There’s been much recent conjecture on whether book sales can be predicted by text analysis alone. My company, Kadaxis, has dedicated the past few years to machine learning research and product development for the publishing industry. In our early days, we set out to build an algorithm to predict bestsellers, and tested it in the wild. In this post, I’ll share my perspectives on why the text alone isn’t enough.
If You Publish It, Will They Come?
To predict book sales, you need to account for the factors that influence book sales. The text of a book is core to the product, but many other factors, such as sales and marketing, influence whether a customer will discover and buy it. An algorithm predicting book sales using only the text as input will only work in a book market meritocracy, where the best-written books always sell the most copies.
Author platform (brand awareness) is one such non-text factor that influences sales, as in the following examples.
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10 Tips for Authors to Up Their Book Marketing Skills (BookMachine)
The basic premise of book marketing is this: write great books that people want to read, then effectively market them. If you’re self-published, use professional editors, designers, and formatters so your book looks amazing. I self-published my first three books and invested in those services through scrimping and saving. Now you can crowdfund. It’s doable.
How One Amazon Kindle Scam Made Millions of Dollars (ZDNet)
Emma Moore could have been the health and weight loss guru you spent your life looking for. You might be forgiven for not knowing her work — after all, she has a common name, one that she shares with other similarly successful authors on Amazon. Until this week, she had dozens of health and dieting, cooking and weight loss ebooks to her name. She published over a dozen ebooks on Amazon this year — five ebooks alone this month.
Penguin Random House Launches SciFi/Fantasy Site ‘Unbound Worlds’ (DBW)
Penguin Random House announced the launch of a new science fiction and fantasy website, Unbound Worlds. The site, according to a press release, will “occupy the crossroads of science fiction and fantasy, including slipstream, pop science, fairy tales and folklore, magical realism, urban fantasy, and more.”
A Leader in Canadian Writing Takes Stock of Self-Publishing (Pub Perspectives)
Authors, traditionally published and self-published, need to adapt to stay viable, says Merilyn Simonds, former chief of The Writers’ Union of Canada.
Countdown to Indie Author Day 2016, Oct 8 (BookWorks)
If you’re an indie author, you’ve probably heard the news by now. Nearly 300 libraries and thousands of authors across North America are gearing up for the inaugural Indie Author Day event on October 8. With just over a week left before the big day, there’s still time to prepare.
Should Educational Publishers Be Disruptors? (Book Business)
Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve never warmed to the idea that disruption is a good thing in business. I’m not a fan of companies that set out to disrupt the industries in which they operate (take that, Jeff Bezos and Elizabeth Holmes) and I am particularly skeptical about those that set out to disrupt education, especially in the K-12 segment.
Can You Read a Book the Wrong Way? (NY Times)
In Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. This week, Adam Kirsch and Anna Holmes debate whether some methods of reading are more correct than others.
‘Over 2,000’ Stores to Mark National Bookshop Day (Bookseller)
Over 2,000 bookshops are preparing to celebrate the UK’s inaugural Bookshop Day on Saturday, October 8th with events and book clubs, according to The Booksellers Association.
CNET’s Technically Literate Publishes New Work from Lauren Fox (DBW)
CBS Interactive announced that award-winning author Lauren Fox has written the next original story for Technically Literate, CNET’s series of original illustrated works of short fiction, which was launched in March 2016.
The Power of Reading Diverse Authors (MTV)
It’s four weeks into my senior year of high school. Homework is piling up, college applications beckon, and sleep feels like an impossible luxury. Yet as I trek across my high school campus to English class, I feel a frisson of excitement.
Gourmet Gallery at Frankfurt: Serving a ‘Global Language’ (Pub Perspectives)
Sometimes referred to as “the area of indulgence” at Frankfurt Book Fair, the Gourmet Gallery combines cookbook publishing and foodie-wooing events in Hall 3.1.
The Title Overdrive Users Selected as the Next Big Library Read (Overdrive)
The next Big Library Read will be kicking off October 13, and the YA title chosen in our survey by readers, librarians and teachers is This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp.