PUBLISHED JUNE 2017
by Alexa Schlosser, Managing Editor, IBPA Independent
AUTHORS.me is a technology platform that uses data from bestselling books to evaluate content and connect writers with publishers.
If you’re like me, when you hear the phrase “intelligent machine learning,” you feel the opposite of intelligent. Maybe you picture a robot, but then you move on. It’s definitely not a traditional publishing term. So when I heard about AUTHORS.me, a platform created to modernize the acquisition process in the publishing industry through the use of intelligent machine learning, I thought: “OK, what is it? And, more importantly, does it work?”
Creating a Baseline
Intelligent machine learning is when a computer learns without being explicitly programmed. You might remember Watson, the computer that defeated two human contestants on Jeopardy! Watson was an example of machine learning. Instead of responding to 1980s baseball trivia in the form of a question, AUTHORS.me uses machine learning to parse out insights in creative work in order to identify the appeal of that work.
Monica Landers is the CEO and co-founder of AUTHORS.me
Monica Landers, the CEO and co-founder of AUTHORS.me, says the company was founded “to empower creators and producers with powerful analytics tools that amplify their own creativity and productivity.”
The company’s technology scours through “thousands of bestselling and non-bestselling general fiction targeted toward adults to determine the similarities and differences between the two and derive meaningful, actionable insights from that information,” Landers says. Using that data as a baseline, AUTHORS.me< evaluates manuscripts that are entered into the system.
Landers emphasizes that this technology does not determine whether a manuscript is “good” or “bad”; those are subjective terms. The system shows how the text compares to books that have mass audience appeal. This information is then used in context and shared with writers to provide insight into where they could use improvement.
“Ultimately, machine learning is a tool that allows humans to more quickly understand and apply their own expert analytical skills and ideas to a project,” Landers says. “Since text is data, and data can be analyzed for patterns and attributes, machine learning brings increased intelligence to manuscript review and allows for enriched decision making for acquisitions, marketing, and sales.”
This technology can be applied to any publisher’s content—whether it be backlists for re-launch considerations, slush piles that haven’t been reviewed, or upcoming releases for marketing recommendations, like audience analysis and keyword delivery. Likewise, it’s used within the AUTHORS.me submissions management platform.
There’s an overwhelming amount of content out there these days. Publishers looking for their next book often find it challenging to discover what’s right for them among the sheer number of options. The AUTHORS.me platform is built so that a publisher only receives work that is relevant to them, as they’ve defined it.
“[Publishers] define the type of work they want to receive based on project details ranging from class and genre to word count and even an author’s field of study,” Landers explains. “When the writers upload and complete their project details on the platform, they are presented a selection of recommended publishers and agents to submit to based on those completed details. Unlike the traditional query letter system, this process is a simple question-and-answer format, so there is no guesswork.”
Once publishers receive the submissions relevant to their interests, they are provided with analytics that can help them make more informed decisions regarding the submissions, including the personality traits and spending habits of the potential audience—helpful information for go-to market and publicity plans.
This submission system means publishers can open the floodgates for submissions or running contests and know they will be able to review and manage any and all submissions.
Sample AUTHORS.me manuscript analysis report
AUTHORS.me’s publisher acquisition workspace
The AUTHORS.me platform not only standardizes and organizes the submissions process, it creates an environment that engenders increased and efficient communication among all parties involved. “Intelligent machine learning” might seem like a cold, robotic term, but the AUTHORS.me platform bustles with the warm enthusiasm of authors, publishers, and agents looking to find success in their books.
Alexa Schlosser is the managing editor of IBPA Independent. Know of a company doing something cool in the world of publishing? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.