Publishing: Turning into 2017

December 22, 2016

I’ve become intrigued with the intersection of book publishing and machine learning, text mining, natural language processing and the like: technologies that get lumped under the rubric of artificial intelligence. Cliff Guren, who runs the publishing consultancy Syntopical, is emerging as one of the book publishing industry’s top specialists in this area. I thought it would be fun to catch up with Cliff on this topic — and others — as we approach the end of 2016. (more…)

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Classified! Does the Bestseller Code Divulge its Secrets?

September 21, 2016

The Bestseller Code is already the most talked about insider’s book on the writing and publishing industry. Who wouldn’t want to know if a computer can predict whether a manuscript will be a bestseller? What author wouldn’t want to know if there’s a scientific formula for plotting and writing novels that will propel them onto the New York Times bestseller list?

NYTBestsellers-smI don’t have to do any computational analysis to predict that The Bestseller Code will itself be a top bestseller. It’s provocative and it’s profane: the book challenges many of our assumptions about how writing and publishing work. It embraces a complex scientific methodology and makes it (almost) fun and (almost) comprehensible. The co-authors, Jodie Archer & Matthew L. Jockers, both PhDs, keep things rolling along: the text is bright and lively. (more…)

Why is Publishing So Full of Anger?

March 1, 2016

Catching up on my industry reading I’m facing the large effort required to try to digest the latest Author Earnings report and then wading into the vast cesspool of vitriol it engenders. (more…)

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The Writers in the Silos, by Heidi Julavits

September 28, 2015

In 2008, Heidi Julavits published a marvelous short piece, The Writers in the Silos, a satirical glance at where writing and publishing is headed in “our current conglomerating, lowest­-common-denominator, demographically target­ed publishing industry.” I fell in love with it and bought the rights to reproduce the article on The Future of Publishing. As its buried somewhere at the back of my site, I like to pull it out on occasion for a new group of readers. Here you go:

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Is Publishing a Complex Industry?

March 15, 2015

I’m thinking about complex industries. I’m thinking of…

  • Pharmaceuticals (you might check out 23andMe, “a personalized DNA service”)
  • The design and launch of high-tech products (the intriguing Apple Watch)
  • Aerospace (think Airbus A350 XWB)
  • Launching a new car company (think Tesla)
  • Telecommunications (“rewiring” the Internet to reconfigure performance)

(more…)

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