Last night I was playing around with the ChatGPT that everyone is talking about (https://chat.openai.com/auth/login). You have to create an account, but that’s not a big deal. I was curious about it, since I’ve seen references to it everywhere, and you probably have, too. No matter your thoughts on using AI generated artwork for book covers or books written exclusively from AI generated text, AI is here to stay, and in some ways, it can make your life a bit easier.
When I was playing with it, I was trying to brainstorm the next two books in my rockstar trilogy. Al, as I will call him now since AI in certain fonts looks like Al to me anyway, won’t talk about death, and that was a big problem. The whole trilogy centers around the tragic death of a bandmate, and brainstorming with someone who won’t/can’t/refuses to talk about death and dying ended our conversation before it even began. So that was one reason why chatting with Al was unhelpful. Another reason I found it hard to talk to him is while he must have all the information in the whole world at his fingertips, his responses were generic and filled with qualifications. Al isn’t allowed to have real thoughts and opinions, so if you ask him something like, “Do you think Martha is a pretty woman’s name?” he’ll say:
“As an AI language model, I don’t have personal opinions. However, the perception of names, including Martha, as pretty or not is subjective and can vary depending on cultural and individual preferences.”
What a wishy-washy response! I asked him to help me with names for my characters and asked him what secrets would tear up a couple. His answers were flat and unimaginative. I decided to flip from fiction to nonfiction, which is where people say it helps the most with blogging, copywriting, etc, and I asked Al, how do you market a book? He said:
“Marketing a book can be a complex and multi-faceted process, but there are several strategies that can be effective in promoting your book and reaching your target audience. Some of these strategies include:
- Building an author platform: This can involve creating a website, social media presence, and email list to engage with fans and promote your book.
- Networking with other authors and industry professionals: Attend book fairs, join writing organizations, and connect with others in the publishing industry to build relationships and gain exposure.
- Utilizing book review sites and blogs: Reach out to book bloggers and review sites to request reviews of your book. Positive reviews can help increase visibility and credibility.
- Hosting events and book signings: Consider hosting a launch party, book signing, or other event to generate buzz and connect with fans.
- Offering special promotions and deals: Offer limited-time discounts or giveaways to incentivize people to purchase your book.
- Leveraging traditional media: Consider reaching out to local newspapers, radio stations, or TV shows to secure media coverage and promote your book.
- Paid advertising: Consider investing in paid advertising, such as online ads, Facebook ads, or Goodreads ads, to reach a larger audience and drive sales.
Marketing a book is a continuous process, and success will often require a combination of these strategies, as well as creativity and persistence. The key is to have a clear understanding of your target audience and what will resonate with them, and to continually test and refine your approach over time.”
That actually doesn’t sound too bad, and in reality, does offer some advice that you can follow, but marketing a book is pretty cut and dried and Al didn’t say anything I didn’t already know. I asked him how important a book cover is, and he said:
“Book covers play a crucial role in book marketing, as they are often the first thing a potential reader sees and can impact their decision to purchase the book. A well-designed book cover can convey the tone and theme of the book, grab the reader’s attention, and create a memorable visual representation of the book. However, a poorly designed cover may discourage readers from purchasing the book, even if its content is of high quality. It’s important for publishers and authors to invest in a well-designed book cover as it can have a significant impact on the book’s overall success.”
That’s not really a surprise either, and I guess where I’m going with this is, Al isn’t going to give you any out of the box answers to black and white questions. He lacks the creativity to do so. I asked him how to build a newsletter, and he said:
“Building a successful newsletter requires careful planning and a strong understanding of your target audience. Here are some steps to help you build a successful newsletter:
- Define your goals: What do you want to achieve with your newsletter? Do you want to promote your business, share industry news, or build relationships with your subscribers?
- Determine your target audience: Who do you want to reach with your newsletter? What are their interests and needs? This will help you tailor your content to them and ensure that your newsletter is relevant and engaging.
- Choose a platform: There are many email marketing platforms available, such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or Aweber, that make it easy to create and manage a newsletter. Choose a platform that fits your needs and budget.
- Create compelling content: The content of your newsletter is critical to its success. Make sure it’s relevant, valuable, and engaging to your target audience. Use a mix of text, images, and multimedia to keep things interesting.
- Optimize for mobile: Many people read emails on their smartphones, so make sure your newsletter is optimized for mobile devices. Keep your layout simple, use large font sizes, and include clear call-to-actions.
- Build your subscriber list: Encourage people to sign up for your newsletter by offering incentives, such as exclusive content or special offers. Make it easy for people to subscribe by including clear sign-up forms on your website and in your email signature.
- Test and refine: Continuously test and refine your newsletter to ensure that it’s meeting your goals and resonating with your target audience. Pay attention to metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to gauge its success.
Building a successful newsletter takes time and effort, but it can be a powerful way to build relationships with your audience and promote your business or brand. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a newsletter that resonates with your audience and achieves your goals.”
It was a fun experiment, but don’t be afraid I’m going to turn this blog into AI generated content. Al isn’t publishing, he isn’t writing newsletters, he’s not trying to sell books running FB and Amazon ads. One of the best ways to connect with your readers, be it a blog post, a tweet, or a whole damned book, is to offer experiences, feelings, and emotions. Al isn’t experiencing anything and can’t connect with anyone that way.
I could use Al for inspiration, maybe ask him to help me come up with lyrics for a couple of songs that are expected to go with a rockstar romance, but at this point, copyright and legalities of using AI generated content is fuzzy and I don’t want to land in hot water by using and selling something that isn’t technically “mine.” I would never feed Al my blurb and ask him to come up with ad copy or hooks. I prefer to keep my own IP to myself for now, even that means I look like an untrusting idiot.
Al might be great at coming up with a plot–a billionaire moves to his hometown after a personal tragedy and he falls in love with a florist, but because Al doesn’t have feelings, he’ll never be able to help with the story–the real reason why a couple can’t be together. That was what I was trying to get at last night, but he’ll never be able to give me that. I’ll have to figure out my own characters’ backstories and their emotional wounds keeping them from being together.
Can Al come in handy? Maybe if you’re pressed for time and just want to copy and paste content into a blog post. The samples above aren’t empty–they provide actionable steps that an author can follow to build a newsletter or market your book, but it’s the personal experiences of authors who share what works for them and what doesn’t that will build a real audience full of real humans looking to connect with who you are as a person and what you have to share that can help them with their own endeavors.
If you try it, let me know what you think! Thanks for reading today and have a great week!
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