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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Brexit, Algorithms and Enthusiasm

Usually, an idea for a blog will be sparked while I'm reading an article or listening to the news but this month has been a little lean for finding ideas that peaked my interest. I was browsing through Publisher's Weekly and found two articles that sort of intrigued me and at least made me curious. 

Unless you've not bothered with the news since last month, you know by now that Great Britain has voted to exit the European Union. I think it would take more than one blog to figure out what all that will entail. I'm not going to attempt to untangle all the pros and cons in this post because quite frankly, I don't have any idea just where this thing is headed or what all it entails but with all of the shake up being projected in the financial sector, the sale of books will surely be impacted and from the article I read, it won't be good.

What a minute. I've heard it said more than once that they don't really know what's going to happen so why are they projecting doom and gloom? I would think that would impact the market negatively, but what do I know? I know that I don't sell very many books in Great Britain and waiting to see how it all shakes out before I panic, seems to be a good idea.

Another interesting article dealt with a book that won't be out until September 2016 but it seems that The Bestseller Code has been cracked by authors Jodie Archer and Matthew Jockers. They seemed to have developed an algorithm that analyzes a book using certain criteria that we're all familiar with (think basic novel writing) to determine how to appeal to the reader. Really?

I'm sure there are people out there that will run out and purchase this book but I'm not really enthusiastic about the premise. I have bookshelves full of tomes promising that they had the answer to how I could make a living writing the books of my dreams. The truth is, I could buy this book and try and take apart the BOOK that it suggests is the perfect book but I've been down that road many times. I've tried writing to the market, (which is what this kind of reminds me of) before and failed because the books always seemed forced.

On the other hand, I have to give the devil his due. We all want to know that magic formula for selling a book. We invest time and money in social media so that our books will be noticed. We pay attention to trends. Is data mining to find what appeals to readers any different? Probably not, but it all sounds like I should be wearing a lab coat while I write instead of my usual tiara and feather boa.

I'm sure everyone has an opinion and before I totally discount the information, I'm probably going to order this through the library. Seriously, my bookshelves are sagging and unless this book has some earth-shattering information, it won't be a keeper. I'll let you know.

Until next month,
Happy Reading!
Paris Brandon



Tina Donahue said...

As far as Brexit is concerned, if the elites and bankers were against it, my guess is it's good for the 99% - you know, being able to have a decent, middle-class job that isn't outsourced or insourced to someone willing to work for slave wages. Always amazes me that rich people don't see how they're killing the host (middle/working class). After all, once everyone is jobless and homeless and the rich have all the $$, who's going to buy the products? 200 people in the world can't support the economy. It's impossible.

As to trying to get on a bestseller list - I'm with you, Paris. You can't write to the market if it's not in you. The book will certainly be a loser. About 5 years back, cowboys in romance fiction were supposedly dead, dead, deader than dead. You'd be insane to write a story like that cuz no one would buy it. Then bam - suddenly cowboys are popular again.

I don't think there's a science to this. People like what they like. Go figure.

Cara Marsi said...

I heard a lot about Brexit during my recent trip to France. I'm sorry Britain voted to leave. I think it has grave consequences for the worldwide economy.

I have lots of books that purport to help me know what I need do to sell more books. Haven't found one of those books that works. You'll have to let us know what you think of this latest book. It's true you can't write to the market as the market is constantly changing.

Melissa Keir said...

I'm a skeptical miss... glass half empty kind of gal, and I hate change. That being said... I'm a little frightened by how many of the people are up in arms against the government and how little the government seems to be listening. From our own elections to the KU vote, people don't trust those in power and are looking at ways to change it. I see some rocky adventures down the road...but since I also believe in a happily ever after and write about it... my own dreams of making the best seller, million-dollar club would probably be fulfilled in my dreams only.

I write stories with characters much like me... quirky and have been told that it can be off-putting... but back to realism here.. I won't find myself pregnant with the billionaire's baby nor will I suddenly get abducted by a hot Scotsman and travel through time... so there has to be stories for almost 50 year old school teachers too!

Paris said...

About Brexit, I think people are tired of having decisions made by committees that are not elected by the people. They've seen their rights eroded and all the money flowing to the banks and not the people. I'll read the book but like you, I'm very skeptical about a code to break into the bestseller list.

Paris said...


I will let you know what I think of the book! Honestly, my first thought was that it was written by the people who work for the publishing house that published the "bestseller" that they used as an example and cynical me, I wondered how many "how to" books they were going to sell.

Paris said...

While I try to see the world in a positive light, I'm still suspicious of anyone saying that they definitely have the answer. I think it may depend on what group of readers they're marketing to. Or maybe which books they used and is there one out there that breaks the pattern. Who knows? Like you, I'll just keep writing my paranormal romance and hope someone out there loves them enough to start talking about them. That's the real secret. Books have been sold by word of mouth since brick and mortar stores were the norm and not much has changed since. As far as I'm concerned, we're all able to walk into the biggest store in the world, every time we use social media.

jean hart stewart said...

All you can be sure of is it's all gonna change. No use trying to see the next trend. I just write the best I can and hope.

Paris said...

So do I, Jean! Trends change and trying to figure out the next best thing takes time away from my writing. No thanks:)

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