Monday Coffee – 3 February 2020

Here are a few stories to read this Monday morning.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Disgusting Dude3 February, 2020

    You’re missing an adjective:

    “The US book publishing industry is as white bread today as it was four years ago. ”

    Should be:

    “The traditional US book publishing industry is as white bread today as it was four years ago.”

    The gone but not forgotten Author Earnings report pointed out that 90% of urban minority litfic was Indie.
    And on tbe Indie world nobody filters out authors or characters by ethnicity.
    Different world, different rules.

    1. Nate Hoffelder3 February, 2020

      Good point! My statement completely overlooks all the small press and indie authors.

  2. Tom Wood3 February, 2020

    Thank you for including the Plos One research article about Wattpad readers. Of particular interest is the section on the emotional reactions to specific portions of the text in the books they studied.

    A couple of excerpts that may seem ‘duh’ but which also show that young readers appreciate witty writing:

    “Looking at the most commented paragraphs, we discovered that readers like when characters react to violence, bullies, and rude people. Not really in a physical way, rather with sarcasm and words that can shut up the abuser. Similarly, candid characters trigger positive comments, whether they are outspoken or it is only their thoughts that are reported.”

    “Regarding our third hypothesis, we can affirm that comparing the sentiment of stories and comments provided empirical evidence to link textual features to readers’ emotional response. From the analysis of matching and diverging intervals we got confirmation that witty characters are very much appreciated, as already suggested by the most commented paragraphs. Moreover, having secondary characters whose personality create a contrast with that of the protagonists is a strategy that amplifies readers’ reaction.”

    This section is particularly funny:

    “With respect to the innovative methodology that we applied, we gained some valuable feedback. Concerning the attribution of sentiment value to comments, we noted that positive response did not correspond to positive sentiment only. For instance, it is true that many comments reacting to witty characters mention “yes”, “well said”, “I’m enjoying this”, “I love her”, but there are also many enthusiastic expressions like “burn”, “slay”, “savage”, “damn”, which are considered as negative sentiment. Syuzhet default dictionary is not suited to correctly interpret neither this kind of comments nor the lingo used by the Wattpad community (e.g., “lmao” for “laugh my ass out”, “lol” for “laugh out loud”, “cinnamon roll” for “cute, sweet”, etc.). As these examples show, an important thing to remember is that negative sentiment does not necessarily mean that reader response is negative. A specific sentiment dictionary will need to be prepared in order to assign appropriate values to these expressions.”

    That helps explain the divergence in the graphs where the emotional valence of the text goes up while the valence of the comments goes down.

  3. Federico Pianzola3 February, 2020

    I’m glad you liked our article.
    Sentiment analysis is always tricky to interpret, I would refrain from drawing strong conclusions based on that only. We used it as a tool to identify noteworthy intervals regarding the text-response relationship and have been careful to balance it with other methods, as you noted.

    Anyway, I think it is definitely worth it to do more research on Wattpad. it’s such an important resource to understand how teenagers read.


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