19 Aug August 19, 2020 – EOS Jeff Chastain and AI for Bestselling Books Alessandre Torre
EOS is a simple set of tools, a basic set of processes that work
with an entrepreneur to help them get unstuck and help
identify their passions.
Jeff Chastain is a creator, a problem solver, and Founder of Admentus. After spending a number of years inside corporate America, never really finding his niche, Jeff made his exit and formed Admentus to work with entrepreneurial leaders. His background at the time was in technology, and he worked with numerous small and large businesses to implement various technology solutions to meet their needs. Jeff has a passion for helping entrepreneurial business leadership teams get what they want from their business using a set of simple concepts and practical tools. As an EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) Implementor and CEO of Admentus, Jeff provides actionable, personalized, step-by-step guidance to his clients, helping them get their businesses unstuck and growing in the right direction. He feels so strongly about his metric-based solutions that he guarantees results.
Alessandre Torre – President of Authors A.I. and New York Times Best-Selling Author of Black Lies – Read interview highlights here
What makes a bestseller is well spaced action in the book.
You want something every 10% that grabs the reader and
makes them turn pages.
Alessandra Torre, President of a pioneering startup Authors A.I., is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of twenty-two romance novels. Her first book, Blindfolded Innocence, was a breakout hit, rising to the top of the ebook charts on Amazon. In 2012 and 2013, Alessandra signed two six-figure publishing deals with industry giants Hachette and Harlequin, yet found her greatest success with self-publishing, hitting the New York Times list seven times. In 2017, Alessandra opened Alessandra Torre Ink, a writing community for aspiring and published authors. The community is over 10,000 members strong and includes online courses, free webinars, and an annual conference (Inkers Con). In 2019, joining forces with over 120 bestselling authors and A.I. experts, Torre co-founded Authors A.I. to help a new generation of authors who are open to enhancing their story craft through the use of A.I. She and her team recruited 125 successful authors to help refine Marlowe’s algorithm, an artificial intelligence that helps authors improve their novels and long-form fiction.
Highlights from Alessandre’s Interview
So talking about Authors A.I. would be a great place to start. I didn’t write the book, Bestseller Code was written three years ago, about an AI technology, which read bestselling novels, and identified commonalities in them. So they created a computer software that could read a book without knowing anything about the author, the name of it or the history of it and say, “Yes, this book will be a New York Times bestseller” or “No, it will not.” Over 80% of time, it was right just based on the content of the book. So that is really the basis of the Bestseller Code. So one of the co-authors of that book is our co-founder, Matt Jockers.
To give you the highlights of some of the things that the AI platform discovered, what it considered bestsellers were books that had been on the bestseller list for 10 weeks or longer; so long-term huge books. Our technology has evolved since then, so that spurred the idea and the later creation of Marlowe, which is our technology. So it looks at every part of a book, whether it’s the pacing, whether it’s the amount of the subjects that are addressed in the book, the layout, and the percentage of that dialogue in the book. Some books are really heavy with dialogue, some are less. But mainly what makes the bestseller is well-spaced action in the book. So you want something at least every 10% that is causing the reader to really grab them and want them to turn more pages and read the next part and the next part. That is one of the biggest things that makes or breaks a book in terms of being a bestseller or being a book that readers love and talk about and recommend.
So think about Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown is the master of it. There’s like 394 chapters in his books and the average chapter is seven paragraphs, but at the end of every chapter, it’s like you gotta turn the page. In fact, Dan Brown’s book is used a lot in the Bestseller Code, it’s a fascinating read. If you haven’t read it, it’s really interesting, whether you’re a reader or not. But that’s one of the main things, having that moment of conflict or suspense. It doesn’t have to be someone hanging off a building. Even though a lot of times with Dan Brown’s book, it is. It’s someone who’s just about to die or not die, and then he jumps to a completely separate part of the story, and you’re left hanging until it gets back to that moment.
So the Bestseller code is where the idea for all of this started. Our platform is Marlowe, and what it basically does is it takes similar technology except its advanced three years, where it reads a novel; your novel or any person’s novel out there, an aspiring author or a career author. It reads their novel and says, these are the things you’re doing right and these are the things that you could use help on. So it breaks that novel down into just a bunch of, I hate to use the word ‘data points’ because it sounds so uncreative, but it charts out the highs and lows of your book: the pacing, the structure, the characters and their personalities, all into a report that an author can read through. It makes you really look at your book in a way you’ve never seen it before, it shows you just an honest and almost instant critique of it to help you rewrite or edit it to get to a better place.
Really, where it’s exciting for me is book discoverability in two ways. So one is, you think about these publishers and literary agents that just receive hundreds and thousands of submissions every year, and how many of those books get read. Then you have books like Harry Potter that were rejected a dozen times. Harry Potter was put into the Bestseller Code’s algorithm, and it said it would be like a 95% chance of being a bestseller. So if those literary agents back in the day had that technology, they could have said, “Hey, we have 150 manuscripts that just arrived this morning, we can feed them all through this machine and it can tell us which ones we should read first.” That would be huge, and that can cause a lot of great books that may be undiscovered to be found.
Our technology doesn’t really work for nonfiction. It’ll recognize if you have authorial tics like if you use ‘by the way’ a lot or something like that, it’ll pick up on that and let you know about that, or if you’re overusing adverbs and adjectives. But it’s built for fiction, that’s what it’s designed for.
We don’t have scores turned on at the moment for Marlowe, scores will be turned on once we’re able to provide genre-specific reports. So right now, our pro report is all fiction genres. But our version 2.0 will be like, we’ll have a thriller report, and then we’ll be able to assign a specific score. Because we don’t want to provide any score unless it’s accurate and we can really stand behind it, so it doesn’t have a score right now. But when it does have a score, I would say if it has above a 60% chance of being a bestseller in whatever draft you’re submitting it to, because normally then the publisher comes in and does heavy edits and improvements, I would pay attention to that.
Inkers Con is basically a week-long conference for aspiring authors and mostly published authors, it’s a pretty advanced conference. There is a variety in marketing, business, and advertising. What’s funny is the day we checked into the hotel for the conference, the front desk manager came to me and he said, I have to tell you something. He said we thought you were a Tattoo Convention, based on the name. So our housekeeping and everyone has been cringing for two weeks. Because I guess they’ve had similar groups that do do tattoos, and apparently they make a mess, not because of them as people, but because of all their inks. He’s like, we gotta change sheets because people just had tattoos. He’s like, we’ve been dreading this conference for a month, and we just found out this morning that you’re authors. He was like, so we’re so excited.
I have written around 23 romance and suspense novels. It normally takes me six weeks for a first draft, but then I spend another month in edits and rewrites. I used to publish three to four a year. Nowadays, with Authors A.I. and my courses and everything else, I’m down to two books a year. I’m hybrid when it comes to publishing, I have three traditional publishers. Amazon is actually one of my publishers, their Thomas & Mercer imprint, it also has Shete and Harley Quinn. But my biggest success, I’ve hit the New York Times list seven times all with self-published books. So I am much more successful self-published. I’m curious to see if my Amazon book, it hasn’t released yet, might break the mold. But I don’t consider them a traditional publisher the same way I would, they write their own rules. So I’ll be curious to see how that does. But as it is now, my self-published books are way more successful than my traditionally-published books.
It’d be a horrible idea to put topless pictures on the cover of your books for Amazon. Shirtless men, much less women on the cover of the books, Amazon has a no-nipple policy. So your book won’t be banned if it has a male nipple, forget female nipple, that’s not even an option. But if it has a male nipple, they will hide it in unique ways. It won’t be banned, it won’t be put into erotica, but it won’t be as visible on the site. So the number one thing you want to do if you do have a shirtless guy is cover those up with the title font or something else.
My advice for anyone who’s self-publishing, the beauty of self-publishing is how adaptable we are versus publishers. It’s one of the reasons why, in a lot of genres, publishers have really almost pulled out of the space, because they can’t compete. So I would use that adaptability in every advantage you have. So what I mean by that is, if something isn’t working, try changing things: change the price, change the distribution strategy, whether it’s exclusive to Amazon or wide, change the cover, change the book description. I change things all the time. Because you’re able to see your sales, it’s not like your traditionally-published book where you have to wait every six months and see the royalty statement. You can change something and immediately see if your sales go up or down. So that’s really powerful, and that’s one of my favorite things about being self-published. One of the things I always encourage someone who is self-published is, don’t be afraid to try different things and just see what happens.
If you want to run any of your books through our software, you can do the basic plan for free. For a nonfiction book, the basic report is probably all you need to do. It doesn’t have all the cool bells and whistles, but those are really built for fiction. So the Pro report, for $29.95/month, you could just do a single month if you wanted to, but you get two Pro reports, or you can purchase just a single report for $89. But the plan is so much more affordable and it’s month-to-month. Then, for our authors that are publishing more than one book, the annual plan breaks it down to less than $10 per report. So it’s really economical, especially when you’re looking versus an editor, they can be pricey. It doesn’t replace an editor, we always say that; the human editor is the best. But not everyone can afford a human editor, so it’s a good option for them.
If you visit www.authors.ai, you can find out all about Marlowe, our artificial intelligence. You can run a free report or a pro report on your manuscript. If you’re interested in any of my online courses or conference, visit www.alessandratorreink.com. If you’re a reader and you’re like, I’m not interested in writing a book but I would like to read something else, Andre, I have a book called The Ghostwriter that’s great for really any audience; it’s just a really great piece of fiction.