AI seems to be everywhere since the release of ChatGPT. But should you be using it in your writing business?
Before we go on, if you’re unfamiliar with AI, here’s a mini-glossary:
AI: artificial intelligence.
ChatGPT: Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer.
ChatGPT is an AI app. It’s a text generative tool, developed by the company OpenAI, and released in November 2022. ChatGPT began the AI frenzy.
Writers fall into two main groups when it comes to AI.
Your writing business and AI: the two groups
Group 1: you’re bullish on AI and it excites you.
Group 2: You’re wary of it because you have deep concerns about the ethics of AI generators.
I fall somewhere between the two groups.
But… Here’s the thing. You can’t argue with AI. It exists and it’s not going anywhere. Over a billion people have accessed ChatGPT in the five months since its release.
Most people are curious. Others are happily tinkering. Some are diving in at the deep end—using AI to be more productive. That includes writers: they realize that they can use AI in their writing business.
What about ethics and concerns about intellectual property you may ask?
Ethical concerns: yes, there are many
Concerns exist, but realistically, no one can stop the rise of AI.
Regarding copyright, that ship pretty much sailed in 2002, with Google’s book-digitizing enterprise, Project Ocean. In 2004, a mere two years later, Project Ocean became Google Books. This meant that for all practical purposes, writers and publishers lost control of their books’ copyright.
Now AI is here. Let’s look at some reasons for considering its value for your writing business.
1. AI gives you time to think
We’re already using AI to save time, but it’s invisible, mostly. It’s on your phone, and on the web. Then ChatGPT took off, and now AI is not only visible, but it’s also usable. Without creating code or anything else you can talk to AI and get it to do things.
AI gives you time to think. You can ask ChatGPT to summarize something you’ve written, tell the app who it’s for, and ask for suggestions for what else you might include.
Mostly I look at AI as a type of super-search.
2. More ideas, more easily
Prompts — the instructions you give AI — are everything. If you give simple instructions, you get bland results. It’s easy to improve your prompts so that AI gives you the results you want. You’ll often be very surprised at how well AI executes.
On days when your head feels as if it’s stuffed with cotton wool, you can paste something into your AI app, and ask it for ideas.
However, do be aware that AI isn’t intelligent. Nor does it think. that said, we can work around AI’s limitations to get its help with many of our daily chores and work tasks.
A tip: be aware of copyright issues and concerns.
Copyright issues: who owns the copyright in generated text?
If we query an AI tool, who owns the copyright in the resulting AI-generated text and other materials?
Copyright fundamentally involves:
- A creator.
- Material in a fixed, tangible form.
Countries have their own copyright laws, and in some cases, individual states within those countries have additional copyright laws.
A lawyer quoted in a Forbes article said:
“Absent human creative input, a work is not entitled to copyright protection. As a result, the U.S. Copyright Office will not register a work that was created by an autonomous artificial intelligence tool.”
An article in The Conversation, about who owns the copyright of AI-generated content, reports:
“The UK government recently carried out a consultation on AI and copyright… The tech sector believes the copyright to AI-generated content should belong to users, whereas the creative sector wants this content to be excluded from ownership completely.”
It’s advisable to be wary when you publish AI-generated material as your own. In self-publishing, when you publish to KDP, Amazon asks you whether you own the copyright to the material you’re publishing. Can you claim the rights to something AI created?
3. Proofing and editing, to an extent
We’ve had grammar-correcting apps for years, so you know how they work.
If you’re a professional writer, however, you also know that these apps aren’t intelligent, and can be more trouble than they’re worth. They have a nasty habit of trying to edit a style you took a lot of trouble to create, for example.
That said, AI is fine for basics like proofreading; it will pick up typos and other oopsies.
4. Tailor your words to an audience
AI is good at achieving a tone in your text.
For example, you might want a more persuasive or encouraging tone in a piece of content. Rather than laboring over it yourself, AI can change the tone in seconds. As always, you’ll need to edit the results, but it does save time.
5. Quick and easy translations of text
Very useful for freelance writing client work, as well as for research, if you want to read a paper in a language you don’t know.
6. Easier email and proposals
If you’re a freelancer, AI can help you to write cold-call emails to approach prospective clients. It can also create quotes for you and client questionnaires.
I tend to put off things like creating questionnaires and client onboarding materials. Although I know they’d make my life easier, they’re boring. Type an AI prompt, and AI creates the bones of your questionnaire in seconds.
The bright side of AI for your writing business
As always, there’s a bright side to apps like ChatGPT.
They can help to make running our business easier. Apps like ChatGPT are spawning new niches, products, and even entire fields.
Writers communicate, above all. We’ve now got a whole new world opening to us. Be brave. Explore. Follow your intuition, and you’ll find the bright side and ways to use AI in your writing business.
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The Easy-Write Process changed my life; I developed it over several years of struggling with writing. Try it: it works for all types of writing, whether you're writing books, blogging, or self-publishing.More info →
Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.