Leveraging Analytics for Romance Publishing

Technology and the appearance of the digital books has had a major impact on the growing market of romance publishing. In 2000 The New York Times stated: “Romance is now the fastest-growing segment of the e-reading market, ahead of general fiction, mystery, and science fiction.” Four years later, the Amazon Earning Report showed that 66% of romance e-books sold were indie published (AKA – self published). In her blog the writer Linda Aksomitis explained this fact: “the publishing gate keepers aren’t really all that accurate at predicting the types of romance books readers really want. So, they’ve passed over a lot of authors who can tell a great romance story. Now, with the revolution in e-publishing, these authors can get their own books on digital shelves and into readers’ “hands.””


While it’s still early to mourn the disappearance of publisher’s romance, publishers do need to reinvent themselves if they want to survive this democratic market that is controlled by readers’ choice. Here comes another opportunity where technology can come to the aid of romance publishing.

In the traditional-publishing-process editors go through many manuscripts and decide which of them to publish by guessing readers preferences. When a book is ready to be released, the marketing department tries its best to convince readers to buy it. Reverse engineering of the process will have publishers start by asking readers what they want to read before investing in a book. Why guess when you can find out all the details in advance?

Romance publishers could use data analytics to their advantage. By designing an online questionnaire they can easily find out what readers desire: the color of the eyes of protagonists, their the age and age differences, their professions, their nationality, the kind of romantic conflicts readers prefer, etc. The next step would be to have in-house writers, just like movie studios have. Bring the data to the writers and ask them to craft romantic stories that will contain all the ingredients that readers want. When these books are released there will be no need to market them, readers will already be looking forward to reading them.

Romance data analytics and in-house writers will not stop romance publishers from searching and publishing original manuscripts, yet it will ensure their survival in this demanding and competitive market.

While this approach is not relevant to some genres, like the literary genre, it could easily work in romance – a commercial genre with a very clear story-structure, very similar to a movie script. (See Writing Lesson #6)

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