Did you ever suspect the runaway best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey was written by robots? Well, somebody check E.L. James for vital signs because she might actually be an algorithm. Check this out:
Surely a human being would die of boredom before biting a lip in print forty-three times in one novel.
Actually, I’m skewing things a bit. But it is true that “[s]cientists have developed an algorithm which can analyse a book and predict with 84 per cent accuracy whether or not it will be a commercial success.” (Source)
By downloading books in public domain from Project Gutenberg , scientists from Stony Brook University in New York developed a program called “statistical stylometry, which mathematically examines the use of words and grammar” to determine the popularity of a book, matching the programs results to the sales of works from the past. The experiment involved a wide range of literary styles, from science fiction, to novels, to poetry. Factors in determining sales and popularity included the “style” of writing as well as novelty in plot and character (they do acknowledge that “luck” plays a role as well.)
The program accurately predicted success, or failure, of those works an astonishing 84% of the time.
So what factors seemed to indicate, in a more concrete way, what you should do to increase your odds of becoming a best-selling writer?