Publishing Needs a Quantitative Framework for Assessing Manuscripts
Jessica Riches

After reading Jessica’s essay, I’m surprised that an essay could be so humorous. It’s a hard thing for a non-native speaker like me. Also I thought an essay should be serious and dull… But I was wrong. It’s an enjoyable experience reading this intelligent essay. It’s well structured, pretty readable with a clear, fluent, and confident tone.

I remember Jessica once mentioned this topic in an editing class, too. I was impressed by her speaking that time and got curious about if and how data should be used for acquisition in publishing industry. Surprisingly, I was given an even deeper discussion on it by Jessica in this essay. Lucky me!

After this term’s study, I discovered that Harry Potter is a permanent example for publishing. Once again, Jessica has smartly used it as an example to show that publishers sometime cannot make the right decision and there might be chance that they could if they use a quantitative framework to assess manuscripts. It’s a familiar and persuasive example. And I think it’s perfect for starting the topic. In addition, Andrew Piper’s research is also a great example for demonstrating that data is indeed useful for evaluating or predicting the prospects of books.

Since some concerns were mentioned in the end of the essay, I have to say there’s one point I expected didn’t appear, which I think was also talked about by Jessica in that editing class I mentioned above. One of the defects of using data to judge and decide if a book should be published, if it would be popular among readers, if it would make money for the publisher, is that it might make publishers forget or neglect the responsibility of educating people. Of course, everyone loves fiction, romantic stories, thrillers, or those fancy bells and whistles. But if publishers only publishing what is most profitable, popular, and desired by most readers, there would be a fair chance that readers become lazier and even more stupid. Sometime readers need to be pushed to do some “dull” reading on some serious topics. They suffer and they learn. I think it would be better if this point was discussed in this essay.

But in general, it an essay with a significant topic, interesting opinions, and excellent writing. I like the inserted pictures and video a lot, too, making this piece of blog more energetic and appealing. No wonder it’s an article written by a future editor.

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