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[INTERVIEW] Alessandra Torre, Bestselling Author And Co-Founder Of Authors A.I.

Alessandra Torre is a New York Times bestselling author with 24 novels to her credit, and is also president and co-founder of Authors A.I., a tech start-up that uses artificial intelligence to help fiction authors write better books. In addition, she started an online community for authors that now includes online courses, an annual conference, and more than 10,000 authors.

We chat with Alessandra on her work helping other authors.

Describe your professional background and how it led you to become involved in Authors A.I.

In 2012, I entered the field of publishing as a first-time novelist, one with wide eyes and a lot of questions. Over the next eight years, I wrote twenty-four novels, entered into publishing contracts with Hachette, Harlequin and Amazon, and started an online community of authors that has grown to over 10,000 users. I’ve sold over 1 million copies of my novels and have become fascinated with the processes of writing, editing and marketing bestselling novels.

Initially, I came on board with Authors, A.I. as a founding author, which is an advisor/investor role. As I learned more about the artificial intelligence being created and began to envision the greater possibilities ahead, I grew more involved until I reached my current role as company president.

How does your A.I. algorithm, Marlowe, help novelists?

Think of Marlowe as the smartest, most well-read developmental editor in the world. All she does, all day long, is read and learn from novels. In addition to knowing everything about what makes a great novel, she’s also super fast, unbiased and kind.

A development editor looks at plot arcs, narrative arcs, pacing, content and character development. Marlowe does all that plus sentence structure, punctuation, reading level, repetitive phrases and adverb and adjective usage.

How was Marlowe developed?

Her technology is advanced, but the idea is simple — she read hundreds of bestsellers, analyzed them, and learned what set their story apart from others. She can read any manuscript, compare it to the bestsellers, and give that author tips and pointers to help improve the novel.

Can you give an example of what tips Marlowe can give to authors?

Sure! She has 25 pages of feedback and tips, so there’s a lot to share. Some of my favorite sections are the plot structure graphs. Here’s an example of the one from my emotional psychological suspense, The Ghostwriter. This graph shows a book’s narrative arc and major plot turns at a glance — and it’s always so interesting and exciting to see the moments of conflict and resolution.

Another really cool feature is our dialog map, which measures the amount of dialogue in your novel and shows where it exists across your novel. What’s cool about Marlowe is that she not only tells you how much dialogue your novel has, but what percentage most popular novels contain so you can see if your book is heavier or lighter than bestseller norms. 

Is adopting bestsellers’ features to new manuscripts expected to change procurement in publishing?

A stronger novel = more interest from both publishers and readers. As novelists, our books are our babies, and we want to give them as much of a leg-up as possible. Our goal is to identify the most appealing standards to purchasers and help the author hit those standards.

If authors follow Marlowe’s recommendations, will it diminish their creativity?

Absolutely not! Marlowe’s recommendations are like giant guideposts at the end of a field. The authors can make their own creative decisions on how they want to travel toward the guidepost, and whether they want to skip, cartwheel or dive over that finish line.

What are authors saying about how Marlowe improved their manuscripts?

We’ve received some amazing feedback. Authors really value the immediate and non-biased feedback — but are also fascinated with seeing their novel plotted out in data points. It’s been interesting to see which pieces of the report different authors gravitate toward. Some love the pacing, beats and plot analysis, while others love the cliché finder, dialogue, verb choice and sentence stats. Here are some responses from authors who have tried Marlowe:

“Marlowe is a powerful and impressive tool for authors of all levels. Even with over fifty books under my belt, I was able to see where my next manuscript may need a few tweaks to give my readers a more enjoyable experience. I’ll definitely be using it again!”

Ellis Leigh, Author

“Marlowe is a fantastic resource for writers. Not only does it break down the elements of a bestseller, but it shows you the beats of your story, gives you an indication of how accessible your novel is, and hunts out all your overused words and phrases. All of these elements combine to create an indispensable first pass for your novel.”

Sarah Dalton, Author

“This is the editorial check a self-published author needs to build a better manuscript. It’s a digital extra set of eyes every writer needs in our efforts to create the perfect story before sending it to a professional editor.”

Billie Dale, Author

“For the writer serious about a publishing career, Authors A.I. is an indispensable resource. The program works like a developmental editor, highlighting your manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses. I’ve spent decades learning the craft of storytelling. Authors A.I. can strengthen your skill set in the time it takes to read the report.”

Christine Nolfi, Author

To learn more, go to authors.ai.

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Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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