Elsewhere in Publishing #8

A novella written by a computer almost won a literary prize, a new publishing startup that predicts bestsellers, and JKR's rejection letters

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J.K. Rowling set social media abuzz when she put up two of Robert Galbraith’s rejection letters online on Twitter. For folks who still don’t know, Galbraith is her alter ego for her crime novels. She sent out the manuscript of The Cuckoo’s Calling without revealing it was her who wrote the books, and it was rejected by quite a few publishers before being published. (We’ll plug our own submission process here.)


photo-1439459615612-2f585873ca7aThe future is officially here: a Japanese AI program wrote a short sci-fi novel, and it almost won a literary prize! The novella, meta-titled The Day A Computer Writes A Novel, was officially written by the team that developed the AI program. They ‘selected words and sentences, and set parameters for construction before letting the AI “write” the novel autonomously,’ which made it past the first round of selections of the Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award (which graciously allows ‘non-humans’ to participate), and saw 11 out of 1450 submissions that were written at least partially by non-humans.

A new startup uses data-driven algorithms to predict books that have the potential to become a bestseller, and pitches it to major publishers. Inkitt has called out to writers to publish on its platform, and depending on the reader votes, will either publish the book on its own or sell it to the bigger publishers. Their mission statement says, ‘We don’t think that we or any so-called “expert” is in a position to judge your work. You write your book for your readers, and the most important factor is whether your readers like it or not. That is what we measure at Inkitt.’





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