The Lulu Titlescorer
The folks at Lulu have created a scientific "Titlescorer" that lets you plug in a novel title and tells you (using science) exactly how likely your novel is to be a bestseller.



"The Lulu Titlescorer is a useful tool, which, in Lulu's 50-year study of some 700 novels, proved 40% better than random guess-work in guessing whether a particular title had produced a bestseller or not. "It guessed right in nearly 70% of cases," says Dr Atai Winkler. "Given the nature of the data and the way tastes change, this is very good â€" better than we might have expected."

"Even so, this is not an exact science. Far from it. In fact, Dr. Winkler advises that the Lulu Titlescorer should, in practice, always be combined with use of your own low-tech judgement."

"This is because, for all the work that went it, the Lulu Titlescorer is capable of giving high scores to titles that most of us would rate as weird, if not terrible. Meanwhile, of course, it also gives low scores to the titles of novels (e.g. The Da Vinci Code) which, in fact, topped the New York Times bestseller list for long periods."


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Here are results for some of your favorite books:

"The title "The Great Gatsby" has a 35.9% chance of being a bestselling title!"

"The title "Anus Baseball" has a 35.9% chance of being a bestselling title!"

"The title "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" has a 14.6% chance of being a bestselling title!"

"The title "Atlas Shrugged" has a 72.5% chance of being a bestselling title!"

"The title "Piss Piss Piss Piss Piss Puppy" has a 35.9% chance of being a bestselling title!" (when "literal")

"The title "Piss Piss Piss Piss Piss Puppy" has a 63.7%% chance of being a bestselling title!" (when "figurative")

"The title "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" has a 51.4% chance of being a bestselling title!"

"The title "The Grapes of Wrath" has a 26.3% chance of being a bestselling title!"

"The title "Infinite Jest" has a 69.0% chance of being a bestselling title!"

"The title "The Holy Bible" has a 41.4% chance of being a bestselling title!"


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Lessons learned: figurative titles are better than literal ones. The shorter the better (two words if possible), and go ahead and put a verb in there. Don't worry about the numbers so much. The best titles get extreme numbers one way or the other, low or high.

Now it's time to develop this for entire novels, not just the titles. We need to be able to plug novels into a .php matrix and figure out which ones speak to the human condition and which ones do not. We can put the scores on the back of the books instead of flap copy. How else are we supposed to find the good ones?

Amazon review scores? Google page rank? How quaint. We could probably pay people to read novels and report back somehow, but then they'd probably use the money to breed a child or see a doctor. Fuck that.

TELL ME I AM PRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEETTTTTTY

Posted by miracle on Mon, 08 Feb 2010 14:44:59 -0500 -- permanent link


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