The Writing and Marketing Show

Using AI in your Writing and Author Business

June 14, 2023 Wendy H. Jones Episode 177
Using AI in your Writing and Author Business
The Writing and Marketing Show
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The Writing and Marketing Show
Using AI in your Writing and Author Business
Jun 14, 2023 Episode 177
Wendy H. Jones

AI or artificial intelligence, is the hot topic for discussion in writers' circles at the moment. However, love it or hate it, it is not going away. Today's episode is a balanced discussion about AI outlining both sides of the argument, so you, the writer, can make your own informed choice regarding the topic. 

Show Notes Transcript

AI or artificial intelligence, is the hot topic for discussion in writers' circles at the moment. However, love it or hate it, it is not going away. Today's episode is a balanced discussion about AI outlining both sides of the argument, so you, the writer, can make your own informed choice regarding the topic. 

Artificial Intelligence and Writing


I’ve been thinking a lot about Artificial Intelligence Recently as, I believe, have many other writers and authors. It is currently the elephant in the room but, whatever our feelings, it is not something that can be ignored. I’ve been looking into it more deeply – podcasts, articles, talks, and debates between both camps on social media. I have joined Facebook groups about the use of AI. Now, before you burn me at the stake or place me on a pedestal, depending on which camp you are in, please hear me out. My plea for you to hear me out is for a good reason and I will discuss this in more detail later in the show. 


Before we get going it might be useful to give you a few of the AI tools out there. I personally use ChatGPT 4. There is also, Sudowrite, Jasper, Ryter, and so many more. I’m not going to go into the ones that do cover design because I am not a graphic designer, and this podcast is merely about using AI writing tools.


Let’s start with the two camps – one on either side of the argument. Frome the discussions I’ve been following it would seem:


1.     There are those who love AI and think it is going to revolutionise writing in a good way. This camp sees potential in the technology and, as early adopters, are using it to enhance their business and their writing. 

2.     Those who hate AI and think that is likely to be the end of writing as we know it.


Both camps feel that they are right, and feelings are currently running high. Therefore, I thought I would give you an overview of the AI debate as I currently see it. I am going to do this by looking at the debate for using AI and then the debate as to why people feel that we should not be using it.


Firstly, the reasons why AI could be seen as a good thing for the writing and publishing community as a whole.


·      Using it to write books. Before you switch off this podcast and say this should never be happening, hear me out. Remember, this is merely a discussion, and I am putting across both sides of this argument, so people can make an informed choice. There will also be a discussion on why we should not be using it to write books. There is an argument that we should be using it in order to generate ideas to give us more thrilling aspects of a story. For example, I would like you to know before I give you the example, that I have not used this in any way in my books. So, the example, give me a plot twist in a crime book about a male sleuth who is about to capture the person he thinks is responsible for a murder. As I say, I made this up on the spot. I have not even typed this into any artificial intelligence programme. At the other end of the spectrum, you could ask it to write your story or even an opening to your story and then put it into your own words. Again, I have not tried this but I know there are writers who are doing this.

·      Generating a plot. For this you would need to give it great detail. For example, give me a plot for a novel about a one-legged monkey who wants to take over the zoo and get rid of humans who are running it. This is not enough, and the monkey asks the meerkats for help to take over the city. This is only the beginning, and the ultimate destination is world domination. However, the rest of the zoo animals decide that this isn't going to happen and band together to stop the evil plot. Again, I made this up on the spot. I have no intentions of putting this into ChatGPT 4 which I use or even writing the book. There could be an argument against this saying it is not real writing, however, it does give writers choice.

·      Why not use it to form the structure of a PowerPoint presentation on a workshop that you are presenting. This can save a lot of time.

·      Or in a similar vein, use it to generate an outline of a course that you're going to be running. I tried this, and not only did it bring up what I was going to be teaching anyway but I did another couple of things in I hadn't thought of. This can only be to the student’s advantage.

·      Generating sales copy. Let me tell you this is one of the best uses of AI that I have found so far. I am not a natural at writing sales copy, so much time can be saved by asking ChatGPT 4. I will add that I then went over it with a fine tooth comb, rewrote it, and made sure it was not plagiarised. This saved me so much time.

·      You can also use it to generate ad copy. Again, this makes it so much easier and the time saved can be used in other ways.

·      Writing blurbs. Oh, my goodness, this can revolutionise your life. I know many writers spend more time organising over a blurb which is roughly 100 words than they do writing the entire book. Use this. you will not regret it. 

·      Generating titles. I recently spent four days trying to think of a name for a new writing magazine I was setting up. Unfortunately, searches showed that every single title I thought of was already taken by a company, a Twitter handle, Facebook page, Facebook group, Instagram page, or Pinterest page. I was losing the world to live and then thought about using ChatGPT 4. I asked for 10 names for a brand new writing magazine which have already not been used anywhere. Within two seconds I had chosen the title Writers’ Narrative. I wish I had done that in the first place. By the way I did check that that was not in use already before using it.

·      Generating a synopsis. Again, you will need to give it great detail. 

·      Generating query letters. Remember full details.

·      It can be used to design covers. However, you need to be very careful, but it is not using copyrighted images. This is not something I plan on doing but there are cover designers currently using aspects of AI to help them design covers.

·      Research. You can't use it to research aspects of your book. However, if it does not know the answer, it might just make it up. Make sure you check your facts.


Now what of the other side of the debate. I promised you a balanced discussion, so it's important to hear from those who are against the use of AI in writing.


·      It is ethically and morally wrong. Yes, it could be argued that using AI is not ethical, that it is somehow cheating. I get that, the joy of being a writer is in writing. It is down to each individual writer to decide that they will use it in an ethical manner. For example, if I say write the opening to a crime novel based on a one legged monkey who has killed a zookeeper. If I say do it in the voice of Wendy H. Jones, then I am being ethical. If I say, write it in the voice of insert name of famous writer, then I am not being ethical. I'm firmly in the camp that believes it should be used in an ethical manner.

·      It is the end of writing. No one will be able to write a book as it will all be done by machines. Again, this is a valid concern. However, I think there will always be an appetite for books written by humans rather than machines.

·      I've heard people saying I might as well give up right now as there will be no room for writers in the future. My answer to this is watch carefully, look at all the sides of the argument, and carry on writing.

·      Publishers will be inundated with a tsunami of books. If a book can be written in just a couple of days, then thousands upon thousands of submissions can happen every day. This is a valid concern. It was raised by a publisher in a talk I attended at London book fair. Publishers are already putting into contracts that the writer must state that no part of the book was written by AI. 

·      Copyright issues. It is already being stated that books written by artificial intelligence cannot be copyrighted. There are many large organisations such as the Society of authors and the writers Guild of America looking into this. This is a watch and see situation.

·      Using it to enter competitions. I cannot say strongly enough that no one should be submitting anything written by AI in a competition. This is wrong on so many fronts. I'm going to give you an example and please note, I have not and will not use this for anything in fact I do not have the text anymore, I deleted it immediately. I asked ChatGPT 4 to write a 40-line poem about a woman sitting next to her dying husband's bedside. Within seconds I had a poem which no one would know had been written by artificial intelligence. As I say I have no intention of entering any poetry competitions and I deleted it immediately, but the argument is, people can actually do it and just not say. I would like to refer back to discussion on using it in a moral and ethical way. There was a recent brouhaha where someone won a cover design competition and then it came out that some of the cover was AI generated. The prize was removed on that cover designer’s reputation tarnished. The company running the competition also dropped the competition completely and said they would no longer be running it. This is the reality today and it's a sad not a competition had to stop running because someone did not realise they should not be entering under those circumstances.

·      Another argument is that people don't want to put anything into it because they're training it. Again, a valid argument and one we should consider when thinking about using AI.

·      There are concerns that it will steal a manuscript and then someone else will be able to put it out under their name. Now, I'm not entirely sure that is the case, but it is an argument we should listen to.


Whatever camp you stand in you can be assured that organisations such as the Society of authors, the alliance of independent authors, or the writers Guild of America are looking into the uses of AI in writing. All of the publishers are also looking into this. One thing that no one seems to be talking about is that we are already using artificial intelligence in our everyday lives. Technology such as Amazon Alexa, apple home pod, and smart TV's are already using AI. Yet, many of us use them every day. I am typing the notes for this presentation using speech to text on word. This is a form of artificial intelligence. For those of you that use Canva, you may have notice that gives you theme colours or branded colours, this is a form of artificial intelligence.


I would like to suggest there is a third camp. This is for those of us who are exploring it and using it in a tentative way in the beginning. Whatever way you look at it AI is not going away. As writers we need to be exploring it and seeing how it can help us in our business. My suggestion is harness it and use it in ways that work. After all, isn't that what we did with computers and the Internet at first? Yet, now we all walk around with a computer in our pocket or even on our wrist. AI is here to stay.