage of cases.
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So how can writers use this effect? One of the little discussed effects of herd behaviour in humans, is the impact of cultural arbiters in the definition of what is great art, great theater, and great writing.3d white plastic medical container for pills or capsules
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If people keep saying that Fifty Shades or The Goldfinch are worth reading, the herd follows. In the case of The Goldfinch it achieved best seller status while also being the book most readers didn’t finish.
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And we are in an age where cultural arbiters are shifting. A lengthy review on Amazon from a top reviewer can have more impact than a newspaper review.
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Here are some suggestions for using the Expectation Effect to impact book sales and our careers.
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1. Project a sense of self belief, which will eventually take root inside you, so that you are driven forward each day to act as if you will be successful and take actions that will contribute to that success.
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2. Use positive language, which publishers use, such as Breakthrough, Mind Blowing, Extraordinary, Essential. You should, of course, have some unique element to your work, which you can attach to the above, and your work should be edited remorselessly, but given that you have achieved that professional standard, it is up to you to express the uniqueness of your work in a seriously positive way.
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group of young ecologists
3. Get supporters. If you have a team of people who will tell you, as publishers used to, that your work is fantastic, and who are willing to back you publicly, the impact of any negative comments will be lessened, both on you and on your readers.
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I am not suggesting that writers should try to sell mutton as lamb, but where you have something that could be described as lamb, please do take that self-belief pill and travel down the rabbit hole to a place where belief, positive language and support can tip the balance in your favour.
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If you want to know more about harnessing the placebo effect for medical purposes,this is a good place to start.
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Good luck with this application of everyday magic.
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Laurence O’Bryan teaches digital marketing at diploma level, has been training authors in digital marketing for 4 years and is also a published author with Harper Collins in the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and in 10 other languages. His Puzzle series of thrillers has also been optioned by a Hollywood production company for a television series.  

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Laurence started BooksGoSocial.com site to help authors get discovered. His background of twenty five years in marketing and training contributes to his helpful and results focused style. For Laurence’s book promotion service see TheBookPromoter.com.

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