A formula can tell if a future autobiography of Theresa May is a & # 39; strong and stable & # 39; bestseller or that she is unable to get a publication deal approved.
Researchers from the University of Kingston have made a simple comparison that publishers can use to investigate whether a biography is worth putting into operation.
The formula takes into account factors such as the attraction of a person, the book quality and the number of comparable or upcoming books on the market.
Although the tool yields a final score, the researchers say that the real value of the comparison lies in promoting discussions about the strengths and weaknesses of a book.
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If Theresa May wrote an autobiography, it would be a & # 39; strong and stable & # 39; bestseller or would she fail to get a publication deal approved? A formula can have the answer
Autobiographies of political figures are often high on the lists of bestsellers, but they are not a certain investment for publishers.
& # 39; Taking such titles into use entails a major financial risk, & # 39; said publication expert Alison Baverstock of Kingston University, London.
& # 39; If someone gets out of favor or falls into oblivion, copies of his memoirs are a waste of money – either left to collect dust on the shelves or to be pulverized, the fate of many unsold shares. & # 39 ;
Inspired by the sharp rise in the sales of political publications that was prompted by US President Donald Trump – despite his failure to gain worldwide popularity – Dr. Baverstock together with economist Jackie Steinitz to investigate what a bestseller biography is.
They combined their findings in a simple comparison with the name & # 39; The BS formula & # 39 ;, after the surnames of the duo, to help determine which publishers of political biographies would like to commission.
The formula takes into account the potential market size and divides it into three categories – those who think positively or negatively about the subject of the biography and those who may purchase the book as a gift, or for a library or other uses.
Then the duo explained five factors that could influence the success of a book – including how good the subject would promote it and how much a good reading the work would be – that they ranked on a scale of one to ten.
The last part of the formula is a so-called dilution factor, considering how many comparable books are already available and whether the target group would buy more than one book about a specific individual.
The ultimate comparison multiplies these three components – the likely market size, modifying factors and the dilution effect – to arrive at an overall score.
Experts from the University of Kingston have made a comparison that publishers can use to investigate whether a biography is worth putting into use. The formula takes into account factors such as the appeal of a person, the book quality and the number of comparable books on the market
According to the researchers, the true beauty of the formula lies in how conceptually simple it is.
& # 39; Once set up in a spreadsheet, all you have to do is enter the estimates for each of the 13 factors, & # 39; she added.
However, the researchers warn that the formula is more designed to stimulate the discussion about potential strengths and risks than to give a score that could predict potential sales.
& # 39; The formula is intended as a guide to thinking rather than a direct one-stop solution & # 39 ;, Dr. Baverstock to MailOnline.
& # 39; It gives publishers a structured set of questions to improve decision making when considering biographies, and in particular political topics. & # 39;
Autobiographies of political figures are often high on the lists of bestsellers, but they are not a certain investment for publishers. Pictured, the autobiography of David Cameron, published with HarperCollins, which will be on stage on September 19, 2019
WHAT IS & # 39; THE BS FORMULA & # 39 ;?
Inspired by the recent increase in sales of political publications, experts from the University of Kingston have investigated what a bestseller biography is.
They combined their findings into a simple comparison to help publishers determine which political biographies are worth putting into use.
The researchers named the comparison & # 39; The BS Formula & # 39 ;, after the surnames of the duo – Baverstock and Steinitz – but told The Bookseller that the name was a & # 39; happy coincidence & # 39; used to be.
The BS score =
((F * Lf) + (A * La) + (N * Ln)) * (P * G * T * C * E) * R / (100,000,000 * √D)
F, A, N = For, Against, Neutral:
The number of people in each group that may be interested in a biography.
Lf, La, Ln:
Probability of the number in each group that actually buys the book.
P = Push factor:
How likely is the subject to actively promote the book?
G = Goldilocks factor:
Is the subject too young, new or passé?
T = tail:
Is the subject's occupation likely to last?
C = consistency factor:
How likely is the subject to remain true to its brand values?
E = Fun:
The extent to which the book is read correctly.
R = Repeated purchase / addiction factors:
The extent to which people will buy multiple books on a specific topic.
D = Dilution factor
The number of books that are already or will be published on the subject.
& # 39; The process works best when the same mind responds to questions for a range of potential topics, and then their individual responses are compared to those of others, for example, in preparation for an editorial meeting, & # 39; she added.
However, as to whether they predict that a Mrs. May opus would turn out to be a lucrative venture for a publisher, the researchers said they would not tell.
& # 39; We wouldn't want to reveal what we came up with ourselves, it's not up to us to tell publishers who to give their weight to & # 39 ;, said Dr. Baverstock.
& # 39; The political climate is currently changing so rapidly that it is even more important for publishers to think carefully about who to hire and whose life story or reflections the market wants to hear in the future. & # 39;
& # 39; It has the ring of truth and is an inventive and original piece of analysis & # 39 ;, said Alan Samson of London publisher Weidenfeld and Nicholson, who welcomed this new approach to looking at the genre of political publication.
& # 39; It also confirms my feeling that the storyline and the quality of storytelling are just as important in biographies as in any other kind of book, & # 39; he added.
& # 39; A political career management work with packaged anecdotes is not a substitute for frankness and a sense of serious obstacles that are not always overcome. & # 39;
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