One of the drawbacks of self-publishing is that you have to pay editors out of your pocket in order to get your e-book ready for distribution. Many of them forgo hiring one altogether and readers often find themselves wading through a ton of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. There is now an alternative to a human editor, a robot one.
IBM has unveiled the Watson Tone Analyzer, that allows writers to copy and paste a body of text and the system will perform a “tone check” to analyze three different aspects of it: emotional, social and writing style. Each of those is divided into further categories — for instance, it can tell you if your writing style is confident or tentative, and whether the emotional tone is cheerful, angry or negative. From there, it can give you a breakdown of the overall tone and suggest new words to “fix” it.
The experimental service is currently available for English text input, and is free for exploration. More details about this service, the science behind it, how to use the APIs, and example applications are available in the documentation. You can also try out the service at this demo link.
I think this tool is part thesaurus, dictionary and editor. In the near future a number of self-publishing companies will likely adopt the Watson SDK into their online indie author tool set.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.