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Computer Program Predicts Book Title Success


 How much does the title of a book contribute to its success? Authors and their book editors agree, it's the toughest part of the job. Computer science researcher, Dr. Atai Winkler at plugged in all the bestselling hard cover fiction titles off the New York Times bestseller list from the last 50 years and here is what he discovered: 


April 25, 2006
— The novelist John le Carré topped the list for most consistent career record of titles with the right attributes for success -- ahead of JK Rowling and Dan Brown. He scored 0.62 as averaged over 19 books.

Among the study's findings:

- Figurative or abstract titles, such as "Sleeping Murder," or "Presumed Innocent," work better than literal titles like, "The Da Vinci Code."

-A title's length does not affect sales, contrary to publishing industry wisdom, which decries that bestseller titles be short.

-"Sleeping Murder," by Agatha Christi published just after the author's death in 1976 was the only title to achieve the computer program's highest available score of 0.83


Test Your Own Title

The folks at a self-publishing company offer this service on their website. If one of your new year's resolutions is to publish your book, try plugging your operating title and see how it scores:


We'd like to hear how you made out.  Drop us a line at 

John le Carre Book Title Refresher

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