How to Spot a Breakout Author

ebook data authors best-sellers Iobyte DataboxIt’s been noted how a dearth of available sales data continues to bedevil efforts at gaining a clear, accurate picture of the ebook market.

But publishers have learned to make strategic decisions based on more limited slices of information.

As one case in point, Iobyte Solutions founder Dan Lubart shows how comparing trends on Amazon’s and Nook’s weekly best-seller lists can help identify authors on the cusp of breaking out.

Offering a glimpse at an Iobyte report generated for that purpose, Lubart finds that once a self-published romance author has “a top-twenty title in their series, they tend to reach that peak or higher with each successive release. With other authors, however, you can see their peak ranks getting lower with each book.”

Much more.

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New Conversations on Data in Publishing (DBW)
Digital Book World’s beloved Ebook Best-Seller List says adieu, but in its place comes a new biweekly column called “Databox,” raising questions and spotlighting trends in the ebook market based on data from Iobyte Solutions, which powered the Best-Seller List from the very start. The inaugural post (above) is the first in a series intended to foster conversation about the uses of data in an industry that’s short on it.

Purdue Opens up about Amazon Shop (PW)
Purdue University discloses more details about its deal allowing Amazon to operate an ordering and delivery counter on campus, prompting the National Association of College Stores to drop the lawsuit it had filed in March to secure more information.

Listening in on How Readers Talk about Books (The Shatzkin Files)
The book discovery start-up Trajectory is pioneering new software that examines aspects of a book’s content, like sentence structure and key phrases, to improve how well recommendation engines surface titles to readers. But just as important is the sort of language that might not appear inside a title but shows up in the ways readers talk about it.

An Enhanced Ebook by Any Other Name (Futurebook)
Olive Software doesn’t consider its Dynamic Book SmartLayers technology a means of generating an “enhanced ebook,” though the software “enriches” ebooks with web-based content that can be switched on and off according to readers’ wishes and continuously updated by publishers. But the company finds itself beset with a challenge others have grappled with before—that of convincing publishers these functions are what readers want, regardless what they’re called.
Related: Why Booktrack Is Still Bullish on Enhanced Ebooks

The Social Metrics Marketers Should Watch (SocialTimes)
Social media advice for marketers is plentiful but hardly created equal. And while this snippet from a recent digital marketing conference isn’t specially geared to book marketers, it does address a deceptively simple method for cutting through the thicket of metrics: how to focus on measures that tie directly back to your campaign objectives and push aside the rest.
Related: Fast, Effective Tools for Researching Readers on Social Media

Self-Publishing Platform FastPencil Returns to Founder (PW)
On track to be acquired by R. R. Donnelley, the book manufacturer Courier Corp sells FastPencil, the self-publishing platform it bought in 2013, back to co-founder Steve Wilson.

Who’s Investigating Apple Now? (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
No stranger to federal investigators, Apple now reportedly finds itself under scrutiny by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over its practices with respect to its music business and competition from the likes of Spotify. Other reports, however, suggest that it’s the Justice Department that’s on the tech company’s tail.

U.S. Authorities Soften Tone on Drones (WSJ)
Federal Aviation Administration officials prepare to develop protocol for testing drones beyond the sight of their operators, a move that appears to mark a shift in attitude toward Amazon and Google, which have both pushed for more leeway in developing drone technology on U.S. soil.

Erotica Without Borders (Pub Perspectives)
When you get down to it, humans are simple creatures that are pretty similar wherever you happen to find them. Racy fiction, at any rate, appears to have mass appeal the world over, including in Vietnam, where some authorities see the influx of badly written and badly translated Chinese erotica as a problem to be combatted. Call it censorship if you like, just don’t call this story anything new.


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