Machine Learning & Essential, Actionable Insights For The Publishing Industry

Machine Learning & Essential, Actionable Insights for the Publishing Industry

Machine Learning & Essential, Actionable Insights for the Publishing Industry
What we can learn from advanced algorithms and what they hold for the future
BY MONICA LANDERS, CEO OF AUTHORS.ME

We began this company as a standardized solution to the laborious and inefficient methods of the traditional query process which is often painful for individual authors as well as publishers and studios. We’ve evolved this platform into a breeding ground for dynamic, transformational publishing technology that benefits every part of the industry. More than two years out, we have developed exciting technology that forecasts successful projects. After many conversations with industry professionals, we are more confident than ever that it can be changed for the better through technology and the essential insights it stands to receive.

Data-Driven Operations and Collection
Our platform is not only robust, it’s extremely effective.

Without getting into how the platform works (you can learn that here, here, and here), let’s look at the state of the industry’s submissions and publication statistics. According to writer Joseph Epstein, at any given moment 200 million Americans have a book they want to publish.  Digital Book World  surveyed writers and discovered that more than 60% submitted their work to a publisher or agent the previous year.

From that, we can estimate that anywhere between 125 million writers submit manuscripts to publishers and agents in the US every year (though anecdotal evidence from agents may suggest more like 20 million submissions every year3). This means each publisher/agent is receiving  between 3,000 and 20,000 submissions a year1. So, the likelihood that a given submission will be published is between just .25%2 at the conservative end and 15% at the optimistic end and, more importantly, the likelihood a manuscript will be rejected or ignored is up to 99.76%  

It’s a wonder anyone tries at all. But, the fact that they do means that there is real worth in trying to make the system work better.

With the AUTHORS.me platform, writers are 7 times more likely to be accepted and 13 times more likely to get positive, forward movement for their manuscript.  

For many writers the most frustrating part about the submissions process isn’t being declined.It’s not knowing where you stand or what is going on. While it is an ongoing process to get publishers and agents to use our workflow statuses to accurately represent when they review work, 39% of writers who submit through us know concretely that their work has been declined and just 56% in the lifetime of the platform are awaiting review. Considering that lifetime submissions on the platform nearly doubled in the past three months, that is a true improvement to the norm.

 

Transformational, Dynamic Development
Algorithm Progress & Essential Insights

For the past year and a half, our developers have been honing and deepening a patent-pending algorithm that delivers the probability an individual manuscript could be a bestseller. The underlying goal is to offer a product that helps publishers, agents, and production companies identify and act on lucrative properties more quickly and with increased acuity. Our belief is that this technology offers the industry transformational power driven by actionable insights.

As the work went on, we discovered that beyond just that singular determination, the program was able to identify strengths and weaknesses within a given piece of writing that could, by an editor or a writer, be turned into essential, actionable insights that both expedite and strengthen the editing process and go-to-market plan.

For example, a report may detect room for improvement in areas such as redundant phrasing, incomparable constructions, or explicit language use. Editing with specific actions or recommendations is far easier and less overwhelming. A manuscript that seemed like it just wasn’t working now has a dynamic road map for revision.

Likewise, the sentiment analysis and comparable literary archetype can, to an industry professional, become a keen market insight that allows for a faster, more objective method of finding comparable titles and, informed with a title’s less obvious but no less essential common characteristics, possibly expand the target audience. In an industry with a reputation for homogeneity both in representation and delivery, these kinds of tools bolster objectivity and in turn create a more diverse landscape.

With these insights in mind, we launched the first iteration of our Intelligent Editorial Analysis Reports in partnership with BookLife, a Publisher’s Weekly website that seeks to provide self-published authors with resources, community, and platform elevation.

The report uses the technology we have been developing for publishers and enterprise entertainment companies and delivers digestible, actionable insights on an individual manuscript. Anyone can upload a manuscript and receive feedback on elements of their writing from style and grammar to syntax and literary device implementation. It points out areas for potential revision as well as commendations for markers of “good” writing. It shows the writer the manuscript’s literary archetype based on sentiment analysis, and it also delivers a numerical evaluation of their manuscript in comparison to best sellers.

The road to get here was full of curious, fascinating experiments and realizations. Let’s look at a few of them.

 Archetypes

We’ve analyzed thousands of books—bestsellers, mid-list titles, backlist classics, self-published books, and unpublished manuscripts—to develop and improve the algorithm. One of the measurement points is a sentiment analysis, which when translated into a plotted arc resembles the narrative arc of the story in question. In performing these thousands of calculations, we discovered that there are measurable differences in manuscripts down to the tenth decimal point.

That is how unique each piece of text is, and how quickly and easily a computer can prove it. Within those fractions of variation exist essential insights into tone, character, style — the possibilities for measurement and action are boundless and thrilling to data scientists and forward-thinking literary analysts alike.

Sentiment Analysis — Part of a Whole

Many teams are working on understanding NLP better and we’ve been able to incorporate into our systems training some of the smartest APIs available., such as Microsoft’s Watson program. In one of these tests, we asked Watson to analyze the sentiment arc for particular  parts of a book; specifically different characters and settings (it’s fascinating but not altogether surprising that an element can have a narrative arc, but that’s a story for another day.)

When we ran these results back through our own program and analyzing bestsellers, we found that the overall sentiment arc plays a much larger role in determining a title’s comparability to the standard bestseller profile than that of any one part of the book. Or, in simpler terms: a book is more than the sum of its parts. The romantic part of me somehow thinks we all knew this already, but this is documented, objective proof to that effect.

Data & Publishing
Finding Meaning in the Numbers

The larger point is that in all of this work, we are discovering objective key performance indicators of raw text that transform previously elusive, ephemeral qualities of writing into quantifiable, measurable, and meaningful data points.

With this information, editors and writers alike can optimize their own individual approach to their work. The industry and community at large can harness the raw power of Big Data to stake claim to their creativity and carve out pieces of the market that fit best, not just fit now.

We’re seeing that the increased prevalence and use of data in publishing doesn’t have to mean a withering competitive landscape, but instead a richer, more vibrant one where the bar is continuously raised, met, and transformed altogether.


1 There are roughly  6,080 traditional publishers and agents in the US.  [2014 SUSB Annual Data Tables by Establishment Industry]

2 In 2016, 311,723  books were traditionally published in the US. [International Publishers Association]

3 In our initial R&D, polled agents and editors who accepted unsolicited work reported an average of 100 submissions/week. 

August In New York: AUTHORS Publisher & Agent Updates

August in New York: AUTHORS Publisher & Agent Updates

George Washington, Mystery Drinks, and Publishing

August is typically a sleepy month in publishing, but not for the groups I met with. The agents are getting prepared to pitch like crazy in September, and everyone is prepping for September launches of books they’ve been working on for years.  Not every meeting is detailed here for strategic reasons, but I’m grateful for everyone’s time and input. First the agents — I know I’m lucky to get to spend time with such fun, wonderful women.

Caitlen Rubino-Bradway ( LKG Agency ) and I had the yummiest breakfast at Blue Dog Kitchen Bar. Double thumbs up. Caitlin says she definitely sympathizes with writers pitching their manuscripts because that’s how she’s spent much of August — preparing queries to the publishers. She certainly has a sympathetic heart for all the writers and dedicates Fridays for reading submissions.  

Meanwhile, they’re looking forward to their client’s winter release by Simon and Schuster: I Hate Everyone, Except You by Fashion Guru Clinton Kelly.

I met Mary South of Lowenstein Associates at her office. Like Caitlen, she is incredibly empathetic to writers working to get a manuscript published. As I did with everyone, I ran through a list of new features we’re considering and she emphatically said she didn’t need an automated reminder because she’s “on the site all the time because I feel guilty if I take too long to get back to the writers.”

I have to tell these stories for the writers who sometimes feel so neglected! I told you we have the best people on this platform. She also impressed me because she moves through the platform faster than I do and I didn’t think that was possible.

Mary’s excited about the great reviews for their Agatha Raisin series that’s now been adapted for television.

Karisa Chappell Koontz (Leshne Agency) and I had drinks in a snazzy bar. The bartender was trying to convince the establishment to add his creation to the menu. I voted yes. It didn’t have a name yet, so I can’t tell you how to order it!

My favorite takeaway from the conversation with Karisa was that she takes submission from AUTHORS.me more seriously than ones that come in email. That’s because (as you writers know) we ask a lot of questions and force writers to really think through their work and organize their material.

Karisa and Lisa Leshne are excited their September release of Julissa Arce’s book My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive, coming out in September from Center Street Books, an imprint of Hachette Book Group.

Last but not least, totally fun dinner with Renee Fountain (Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management) at Fraunces Tavern. She requested a venue change last minute and I loved that her selling point was, “George Washington’s headquarters were upstairs.”  It was absolutely worth it and I read the online history all the way home.

Renee seems like an old friend because she’s been with us since early days and even judged the Thriller contest we did with Reedsy. I remember her being fairly dubious of the whole thing at first, but now she’s a true partner. I can run ideas by her which seem great from a technology standpoint and she quickly points out the publishing ramifications that we still need to consider.  In a new business, you can’t ask for more than that.

Renee’s looking forward to Kensington’s September release of Danny Johnson’s The Last Road Home.

The trip wasn’t limited to agents. I met with several publishers as well, including multiple imprints at Skyhorse and Hachette (which ended in a fire drill). Many want to see more non-fiction experts on AUTHORS.me and we do too! I also had the pleasure of meeting with data scientists at a couple of the imprints who want to really understand what we’re doing.

I actually got to go shopping with Ashley Graham, founder of hybrid outfit Lift Bridge Publishing. We arrived before the restaurant opened for lunch and had some time to kill in nearby stores. Neither of us have spare moments to go shopping with girlfriends, so I thought it funny that we found ourselves walking through the store and talking while we waited for a table.

While AUTHORS currently matches writers only with traditional publishers, we discussed ways of allowing writers to pursue alternate paths like hybrids if they’re interested. In a recent poll, 30% of our writers were interested in this type of connection, so I’ve been meeting with several well-respected hybrid publishers to see what they can offer our writers.

Once seated, we discussed both her goals moving forward and the different marketing and writing support  Liftbridge does for writers. For instance, Ashley  hired a bus to take a marketing trip into New York from DC one day. Video of grateful writers here. She also runs online classes for teens who want to be writers.

I thought that sounded like an entire business right there, but she says no, that publishing is their core. The rest just contributes to supporting the writing community.

The writers know better than anyone that getting published is hard, but it’s great to know there are such caring publishing experts waiting for you on the other side.

Real Summer Reads, Or: How Reading Affects Your Sex Life

Real Summer Reads, or: How Reading Affects Your Sex Life

SURVEY STATSAt the approach of summer, we did a fun poll among readers. We wanted to know what books people were really reading on their summer vacations.  Like a good elementary student, I built my hypothesis:

  • Summer/beach reads tend to be lighter than regular reading
  • People read more on vacation

Wrong and wrong. Turns out that people generally make the same choices of book genres during vacation as they do during the rest of the year. Well, what about train reading? Same choice. What about nighttime reading? Same choice.  We read what we want to read.

My second assumption was based on my own preferences—I dream of leisurely reading the latest and greatest. My book club friends talk about reading at night before falling asleep or relaxing on Sundays with a good book. Conversely, my only chance to read is on vacation. As it happens, I am   very much an outlier in this sense. 99% of respondents read for pleasure, but almost 10% don’t read on vacation.  

Furthermore, 51% said they either read every week or every day for pleasure. But only half of those say they always read on vacation.The people who answered sometimes to both questions were pretty close, at 35% for pleasure 40% on vacation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Paperback beat out ebooks, hardbooks and audio on vacation, with 52% of readers preferring a soft-cover title to a hefty hardcover (17%) or less-than-water-resistant ebook (29%) and audiobook (2%).

Be warned that there are ramifications for reading on vacation. 41% report that they stay up late to read. Perhaps more dangerous is the 25% who reported sitting out in the sun too long because they were engrossed in a book. Good news?  Only 11% report ignoring their significant other on vacation because of a book.

That made me wonder what  impact books have in the bedroom — so we asked. According to our survey, 7% said that reading a book in bed affects their sex life, and (thankfully) the majority says it improves their sex drive. Whew. We can all keep reading.

So what do people read on vacation? By genre: Mystery, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, were at the top, followed by Thriller and Literary Fiction.

The shocker? People have the same preferences whether they are reading for fun, reading before bedtime, or reading on vacation. This is against everything the book industry believes—that people are looking for fun beach reads in the summer. Turns out we want our fun books all the time!

In all reading situations on this poll:

  • Romance, Biographies, and True Crime were in the middle.
  • Inspirational, business, and self-help were at the bottom.

I don’t have an explanation for why this doesn’t exactly reflect the market size. Maybe it’s the season. Maybe it’s the weather — who knows!

The 12 Apps You Need To Increase Productivty

The 12 Apps You Need to Increase Productivty

https-%2F%2Fcdn.evbuc.com%2Fimages%2F20775902%2F174572866457%2F1%2ForiginalAUTHORS.me teams up with Womens Media Group in New York City to swap the best productivity tips

One of the few things we all have in common is limited time. No matter who you are, what you do or where you go, we all only still only get the same 24 hours per day–and some of that is hopefully spent sleeping.  My time was well-spent in New York last week when AUTHORS.me teamed up with the local Womens Media Group for Appy Hour: Productivity Edition for a night of networking and app sharing–and we want to share them with you! We compiled the 12 apps that were universally agreed to be essential for productivity, and included another 30+ that were crowd favorites across different modes. 

I could not believe the amazing conversations we had! For one night only, a delightfully diverse group of publishing professionals and industry folk descended upon the downtown manhattan space in pursuit of the same thing: the hope to find the next app or tool for their arsenal in the battle against time and its attention-diverting minions. 

Together, we shared the tools that make bits of our chaotic lives a little more manageable, from email and project management tools to web conferences and list making apps and more. This list of apps curated by publishing and tech professionals will help you get everything in order.

Over a veritable (but reputable) technological bacchanalia and loads of conversations, we learned about new apps and some member favorites that I just could not wait to share.

Up first I’ve compiled a list of the Favorite Apps that those in attendance mentioned. At the bottom of the page you’ll find the full selection of apps and tools mentioned throughout the evening. And if I’ve missed one of your favorite apps, please share!

Since the common theme at the end was that it was such a “fun and informative event,” we’ll be doing a follow-up sometime soon so stay tuned.

EVENT PHOTOS
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FAVORITE APPS

Zoom — the Number One web conferencing app is the top dog for a reason. Powerful (paid) tool featuring full cloud-based collaboration tools, screen sharing, HD streaming, dial-in options and more. 

Doodle  — allows you to send attendees a poll of what times you’re free to eliminate all the usual back and forth.

Sococo — complete with virtual “rooms,” your remote team members can be in one place and visualized, complete with screen sharing and options for voice, audio, and video sharing.

 Trello — a visual project management tool that uses cards to organize projects. “Trello’s boards, lists and cards enable your whole team to prioritize projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way.”

Asana — a great tool to use for collaborative projects or solo ones. Includes timelines, notes, tags, categories, ability to upload files and various third party app integrations. 

 Flow — Similar to Asana, flow is a highly organized, visual took optimized for collaboration. “Flow is a team task manager that makes it easy to delegate tasks, prioritize to-do lists, and make sure nothing gets missed.”

Evernote — Workhorse note keeping. Has multiple levels of use (paid and free) that allow for in-depth note taking including images, to-do lists and more. 

Google’s Keep — If you use other Google products often, then this is the app for you. Includes a Chrome extension (of course!)

Cozi — Cozi is also a great way to share notes, lists, and calendars with family (e.g., shared grocery list).

Google’s Inbox —  allows you to easily organize and group messages, as well as schedule reminders.

MixMax  — allows you to schedule emails to be sent later, to see when your messages are opened, and to include polls and more within your message.

Gmelius — fully customize the look of your inbox to help you increase productivity and efficiency. Schedule emails, take notes, avoid phishing and more with this gmail extension.  

Honorable Mentions
Amazing Women And Their Amazing Books

Amazing Women and their Amazing Books

Congratulations to our YA! 2015 winners. What an honor to get to know these terrific women. Their stories are such perfect examples of how everyday people manage to create great stories in the middle of real life.

Jessica Kelley – 1st Place – The Mercy Killers
Jessica Kelley, lives in Virginia. I feel so lucky to have gotten to know her a bit. She’s a tax accountant, mother to two boys, and a military wife. Any one of these jobs are enough, but she managed to carve out some time during the last year and a half to complete her first novel, The Mercy Killers. For six months of that time, she actually put the book on pause while her husband was home to focus on family. She spent that time exploring hobbies, such as shooting her crossbow and learning about throwing knives, which is reflected in her characters.

In what was very poignant to me, AUTHORS.me was lucky enough to receive her submission just before the New Year’s Eve deadline. Her husband was deployed, so she found herself at home missing him, but making the best of the New Year by submitting her work to our contest. “If I hadn’t been alone that night, I wouldn’t have entered.”

When I asked what she does to get in the right frame of mind to write, she replied, “If I get stuck, I turn on music, clean the house, daydream a bit and then get back to work.” The easiest part of writing for her was letting the characters come alive individually. The hardest part? I’m sure most of us can relate to her biggest challenge: cutting and editing!

I can’t wait to hear what happens next for Jessica and her first novel. I predict great things.

Lara Dunning – 2nd Place – Aleutian Pearl
I was amazed to learn that Lara wrote Aleutian Pearl twice—once from the perspective of another character, then rewriting it to this current version. I was super-impressed and thought about how our best stuff usually comes in the rewrites. This led me onto a million other questions about how she created this book. Similar to Jessica, Lara spent about a year and a half crafting her book. She spent a good three months just envisioning, outlining, and following the Hero’s Journey as a method. She wrote for another six to nine months then spent the rest of the time working on structure.

Her family has roots in Ireland, Scotland, and Scandinavia and she spent six months backpacking through the land of the leprechauns. She also lived in Alaska for 10 years, three of which were on a very remote Aleutian Island. These experiences combined to connect her with the landscape and selkie mythology, leading her to create her wonderful book.

One of the judges was so impressed with the vivid action and terrific storytelling in Aleutian Pearl, that they envisioned this as a surefire movie success!

Catherine Hogarth – 3rd Place – Dora Finching
Our third winner is a bit of a mystery. She appears to have used Catherine Hogarth as her pen name, which coincidentally is the name of Charles Dickens’ wife. (this explains the Catherine Hogarth picture we used to represent her) Her novel, Dora Finching, is set in 19th century London and has a cameo appearance by Dickens himself. Catherine has no photo and hasn’t responded to our emails. Could it be that JK Rowling has done it again?! Could it be that Jessica or Lara wrote two books?? Is she off hiding with Waldo or Carmen Sandiego? I think this one might belong in our next contest, Operation: Thriller. Give us a call Catherine; inquiring minds want to know. We’ll update when she does!

What An Incredible Month

What an Incredible Month

What an incredible few months it has been for AUTHORS.me. When I say everything’s going according to plan, I don’t mean the boring plan on the spreadsheet, I mean the inspiring visionary plan that motivates and fuels all of us daily. Starting a new company is hard enough, but watching it take shape and grow like a newborn child is exhilarating and full of rewards. Here‘s the latest.

CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

We held our breath a few weeks ago as we sent out the well-known NPS (Net Promoter Score) question to our agents and publishers, “How likely are you to recommend us to your friends and colleagues.” The NPS is used by many large companies. (More about the scoring system here) Apple’s computers and iPhones have a great score around 75%, as do stores like Nordstrom and Dillards.

50% of our publishers replied to the question and awarded AUTHORS with a perfect 10. That’s an NPS score of 100%. We couldn’t be happier. Partly, that is a reflection on choosing good partners for our launch, but for us, it feels good to know that we can make a difference and deliver a product that supports these publishers.

AUTHORS knows that by delivering a strong product for publishers, we will also deliver the kind of experience writers want.

SIGNED BOOK DEALS

Another exciting moment was when we went online to see if there were any signed book deals during the few months following AUTHORS’ soft launch. It turns out, YES! Nine book deals were signed last month. Nine! It shouldn’t be a surprise to know that the average time from submission to signature was faster than the industry’s average of 180 days. That’s the total front list for some boutique publishers for an entire year!

NEW YORK

I spent last week in New York talking to the biggest publishers and agents (the photo above is from the Penguin Random House lobby). I’m going to avoid name-dropping, but the goal was to understand what are the must-have features we need to reach the highest echelons in the publishing industry. Because, let’s face it, that is the exposure most of our writers want.

The week was truly a confirmation of why we want to be in this crazy book business. In every meeting, I was surrounded by bookshelves with books I knew and loved. At the end of the meeting, a few of the agents and publishers pressed books into my hands when I didn’t recognize a title they themselves loved and represented.

The agents and publishers were welcoming and generous with their time, and I now have an even deeper understanding of the nuances in the acquisitions process for the big houses and literary agencies.

Best of all, in New York I was able to meet the woman I had been interviewing over the phone for a new position at AUTHORS. She is incredibly talented and a great find for AUTHORS, but this story deserves a post of its own.

AUTHORS will continue to grow and make an impact in the publishing world. I invite you to grow with us, talk with us, and share our vision with fellow writers and publishing professionals. As we succeed, the book lovers of the world succeed.

Job Position: Director Of Publisher Accounts, NYC

Job position: Director of Publisher Accounts, NYC

Job position: Director of Publisher Accounts

AUTHORS.me has the best publisher partners any company could ask for. As we’ve grown, I’ve realized the value of these relationships more and more. We get important feedback and suggestions from them along with tremendous support and encouragement.

Our partners reassure us that we are on the right track making a difference for writers, agents, and publishers. This is a gift that makes our 12-hour workdays worth it!

Because I value these relationships over and beyond the simple monetary exchange, I want to make sure that this is still a core component of our company.

To that end, I need someone in New York who can work closely with our agents and publishers. Yes, there is some sales work involved, but more importantly, there is an on-going relationship that balances the publishers needs/wishes/goals for their writers with our fast-growing service.

The Director of Publisher Accounts will work closely with me as my counterpart in publisher relations. I am looking for someone who lives and breathes NYC literary publishing to balance my living and breathing Austin technology.

Below is the official job description. Please send me a cover letter and link to your resume so we can talk more. Contact me here.

Job Description

An Austin-based startup is looking for an experienced agent or publisher with wide contacts in the literary, journalism and publishing worlds, to be based in New York City.

AUTHORS.me is an online platform for queries, manuscript submissions and acquisitions discovery geared to simplify and accelerate the acquisitions process for agents and publishers.

The Director of Publisher Accounts will anchor and run our NYC office, acting both as brand salesperson and thoughtful support for our local agency and publisher clients. You’ll report to and work closely with the CEO.

This is the right job for you:

  • If you’ve wanted to try something new in publishing, take a risk, but just didn’t know how. (You’ll be joining an experienced team of entrepreneurs.)
  • You enjoy connecting people to projects
  • You are self-motivated, self-directed, and energized by leading new initiatives.
  • You are more about support than sales.

Basic Qualifications

  • NYC metro area
  • Experience in literary publishing industry
  • Deep understanding of book acquisitions
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Bachelor’sdegree

Responsibilities

  • Growing client base of agents and publishers: From introductions and first contact to follow-up and sales calls
  • Oversee customer on-boarding and support
  • Provide feedback to product team about feature requirements and usage

We will consider part-time offers, but prefer that you take this on full time.

Thank you for your consideration and time. Here is to great work, great writers and best of all, great books.

 

Monica Landers
CEO AUTHORS.me

Get In And Get Going

Get In and Get Going

I want to make sure all our writers know about this great opportunity (free!) on AUTHORS.me that will put your work in front of many agents and publishers!

Sign Up Here button

Many times when we’re looking for partner publishers, they request a trial run with the system. Kick the tires, so to speak. Totally understandable! At the beginning, we set up some demonstrations online where we would show the publishers the features of AUTHORS’ platform, but what they really want is to be able to use the system as if they were already subscribed.

In response to that request, we have created a fully-baked publisher account they can use as if it were their own. To make this work, we are inviting all our current writers to populate the site with their project submissions. Real writers. Real submissions. Real activity.

Real results.

We’ve already had a writer discovered through our demos, so we think expanding this could be a great opportunity for all. And the beauty of this process – it is at no cost to anyone. It’s also a great opportunity for new writers to test the service before subscribing.

As we continue to demonstrate and share, let me know if you have any questions. This is all about discovering great manuscripts and creating great books. So, I encourage you to submit your work here today and let’s see what happens!

The Right Team. The Right Time.

The Right Team. The Right Time.

Sometimes all it takes to calm your fears are a few words.

I couldn’t have done this without you,” someone says.

“This is a dream come true!”

I never even imagined something this good.”

These are just some of the messages we’ve received from writers and publishers since we introduced AUTHORS.me in a limited roll out a few months ago. When I spent sleepless nights worrying, “Are they really going to like this?” These phone calls and emails have sustained me through the months of building that can so often feel like an echo chamber of ideas.

We saw two sides of the book industry treating each other like adversaries and wanted to change that. We believe the solution is one which helps everyone. That seems almost too obvious, but up until now, it just hasn’t happened. Ultimately, there are not two opposite sides — writer versus agent–or–writer versus publisher–though it sometimes feels that way. Any solution that truly helps both sides is good for everyone, and that’s our goal for AUTHORS.

It takes all sorts of skills to create, launch, and run a successful company. Beyond skills and experience, there’s another crucial ingredient- and it’s this ingredient that ultimately makes or breaks a business. And that’s passion.

The passion that we have at AUTHORS.me is two-fold: a love of technology, and a love of stories. Tying this all together is a strong desire to help the people that create amazing books that we all enjoy.

When we first thought about this idea, we looked through the landscape of companies and support for writers, agents, and publishers. There is a lot of help available! Writers need that help, because finding an agent or publisher is a hurdle so high that few writers actually clear it.

But this helpful landscape is so often one-sided. We saw frameworks and training for writers and form-builders for agents and publishers. We found hundreds of blogs giving great advice and plenty of self-help books. But we wanted to approach this differently, and develop a panacea for the whole process, not just create another Advil or Band-Aid for one small part of it.

We believe in our company. With a team built of knowledgeable programmers, writers, publishers, marketers and more, we’re uniquely positioned to deliver on this promise. Together, we have a thorough knowledge of complex technology and matching algorithms, as well as a business sense of what writers, agents, and publishers need to take a manuscript to production.

Most of all, we have you, our users, who have been our biggest inspiration and encouragement.

And here we are—ready to step out into the world. So with excitement and a little trepidation, we launch our new site and welcome our first agent and publisher relationships.

Keep the emails and conversation going!