Saturday, 9 November 2013

Lulu Helix Review - Book Genome project

The good people at Lulu were offering a book review at a massive discount (40% off). I was very pleased with their detailed analysis of Archer compared to other young adult novels (specifically Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials"). If anyone knows of another YA book that Archer most resembles, I'd be pleased to hear it.

Anyway the stats went something like this:
Archer YA HDM RA Range
Motion 61 59 61 68 46-72
Density 40 26 27 47 10-42
Dialog 68 65 74 60 51-79
Description 34 35 41 38 21-49
 HDM is His Dark Materials, RA is the Rangers Apprentice series by John Flanagan - apparently Archer's scores most closely match 4 of this series of books. Not one I'd come across, but guess what I'll be looking for to read next?

Just to explain the metrics: 
Motion is the description of physical motion in a scene, for YA books this ranges from 46 to 72% of the book (average 59%). Archer scores well on this.
Density is a language complexity measure (sentence structure, vocab breadth etc) - Archer is right at the top end for YA making it a challenging read.
Dialogue does not include internal monolgue - Archer is on the high side for this (no kidding! - it comes from my being an Air sign - we lurve to talk).
Description needs no explanation - I'm pleased to see Archer is just below average - my eyes glaze over when there is too much, I figure many YA readers are the same.

The analysis also included some stats about word/sentence/paragraph and book length compared to averages for YA and all books. I'm happy to say that Archer generally comes smack bang in between the two, backing up a number of comments from people (see next post).
YA Archer Adult
Book length 49,296 54,813 82,112
Paragraph 38 54 72
Sentence 13 17 17
Word  4.2 4.3 4.5
Unique Vocab 4,853 6,060 7,555

The DNA analysis suggested the major themes were: Medieval Weapons & Armor, Strategic Planning / Conflict Management, Crowds/Audience, Horses, Music/Performance, Expressions of Emotion and School/College environment. I'd agree with these, but was surprised there was no mention of ancient festivals/enchantment or wood-working/crafts.

The other thing they did was to create a highly skewed frequency density chart (Wordle to most of us) for the most unique words in Archer compared to other books on the market. Here is their version:

















I was surprised by a number of their choices (instant, despite, boy, rest, girl, start, break, point, round) these did not feel at all unique, but it gave me an idea. I've been playing with one or two Wordle look-alikes - watch this space.

The upshot is, I would recommend this analysis - even at the full price of £34.99 (approx $50) this is pretty good value and gives some good marketing ideas as well. They also do a lite version at £19.99 (approx $30) with no DNA or comparible titles analysis, but well worth getting if it's all you can afford. You can find it here:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/helix-review/service/product-helixreview.html

Good Luck

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