StoryFit offers AI insights to drive publishers’ decisions about books

StoryFit offers AI insights to drive publishers’ decisions about books

This Austin-based tech company uses rich data to determine everything from optimal metadata to market fit.


The pitch

StoryFit is a technology company that delivers artificial intelligence insights and solutions for the book publishing, movie, and television production industries. Based in Austin, Texas, the startup utilises artificial intelligence to measure over 100,000 key story features in a text and compare them to thousands of other books in real time, generating actionable insights and intelligence.

“StoryFit is unique in that our data informs decision-making throughout a story’s lifecycle --  from acquisition & creative development through marketing and sales,” reports founder and c.e.o. Monica Landers. “It can help publishers in multiple areas including increasing productivity and efficiency, improving discoverability and categorization of titles, acquiring the best content, identifying the most effective story elements for audience engagement, and tracking key development changes.”

The team

Landers has an extensive background in media, holding executive leadership positions at multiple content companies, including Demand Media, where she served as v.p., Media Innovation. Rudy Prince, c.o.o., served as founder/c.e.o. of eFax.com in Silicon Valley, which he successfully lead to IPO. Mark Bessen, c.t.o., a data scientist and researcher on quantitative narrative analysis, came to StoryFit from Apple where he worked with iBooks recommendation team . And Mary Brendza, who leads the publishing team, was an executive and entrepreneur for media companies including Hearst and Verizon.

What’s the gap in the market?

“We noticed the amount of data available to storytellers was sparse,” Landers explains. “Due to recent innovations in AI, we can now quantify metrics like sentiment, tone, and character personality.  We are able to measure and compare, providing storytellers with rich data like never before.

“Early on, we discovered publishers needed help optimizing their metadata. (Amazon allows publishers to input keywords into Vendor Central that they, in turn, use to power their search engine.) Because publishers have thousands of titles, it is impossible to manually create them quickly.  A machine-automated solution could process 1,000s of titles in hours with great precision, improving the title’s discoverability and lifting sales.”

StoryFit hopes to fill this demand with AI-powered content insights, audience Insights, market fit analysis, competitor analysis and “marketing collections”, which aggregates all a publisher’s titles into subcategories and themes for direct to consumer marketing.

Success so far?

Founded in 2014, StoryFit currently works with more than 70 publishers. Recently, they shared a case study that included ten publishers showcasing keywords sales lift across a variety of genres, including frontlist and backlist; on average they showed their keywords improving sales roughly 34% while also increasing productivity. They’ve also produced custom intelligence, creating several bespoke projects based on a publisher’s specific needs.

Biggest challenges?

“Adoption of new technologies is always challenging,” Landers admits. “Selling our product includes educating publishers on the technology and the benefits, including opportunities and efficiencies. Because the technology is new, often they aren’t aware that solutions like StoryFit exist. “

Ultimate ambition?

StoryFit’s ultimate mission is “to champion great stories.”

“We want storytellers to realize there is more information available that can provide deep insights into their story and help inform their gut, connect them to their audience, all while improving speed to market,” Landers enthuses.

Advice to other publishing entrepreneurs?

“Be passionate about what you do because it will get you through the rough spots and make the wins even sweeter.”