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Software to predict the success of a novel

by: Garry Pierrepont (15 January 2014)

Wouldn't it be nice to send your novel to a publisher or an agency and say with some confidence "This will be a hit"?

We may not be too far from reaching that point as scientists have come up with an algorithm to analyse a book and predict to apparently 84% accuracy whether the book will be a commercial success or not.

The technique called statistical stylometry analyses mathematically the use of grammar and words in a book. It has been developed by computer scientists at Stony Brook University in New York. They said that a range of factors determines if a book will be a success, including novelty, writing style, how engaging the storyline is and something they call "interestingness". They do, however, admit that other factors such as luck can play a part.

In examining books that had been successful, they achieved an 84% match in their predictions for success.

Successful works included many conjunctions such as "and" and "but", large numbers of nouns and adjectives, and verbs describing thought processes, like "recognised" and "remembered". Less successful books had more verbs and adverbs and used words that explicitly described actions and emotions.

It would be a shame if all future fiction relied on software to predict its success wherefore the luck factor? but maybe it would be better than simply selecting a book for publication because it has a celebrity author.

Views: 1712

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Ref: 50 People do love to read interesting and novel material and it's good to know that particular grammatical terms do help towards this.
Alexis - 17:12 15-01-2014
Ref: 47 Just goes to show, get someone skilled in grammar and spelling and you're halfway there!
Romany - 13:21 15-01-2014

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