Published: Fri, 10/07/22
I’m serious. I could really use your editing help.
Would you edit my book?
The manuscript is just shy of 400 hundred pages. And I hope you can get it done by the end of next week. Also, err, I can’t really afford to pay you much, but I suspect you won’t want any money anyway, because you really love my emails, right, ?
Now while you take a sec to think whether you want to jump all over my undeniably attractive offer, I want to tell you about a subtle, very powerful way to get more book reviews, social media shares, and even sales…
And to do that I need to tell you about one of my favourite psychologists.
Dr Robert Cialdini is a professor of marketing psychology, and in his book, ‘Influence’, he writes about an encounter with a boy scout.
This plucky little lad walks up to Cialdini and asks him straight up if he’d buy some tickets for a circus show performed by his scout group.
Thinking of a thousand better ways to spend his time, Cialdini politely declines. So the boy asks if he’d simply buy a couple of chocolate bars instead.
And Cialdini, without batting an eyelid, buys two bars–even though he doesn’t like chocolate.
Being a curious sort, Cialdini thinks long and hard about this interaction. He talks to his research assistants, and probably even his dog until finally, he lands upon the answer:
Now, you probably already know about reciprocity. It’s why so many authors give away a free book…in exchange for a reader’s email address.
Cialdini talks about reciprocity–the idea that if you do something nice, the other person feels obliged to pay you back in some way.
We see it all the time, in every walk of life, not just for reader magnets. For example, when someone invites you over for dinner, you later invite them back in return.
So what’s going on with the boy scout?
Cialdini suspects that the power of reciprocity is at play in the form of a concession. The boy made a big ask—for Cialdini to commit to an event he didn’t want to attend. So the boy conceded with another option—a significantly more reasonable option.
There was a sense of obligation on Cialdini’s part to also concede something, so he ended up buying the chocolates.
What’s this got to do with book marketing?
Well, how many times do you ask readers to leave book reviews? How many times do you ask them to share the news about your latest release?
And how often does it actually pan out? I mean, if you ask a hundred readers for a review, do you get a handful of people actually doing it…or just a couple…or just one…or even NONE?
You’re making quite reasonable asks of your readers, yet usually, they don’t follow through.
So do you see how this technique could be useful? I can. I have some more thoughts on it, but I’ll leave you to think through how you might use this technique to get more of a response from people.
In the meantime, about that editing… My editor has ghosted me. I’ve got 87,456 words of shonky grammar that need correcting by next Saturday. Can you help?
No? Oh, that’s too bad…I was really banking on your help, and I’m not really sure what I’ll do without you…oh woe is me…
But if you can’t help with the editing, perhaps you’d be kind enough to sign up for my emails?
Here’s a handy link: