SPP209 Using Artificial Intelligence to Sell More Books with Michael Anderle

Self Publishing Podcast

YOU WON’T BELIEVE the announcement the guys have today. This episode was recorded within the last week, because the news is too amazing to wait. Can you imagine having software that can analyze your story for audience, marketability based on genre, and more? This is an episode that’s hot off the presses with ideas that will help authors, and watching them come to life!

Get on the list for updates at GetStoryShop.com

Be part of the StorySeller Bootcamp at SterlingAndStone.net/Bootcamp

  • Something cool: Sean’s happy about today’s show; Johnny is happy about the StorySeller Bootcamp; Dave is pre-preparing for a move to Austin.
  • Amazingly huge things are on the way with Sterling and Stone: a story analyzer, market research done for you, and a discoverability engine for authors.
  • The software will complement StoryShop, and will also stand alone.
  • Michael explains the genesis of the story analyzer, that sounds totally sci-fi, and how it’s based on chaos math.
  • Michael explains how the math works behind the software, and how it manages to come to a human-like conclusions.
  • Sean owns the word ‘magical.’
  • There’s a ‘magic button’ that will allow you to know what changes will make your book more marketable, and point you toward direct marketing applications.
  • Despite the ‘applied intelligence’ versus ‘artificial intelligence,’ the software points YOU to make the decisions. It points at problems; it doesn’t write the book for you.
  • An amazing case study involving anime and how the software suggested an ingenious approach to make a book into a graphic novel series.
  • As for marketing through social media, the software also can suggest the best posts and when to post them.
  • While Smarter Artist is write better stories faster, the software brings in ‘sell’ better stories faster.
  • The software can help you know who your book will appeal to, and the results of your writing can be surprising.
  • While there isn’t a timeline, and there’s a lot MORE behind the scenes, you’re going to be floored as we continue to release information.


  1. OMG!! I just finished listening to the podcast and signed up immediately (to be honest I was on the fence about the story shop app given my particular life circumstances, but not any more). Sean is totally allowed to use the word “magical” for this development. Can’t wait to hear more and try it for myself.

  2. Take.

    Or, y’know, when it’s ready.

    And not too expensive.

  3. While acknowledging the undisputed value in this machine analysis, especially given Sean’s comment about this being similar to employing a developmental editor to help you hone your manuscript, I wonder if anyone, like me, sees a cautionary note in all of it, as touched on by Seth Godin in his blog post today (or am I wrong?):

    “Actually, more data might not be what you’re hoping for

    They got us hooked on data. Advertisers want more data. Direct marketers want more data. Who saw it? Who clicked? What percentage? What’s trending? What’s yielding?

    But there’s one group that doesn’t need more data…

    Anyone who’s making a long-term commitment. Anyone who seeks to make art, to make a difference, to challenge the status quo.

    Because when you’re chasing that sort of change, data is the cudgel your enemies will use to push you to conform.

    Data paves the road to the bottom. It is the lazy way to figure out what to do next. It’s obsessed with the short-term.

    Data gets us the Kardashians.

    • I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. In fact, I think Unicorn Western would likely break the machine. 🙂

      And I don’t think this is something we would use at Realm & Sands, at least not for writing to market.

      But by in large I think the biggest ingredient here is WRITER’S VOICE, and I see a ton of value in knowing that the stakes are before starting a project. I think this is another tool, though more powerful than many. And it should be PART of a thorough pre-production process. Should it be the only thing writers use? Absolutely not. Nor should it be their only compass for characters and story direction. But as a key to mining more understanding as to the WHY things work and get popular, then it could be invaluable, especially as authors are first learning their craft and gaining an audience.

      Valuable points for sure, though.

  4. This cast blew my mind.
    I knew this was something that may come down the line at some point, but I was completely blindsided by this.

    I didn’t put my chips in for storyshop because I had gone out of the way to develop my own in-depth system, but this is something that really turns my head.

    I’m still unsure (as I’m sure you guys were at the time) what exactly are the limits of this tool and what the best applications are. I really want to clue my editor in on this so she can figure out if it’s something she wants to use.

  5. What is sounds like is a super-smart, market-knowledgable editor. You don’t have to make the changes, it’s suggesting changes based on known (to crazy chaos-math people) parameters–it’s still up to the artist/writer to change or not change, or change differently to achieve the same outcome–that’s the art.

    I love it!

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