Reworking this article again. Several authors have used reverse psychology in humorous approaches to marketing their books.
Stephanie Barr made a meme for Tarot Queen, that highlights aspects of the book that some people might possibly find irritating. And “…not a single flying car.”
Reverse psychology involves advocating ideas or behaviors that are in opposition to one’s desired goals according to Wikipedia. Above is a reverse mention of my book, Pratima’s Forbidden Book. This approach reverses what everyone even remotely associated with business thinks of as standard marketing. It’s usually about creating a favorable perception for your product.
Some authors have taken the humorous approach of producing meme posters about why you, a potential reader, should not pick up and read their books. The reasons can include potential shortcomings in their books, or critiques of reading generally, or the particular genre, or perhaps larger criticisms of the world in general. Usually, the desired outcome derives from the hope of the author that you will be so intrigued that you will rush out and buy the book.
In K. M. Herkes’ example above for her book, Controlled Descent, we see negatives and tongue in cheek comments.
The hoped for psychological outcome seems similar to me to that in Goodreads reviews where controversy around a book results in more sales. When readers have contentious disagreements about the content, style, or meaning of a book, new readers can become curious to try for themselves. They want to see what side of the controversy they will land after giving the book a try.
M. A. Ray, in the example above, disses aspects of her book, Hard Luck.
Reverse psychology is a time honored mind control approach. We use it with our friends, enemies, and family members to gain compliance. We hope that if we seem to offer a position that is opposite of our true position we will find common ground with the other person, or get those others to lower their barriers and let in our message.
One approach to marketing is to offer benefit for the customer. Writers who employ reverse psychology memes are hoping to secretly show how their book will offer value to the reader. The self-criticism of the book may be intended to be false, or may be intended to warn the reader what to be careful of.
For Crimson Fire, Mirren Hogan lists possible off-putting facts about her book. Sometimes the very features we highlight as being of concern to the reader might be selling points.
For The Korpes File, J.I. Rogers explains why some readers might not want to read her book. There is some method to this madness, in the overt downplaying of one’s own brand or poking fun in the advertisements. One goal is differentiation, to separating one’s books from others in the maketplace.
Don’t be afraid of reading a book, just because the author tells you scary things. Likely an author puts the energy into critiquing their book because they hold their own works in high regard. Give them a try. Judge for yourself whether there is validity in the reverse-hype!