Ben Blatt has written a fascinating book merging big data with literary criticism. Nabokov's Favorite Word Is Mauve looks at common writing advice and then analyses bestselling fiction, literary fiction and fan fiction to see how well authors follow the advice, and by inference how well respected the advice is among authors.
If you're interested in self-publishing, then this will give you tons to think about. Ben Blatt presents the data in a clear and concise manner and though a statistician the book isn't heavy on jargon.
"In Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve, statistician and journalist Ben Blatt brings big data to the literary canon, exploring the wealth of fun findings that remain hidden in the works of the world’s greatest writers. He assembles a database of thousands of books and hundreds of millions of words, and starts asking the questions that have intrigued curious word nerds and book lovers for generations: What are our favorite authors’ favorite words? Do men and women write differently? Are bestsellers getting dumber over time? Which bestselling writer uses the most clichés? What makes a great opening sentence? How can we judge a book by its cover? And which writerly advice is worth following or ignoring?"
Highly recommended book and available in the Kindle store.