I just found out about Lulu’s title scorer.
The Lulu Titlescorer has been developed exclusively for Lulu by statisticians who studied the titles of 50 years’ worth of top bestsellers and identified which title attributes separated the bestsellers from the rest.
We commissioned a research team to analyse the title of every novel to have topped the hardback fiction section of the New York Times Bestseller List during the half-century from 1955 to 2004 and then compare them with the titles of a control group of less successful novels by the same authors.
The team, lead by British statistician Dr. Atai Winkler, then used the data gathered from a total of some 700 titles to create this “Lulu Titlescorer” a program able to predict the chances that any given title would produce a New York Times No. 1 bestseller.
The fruit of this work is presented here, in the form of the Lulu Titlescorer: a program that you can use to gauge the chances that your own title will deliver you a New York Times No. 1 bestseller.
You can plug in your own book titles here.
This is what I got:
The title The Musubi Murder has a 35.9% chance of being a bestselling title!
The title Molly Barda and the Cursed Canoe has a 14.6% chance of being a bestselling title, but The Cursed Canoe has a 41.4% chance of being a bestselling title!
The title Molly Barda and the Black Thumb has a 34.8% chance of being a bestselling title, but The Black Thumb has a 69.0% chance of being a bestselling title!
Apparently I should leave Molly Barda out of the title.
The title The Invasive Species has a 41.4% chance of being a bestselling title!
The title The Blessed Event has a 41.4% chance of being a bestselling title!
I listed The Black Thumb as a figurative title, and the others as literal. “Figurative” titles score higher, all else being equal.
So what title will catapult my books to the top of the bestseller lists?
The title Fifty Shades of Grey has a 34.8% chance of being a bestselling title! Nope. Can’t use that.
The title Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has a 14.6% chance of being a bestselling title! Oh dear. Box office poison.
The title Miserable Misery has a 69.0% chance of being a bestselling title! We have a winner.
Maybe the one-star review, that bane of every author’s ego, isn’t such a bad thing after all.
Stanford Daily reports that the only thing worse than bad publicity is no publicity.
By measuring the size of sale spikes in the week following the release of each book review, the study showed two main points: positive publicity benefited all titles and the bad publicity only helped lesser-known and obscure authors.
Just one more reason to stop fretting about reviews, and sit down and write another, better, book.
The original study is here.
Reviewed on JULY 1, 2015 | Mystery
Molly Barda is a faculty member at Mahina State University, teaching at the College of Commerce in Hawaii. All she wants to do is lay low and work until she is granted tenure. Fast-food guru Jimmy Tanaka makes a donation to the college but fails to show up for the ceremony. Nobody can find him. Old secrets, long-standing grudges, and murder are on the menu. This humorous debut makes entertaining use of the local patois. Anyone who has ever labored on a college campus will recognize the place and its resident academic egos. VERDICT Certain to appeal to readers who love well-drawn settings or academic cozies such as Sarah Shaber’s “Simon Shaw” series or Clea Simon’s “Dulcie Schwartz” books.
“ . . . winning first mystery. . . Bow, who teaches at a public university, uses wry humor to alleviate the horror of her heroine’s situation and is familiar enough with island culture to know the popularity of Musubi rice balls with a heart of Spam.”
“Lobster shells about a house are looked upon as signs of poverty and degradation,” wrote John J. Rowan in 1876. Lobster was an unfamiliar, vaguely disgusting bottom feeding ocean dweller that sort of did (and does) resemble an insect, its distant relative. The very word comes from the Old English loppe, which means spider. People did eat lobster, certainly, but not happily and not, usually, openly. Through the 1940s, for instance, American customers could buy lobster meat in cans (like spam or tuna), and it was a fairly low-priced can at that. In the 19th century, when consumers could buy Boston baked beans for 53 cents a pound, canned lobster sold for just 11 cents a pound. People fed lobster to their cats.
How channeling George Costanza saved one woman’s career:
Acting like George Costanza — specifically, doing the opposite of everything I’d been counseled for the past decade — is what made me solvent once again. And if you, dear reader, are contemplating an exit from academe (as the boulder of this year’s hiring cycle rolls ever so briefly back to the bottom of the hill) a turn as George might be just what you need.
The following may not sound particularly Costanza-like, but it does contain some excellent advice for job seekers, especially freelance writers:
If, however, you want to put your Ph.D. to use in all sorts of other interesting jobs — editing, translation, freelance research, consulting, grant writing, museum work, teaching at a private secondary school — waiting is for chumps. Instead, be chipper but assertive and seek out people who have the sort of jobs you want, and send them short but admiring emails. Get as friendly as possible with all of those people. Do them favors. Prove yourself to be a solid, go-to specimen of a human. Then, months later, when you need a favor from them — a reference; an introduction — they will usually be happy to give it.