Sunday Wrap-up: The Bestseller Code Reading Challenge Coming Tomorrow


This week:

The October 2016 NaNoWriMo Prep Challenge is going well. Having a concrete goal to strive for every day has made the novel preparation work much more manageable.  Some of the assignments have pushed me to try new things, too. For example, I had been dreading writing down how my main character is going to change over the course of the novel. I probably would have avoided it at all costs, or written something generic, if it hadn’t shown up as an assignment. The challenge made me investigate character arcs in greater depth and in the course of my research, I developed the perfect arc for my character. When I was done, I wanted to give a high-five everyone in the room (that would have been the cats.)

What’s coming up:

Karen and I are going to launch our big reading challenge tomorrow and we are holding our breath in anticipation . We are inviting everyone to read through the list of 100 best books picked by the computer algorithm discussed in The Bestseller Code with us. We hope you stop by tomorrow to find out all the details and that you consider reading along with us.

Posted recently:

Summary and review  of The Bestseller Code by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers. The authors developed a computer algorithm to tell whether a book would become a bestseller or not. After evaluating 20,000 novels written over the last three decades, they were able to predict with 80% accuracy. They also used the model to create a list of the 100 books with the best scores from those they evaluated.

Posted Whodunit Challenge #5. Can you guess the mystery author?


Whodunit Challenge #5 Answer is revealed.

Books currently reading:

Finished the first reading of books number 100, Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane, and number 99, State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, on The Bestseller Code 100 best books listPrimary Colors is up next.

Links to posts read and enjoyed on other sites:

As a writer, I’m always looking for cool names for my characters. Turning it around for Top Ten Tuesday, The Bookwyrm’s Hoard and I Wish I Lived in a Library  have “ten characters I’d name a pet (or car or child) after.” We once named a cat Miss Rumphius from a favorite children’s book. That is, until a week later we found out the cat was a boy. Fun idea, though.

Today we’re joining the Sunday Post meme at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer blog.





  1. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I’m reading Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett, but haven’t read State of Wonder. I suspect that I will, as I’m enjoying her style. ( I had read another book of hers called Run).

    Have fun with NaNoWriMo.


    • Roberta

      Are you going to do NaNoWriMo this year?

      I will definitely keep an eye out for Commonwealth.

  2. Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

    Thanks for the shout-out! And that’s so cool that you’re doing NaNo. Every year I think, “I should do that,” and then life gets in the way (mostly work and the November concert I direct.) One of these years…

    • Roberta


      You might want to consider one of the NaNo camps. November is also crazy for me, but I did successfully complete the camp in April.

      Good luck with the concert.

  3. Laura Thomas

    Good luck with NaNo! I can’t believe it’s rolled around again. This year has flown by!

    My Sunday Post

    • Roberta

      Laura, Wow, you read and review an amazing number of books.

  4. Deborah

    You’ve depressed me that you’re talking about prep for NaNoWriMo. At least this year I know what I want to write about but done no planning.

    A couple of times I’ve gone into the month without even having a plot idea. Naturally those years I’ve failed. Perhaps I need to do some pre-thinking this week!

    • Roberta

      Deborah. Don’t beat yourself up. Last year my idea came to me on November 9. Of course I couldn’t finish in November, but I finished the first draft for Camp NaNo in April. Hope it comes together for you.

  5. Karen

    I once named a rather adventurous kitten “Hudson,” after the explorer Henry Hudson. Hudson turned out to be female, but her name stuck.

    I just started “Shutter Island” this morning. I quickly noticed 2 “bestseller” traits – a great opening sentence and the use of contractions. 🙂

    • Roberta


      I think Hudson has much more potential as a gender neutral name than Miss Rumphius. In fact, I might steal it for a character.

      Enjoy Shutter Island.

  6. Jane @ Raincity Librarian

    I’ve always thought about attempting NaNoWriMo, but I’m not much of a planner, so I have a feeling I’d get halfway through the month and decide I don’t like any of my characters anymore and want to scrap the whole thing! 😉

    And that idea of a bestseller algorithm sounds fascinating, though I have so many questions – does it take into account cultural shifts/differences? I would think a bestseller in 1990 would be different from one in 2010, and a bestseller in China could be markedly different from one in Sweden. Still, so fascinating!!

    • Roberta

      Jane, You have some great questions about The Bestseller Code. You should join our discussions. Time is a factor, but they did use books from the last 30 years. As for cultural differences, the model was tuned with the New York Times bestseller list, so I think that implies a limited audience.

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