Have you ever learned a new word or heard about a historical event for the first time and then next week people are mentioning it everywhere? I just learned the name for that phenomenon--it’s called the Frequency Illusion and it’s classified as a cognitive bias.
That means that the word or the fact isn’t magically appearing everywhere but that you’re now starting to notice it. You see, our brains are wired to see patterns. So when we learn something it brings it out of the background noise of our daily lives and into sharp focus like a spotlight. Once that spotlight has focused on that word or fact, it makes it easier for our brains to recognize it again—hence seeing it literally everywhere.
One cognitive bias I've butted heads with lately is the Ambiguity Effect. New writers call it the "discoverability conundrum." Readers are more likely to buy books by an author they know than take a chance on a new author they've never read. Buying a book by a new author is risky. It might be a bad book. But actually, there's also the chance that it might be a good book. As a new writer, I'm continually trying to push through the Ambiguity Effect and convince readers to take a chance on my writing. And a good way to do that is by putting my writing out there. I write blog posts, have freebies on my website at www.aideeladnier.com and participate in anthologies with known authors. Happily, just as this cognitive bias works against the new writer, it's an absolute boon to the established author. Your readers will come back to your books again and again rather than try out someone new and different. They like your voice and your style. You've caught them and their brain will keep them with you.
The last cognitive bias I'm going to talk about is the Anchoring Effect. Basically, it works like this: if you give someone a price, it becomes anchored in their mind--then if you discount it, the purchaser instantly sees it as a bargain. Amazon does this really well in that they leave the original price next to the item and then slash through it with the new price above it. It's a bargain! You have to buy it!
Thanks for bearing with me during my sojourn into science and book selling. May your books sell like hotcakes! (That may be utilizing a comparison bias, but you'll have to look that one up yourself!)