Q. What is the “Bestsellerometer"?
A. The Bestsellerometer is a computer program that "reads" books and analyzes their linguistic content. We developed the algorithms while working on our own book, The Bestseller Code. The Bestsellerometer outputs thousands of points of data that we examine in order to better understand your book's distinct style, themes, characters, and plot.
Q. What do I get with a Manuscript Analysis?
A. Our manuscript reports are not machine generated. We run your manuscript through our algorithms and generate granular data from all the major areas of a novel. We then analyze and interpret this data in order to create a personalized report with our commentary, suggestions for rewrites, and meaty paragraphs about your plot, characters, themes, and style. Then we offer pointers for next steps with your manuscript and your career. Every report includes our feedback and a series of graphs showing how your plot shapes up, how your themes are distributed compared to the norms in the contemporary market, and even the nature and makeup of your primary characters.
Q. What do I get with a consultation?
A. If you choose to have a consultation as well, we talk you through the data at greater length, and discuss with you any area or areas of your manuscript that you specifically want to explore. In the consultation, we give an extra layer of interpretation that can really only come with a face to face organic conversation. We talk from our backgrounds in the book world about agents, submissions, success stories and so on, but we can also talk at length about your own personal use of the comma or the thematic makeup of your entire backlist. Calls are open-ended and can go in many directions. They are useful and friendly. Thirty minutes is often okay if you are looking at a specific area of your work. Perhaps you really want to discuss your use of plot or how to plot more effectively. Perhaps you want to ask about your ending. An hour gives time to talk about all areas of your book.
Q. Do you offer a followup service?
A. Yes. If you work with us, you will receive a discount code for a future consultation with us. You can use that discount to re-run the same book after your edits, or to work with us on your next book or even a book from your backlist. These codes are not transferable to other authors or friends.
Q. How long does my book have to be for it to qualify for your services?
A. Novellas and novels are fine. Most fiction awards see a novella as 20,000 words or more, and we can work with that length. There is no maximum length, though we’d caution anyone to write much more than 140,000 words in today’s market.
Q. Can I submit a novel in any genre?
A. Yes, all our work is genre agnostic and of course all genres have the potential to hit the lists. We have worked with literary writers, crime writers, romance writers, hybrid writers, and others. YA is alright too. We don’t work in children’s fiction and, for the time being, we also only work with fiction.
Q. What is your turnaround time?
A. When you pay for a service, we send you instructions about how to send us your manuscript and how to schedule a time to talk through a report, if you have selected a consultation. Because reports are not automated, Matt and Jodie both work for several hours on every manuscript. They take about a week or perhaps more in busy times to do a thorough analysis of your work. If you are on a writing deadline or in a publishing auction, please email ahead and sometimes we can rush a service. We have dealt with those quick turnarounds and understand publishing is sometimes like that.
Q. Who is your staff?
A. Currently Archer Jockers is just Archer and Jockers. We have attempted to work with other people but have found that with two very niche PhDs, it is hard to pass our experience on to younger or new people. Your book is seen by both of us, and no-one else. While we appreciate receiving kind words and resumes, at the current time we are not hiring further staff.
Q. Do you offer traditional editorial and development services as well?
A. Archer Jockers does not, but Jodie occasionally takes on these projects with novelists she is inspired by.
Q. Are you available to give talks and lectures at our writing conference?
A. Yes, we both give conference talks to fit our schedule. Matt is currently based in the US, and Jodie is in the UK.
Q. Can you work with books in translation?
A. Yes, we can work with any novel in the English language, whatever its original.
Q. Have you seen any success stories?
A. We have worked with a New York Times bestselling author, an author who sold a two book deal in New York, a literary writer who found an agent and publication after following our suggestions, and many authors who have gone back to redraft to seek agent approval. We have been approached by many editors in New York and London and by other startups and established book businesses, all of whom are seeing the benefit of having specialist data as part of their decision making and strategic planning.
Q. Can the bestsellerometer analyze nonfiction?
A. At this time, we are only working with long form fiction, novels.
Q. What are your terms of service?
A. You can find our Terms of Service Agreement here.