Literary scholar, publishing consultant, and co-author of the critically acclaimed book The Bestseller Code, Jodie Archer dropped by to chat with me about her journey, the coming revolution in publishing, and the insecurities that all writers face.
Before earning her PhD from Stanford, Ms. Archer studied English at Cambridge, worked in both journalism and TV, and became an acquisitions editor for Penguin UK publishing.
While at Stanford, Jodie taught nonfiction and memoir writing, and researched both contemporary fiction and bestsellers. Upon completion of her doctoral work, she was recruited by Apple, where she was the lead in research on books.
Her book, The Bestseller Code, is based on her doctoral research with professor Matt Jockers on an algorithm that they tested over four years and refined by text mining more than 20,000 contemporary novels.
The Guardian proclaimed that their book “… may revolutionize the publishing industry,” in part because their algorithm was able to predict bestselling books 80 percent of the time, based on a theme, plot, character, and many other big data points.
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In Part One of this file Jodie Archer and I discuss:
- How a word nerd helped program a computer to predict bestsellers with a high degree of accuracy
- Why all writers of fiction should read The Bestseller Code
- How to turn years of research into an entertaining and educational nonfiction book
- The power of deadlines for beating procrastination