By Marvin Wey, Head of Growth at Inkitt Publishing
Back in the mid-90’s, the publishing landscape changed substantially with the introduction of eBooks. This was a big move that drove dramatic changes in readers’ habits as far as browsing through, choosing, and purchasing books were concerned. Before this, the publishing industry had largely remained unchanged for centuries.
Now, another significant change is on the verge of revolutionizing the business; one that has to do with deciding which books get the opportunity to ‘see the light’, and be published, and those which remain in the dark. So far, the decision-making process has only involved editors and literary agents. They are the ones that make the choice about whether a book will be published based on their experience, past market behaviour, gut feelings, and subjective views about whether there is indeed an audience out there for a book.
The problem with this ‘traditional’ process is that many great books receive multiple rejections before actually finding someone who believes in them (assuming the writer doesn’t give up before this happens). Harry Potter and Twilight, for example, were rejected 12 and 14 times, respectively, before being picked up by a publisher. Carrie, by Stephen King, was turned down 30 times! Those authors found success only because they did not lose their courage, and persevered despite the rejections, but what about all those aspiring writers that keep sending out their manuscripts? How many give up after a series of rejections because they feel that maybe their book is not good enough to ever make it? There are so many talented authors, holding a potential bestseller in their hands, that may never get discovered.
At Inkitt, this is exactly what we aim to change. As the world’s first data-driven book publisher, we are on a mission to democratize publishing by putting the decision in readers’ hands.
Combining Big Data With Artificial Intelligence To Predict Bestsellers
We undoubtedly live in the age of data. This means that there is now a way to get to answers without having to rely on hunches. Will readers love this book? Is there an audience out there for it? These questions can easily be answered.
At Inkitt, we have developed an algorithm which captures data from readers and analyses reading behaviour to understand how strong of a potential a novel has to become a bestseller. This is a far more accurate and objective way to predict future trends in comparison to the traditional method.
Data-driven decisions will transform traditional processes in the publishing industry that, so far, have been regarded as the standard. AI, and algorithms like the Inkitt algorithm, help us to better understand reader preferences and also democratize the publishing process.
The Revolution has Started: If Readers Love It, It Gets Published
The vision of Ali Albazaz, Inkitt’s founder and CEO, is to make sure great books will never again stay in the dark. The best toolset available to make this possible is the analysis of behavioural data to understand what readers want. This is the only way to ensure a great novel will never again get rejected.
The first book selected by Inkitt’s algorithm, Erin Swan’s Bright Star will be published by Inkitt and Tor in 2017. Inkitt has also published Charlotte Reagan’s YA novel Just Juliet, Emily Ruben’s I Was Bitch, and Ryan Attard’s Esper Files recently. All of them became bestsellers in their respective category upon launch, which is clearly a sign that the Inkitt algorithm ‘has an eye’ for bestsellers.
Less than a week ago, we published Caged, a psychological thriller written by India’s up-and-coming author Onaiza Khan.
Inkitt also hosts regular writing contests. In the past few weeks, we announced the 3 winning novels for Story Peak 2: Eric Olafson by Vanessa Ravencroft, Ignite by Danielle Rogland, and Aureate Spectacles by Elliot McKay. All three will be published by Inkitt early next year. You can check out our six newly launched writing contests here.
To Sum Up…
When it comes to revolutionizing publishing with the power of data and AI, the first steps have certainly been made, and the response we are seeing at Inkitt from both authors and readers is amazingly encouraging. It’s so rewarding to have a community of hundreds of thousands who share your vision and support you in this journey.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the above.
Do you agree that data can revolutionize publishing and make the landscape fairer for new writers?
Leave your comments and let us know!