Priming, Sleeping Beauty, and the World’s Most Comfortable Couch

Can you fit this couch into your memory?

[This post originally appeared as a four part series on the now many times defunct BizMediaScience blog. I’m reposting here at the request of Joe Della Rosa. Thank him, should you get a chance.]

Priming, Sleeping Beauty, and the World’s Most Comfortable Couch, Part 1
I was told it’s time to buy new furniture by She Who Must Be Obeyed (with respect to Rumpole of the Bailey). I have a strict requirement for furniture, especially couches; they must be long enough for me to stretch out on so I can take a nap without disturbing our dog (he usually takes his position at my feet when I’m lying on the couch) and they must have a significant “cush” factor. I like couches that engulf me in a warm embrace.

Susan, my wife aka She Who Must Be Obeyed, knows this and I trust her to pick out furniture that I’ll be comfortable in. She makes the first pass, I get called in to determine cushiness, and then we go home and wait for the appropriate furniture to be delivered. Imagine my chagrin when she showed me her first choice, a post modern bauhaus piece…
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Professional Authors’ Groups

I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me as a member
– Groucho Marx

Anybody know if there’s a 12-Step meeting for researchers? I need to get to one. “Hello, my name is Joseph. I’m a researcher.” “Hello, Joseph.”

A few weeks back I polled five-hundred authors with:

I’m looking into authors’ groups and organizations. Do you belong to any? If yes, your thoughts and opinions of it/them? And could you provide a link if you think them worthy?

Two-hundred-eighteen responded (just under half. I can provide percentages/numbers for other Researchers Anonymous members).


  • Most people aren’t part of any author groups. The reasons varied from 1) cost to 2) unclear usefulness to 3) Covid followed by various scatterings. The “cost v usefulness” quadrant was most heavily populated. Most professional groups had upfront costs and that’s where “usefulness” dominated, a “what do I get for my money?” mood. I suspect (no substantial evidence, more based on conversations and email exchanges) as the industry matures (ie, as the gulf between serious authors and “Hey! I got a book published!” writers widens) a similar gulf between “Let’s get work done” and “Let’s have a party!” authors groups will occur.
  • Online groups dominated the responses and most people prefer online groups because nothing is required to participate. Also, few find online groups helpful with Goodreads groups standing out as least helpful (one person offered the discussions were painful). Most people offered they directed messages from these groups are directed to spammish buckets and rarely read them. I asked “What do you use the group for?” The answer usually came down to “To promote my books.” When asked, “Why don’t you do more with the groups?” the answers often came down to “It’s just people promoting their own books.” Budda-boom!
  • The following responses are based on 1) clustered responses (a significant number of responses clustered around a definable (binary) result and/or 2) the results were interesting although not statistically significant. My tendency to go for a binary (YES/NO) is because I can measure neither expectations nor satisfaction level while I can codify positive/negative response regardless of where they are on the positive/negative scale.

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Join EU actress @Sabine_Rossbach and author @JosephCarrabis for Episode 2, “Massively Scarred”, of The Augmented Man Video Series

As in Episode 1 “Good Run, Trailer?”, Sabine and I discuss the book’s meaning and our decision process in creating this new book video trailer format.

Prepare for Episode 2 “Massively Scarred”

Learn about the research leading to this new format.

Watch Episode 1 “Good Run, Trailer?” .

Follow The Augmented Man video trailer series.

Join EU actress @Sabine_Rossbach and author @JosephCarrabis for Episode 1, “Good Run, Trailer?”, of The Augmented Man Video Series

Sabine and I discuss the book’s meaning and our decision process in creating “Good Run, Trailer”, a unique, 2m #video #book #trailer premiering on YouTube Monday, 15 June 2020, 9amET.

Some History
I spent five months studying video trailers, talking with authors who use them, checking results, determining various forms of ROI, et cetera.

Prices varied from homebrew to several thousand dollars for a “professional” trailer. Regardless of time, effort, and money, few experienced a direct link between their video trailer and book sales.

Simultaneous to that study I did 1-2 book signings/month (prior to the Covid pandemic) and talked with many book buyers about what got them to purchase a book and documented their comments.

Two factors dominated purchase decisions: 1) a trusted friend’s recommendation and 2) Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature.

The book buyers I interviewed did not find video trailers interesting, and few led directly to sales. Comments included “I see pictures and blurbs but one’s just like another. They don’t really tell me what the book’s about”, “I see lots of trailers and get numb to them” and “A trailer really has to stand out to interest me.”

Asked what would work, the most repeated answers were “Tell me the story”, “Let me experience it”, “Give me an idea what it’s about and maybe I’ll get interested.” Some booksigning venues let me read from my work. I consistently sold more books when I read from them than when I didn’t. All of these items correlate to Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature; giving the reader an idea of book content, not marketing content. Readers know immediately if they’ll enjoy a book or author’s style.

Gifted and accomplished EU actress Sabine Rossbach (also a regular reader who loves my work) contacted me wanting to promote my work. She took my short story “Cymodoce” and did a dramatic reading.

Sabine knows how to do dramatic readings (she’s done voice-overs, commercials, dubbings, staged readings, been a corporate spokesperson, is an accomplished stage and film actress …). I shared her video with 1) a test audience and then 2) some test markets and got results in 15m. Test audiences commented that her reading gave them a much better idea of 1) the type of story, 2) what it’s about, and 3) my writing style than any traditional video ever could.

#Authors, #Writers, and any others in the #WritingCommunity, Sabine is available to do similar videos for your books (she’s already done some for EU-based authors). You can view her demo reels (English starts about 35s in) and and IMDB.

Please note I do not guarantee results, I only offer that current data indicates dramatic readings (I suggest Sabine do them) produce recognizable, attributable results.

Enjoy, and please come join us on YouTube for “Good Run, Trailer”

Episode 1 – “Good Run, Trailer?”
Episode 2 – “Massively Scarred”

Sabine Rossbach
Joseph Carrabis
The Augmented Man

What’s Your Plan B? (or “After 100 Agents, what?”)

We don’ need no stinkin’ Plan Bs

“I plan on becoming an internationally renowned brain surgeon.”
“That’s great. Except you’re a straight D student, you have essential tremor, and anybody who really wants to become a brain surgeon would know enough to call it ‘neurosurgeon’. So what’s your Plan B?

Plan B. The fallback. The backup. The “what you do when what you want doesn’t happen.”

I’ve always had trouble with the concept of a Plan B.

It was as if somewhere in my teens I said to myself, “Let’s see… I can do well in school, go to college, get a degree and lead a totally mundane, boring, completely unfulfilled life. Or I can become a superhero…” and I saw that and said, “Screw that. The rest of the world can go on the straight and narrow,” and I took a left.
Of course, the path I chose meant I’d be misunderstood, have enemies, have to solve bigger than life problems, that kind of stuff, but even if I chose the simple path I’d be telling myself I was still doing those things. The superhero path also meant I’d be respected and honored and sought after, and again, I’d be telling myself those things were true even if I took the simple path.
So somewhere in my teens I figured, “What the hell?”
I took a left and never looked back.

For one thing, having a Plan B is distracting. Every time there’s a bump on your Plan A road, you take a moment or two to decide if this is when you should switch to Plan B.

Nobody seems to note that all those moments, all that decision making, all it really is is a loss of focus on your Plan A goal.

Remember, Plan B is your fallback. It’s what you settle for. It’s less than what you wanted. When Kennedy committed the USA to landing on the moon by the end of the decade, nobody stood up and said, “But if we never leave low Earth orbit, that’s cool, too!” The goal was The Moon. Anything else would be Not Moon.

Anybody notice the subtle shift I did there? I talked about the goal, not how to reach the goal. Any plan – A, B, C, H, Q, Fromblitz, whatever – is how you get to your goal.
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