A friend forwarded this NYT article to me:
‘Amazon and Barnes & Noble already collect vast amounts of information from their e-readers but keep it proprietary. Now the start-ups — which also include Entitle, a North Carolina-based company — are hoping to profit by telling all.
“We’re going to be pretty open about sharing this data so people can use it to publish better books,” said Trip Adler, Scribd’s chief executive.
Quinn Loftis, a writer of young adult paranormal romances who lives in western Arkansas, interacts extensively with her fans on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Goodreads, YouTube, Flickr and her own website. These efforts at community, most of which did not exist a decade ago, have already given the 33-year-old a six-figure annual income. But having actual data about how her books are being read would take her market research to the ultimate level.
“What writer would pass up the opportunity to peer into the reader’s mind?” she asked.’
‘At Oyster, a top book is “What Women Want,” promoted as a work that “brings you inside a woman’s head so you can learn how to blow her mind.” Everyone who starts it finishes it. On the other hand, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.’s “The Cycles of American History” blows no minds: fewer than 1 percent of the readers who start it get to the end.
Oyster data shows that readers are 25 percent more likely to finish books that are broken up into shorter chapters. That is an inevitable consequence of people reading in short sessions during the day on an iPhone.
A few writers might be repelled by too much knowledge. But others would be fascinated, as long as they retained control.
“Would we provide this data to an author? Absolutely,” said Chantal Restivo-Alessi, chief digital officer for HarperCollins Publishers. “But it is up to him how to write the book. The creative process is a mysterious process.”’
(Read the article here.)
Yes, the creative process is a mysterious process, but these days the creative process is shamelessly market-driven.
Whether this is good or not is a different discussion.
I for one jump to the conclusion that readers want to know what women want (mainly male readers?), that readers are into adult paranormal romances (I admit that I’m not sure what a paranormal romance is but I guess that it’s about a werewolf who happens to be an astrologer in his spare time, the handsome werewolf seduces an innocent virgin around midnight) and that readers prefer chapters that are not longer than let’s say 400 words.
It’s time for an updated version of the bible: the bible for readers who couldn’t finish the original.
Yes, the creative process is a mysterious process, but wait for the bestseller “What If Jesus Would Have Had More Information About His Followers?”
By all means, let’s peer into each other’s mind. I’m not a woman, but please blow my mind.