Would you like to play a game?
So, yes, the sky is falling according to authors and artists. AI chat and art apps are changing the playing field and many people are freaked out. What do you mean a computer is going to replace me?
Let’s not think about how wonderful life would be if computers replaced all those boring jobs and created revenue that was distributed to people who now had time to enjoy life. You know, the way it was supposed to work. (Bucky Fuller, you are missed!)
Can a computer program, an AI algorithm write blog posts and books, as well as create art better than a human?
Yes. Well, better than some humans. It’s on par with mediocre writers and maybe artists who don’t know they are mediocre. (You know who I’m talking about…) I can use AI to generate a cute cat in a top hat that I could never do on my own. (Actually, I can watch my friend Tara of MarketingArtfully generate an AI cat in a top hat.) But… there’s nothing novel or artistic about it. In fact, sometimes the results are clumsy and wrong and other times something is just a little…off. Most of the time, the result is serviceable. Not good, not bad. Tara is a professional artist, and she can list off all the issues with the images. I can only tell you that the lady cat’s eyes are weird. If I had tried to do this, the cats would not look as good. On the other hand, Tara’s also someone who can say, “Good enough” when it actually is good enough.
The same goes for the written word.
Most chat AI programs (I’m playing with OpenAI’s ChatGPT but there are many versions out there) pull information from the Internet (OpenAI does not–it goes up to about 2021), which includes about all the information ever, and then constructs what you ask for (and if you ask, in a specific style).
The other day I asked it to outline a book on how to open a one-person virtual assistant business. It responded (quickly, I might add) with an eight chapter (plus appendices!) outline:
- Understanding Your Skills and Niche
- Creating a Business Plan
- Setting Up Your Business
- Marketing and Networking Your Business
- Delivering Quality Services
- Growing and Scaling Your Business
Now, that’s a pretty non-specific list of topics. Each of the chapters had three to five pertinent topics to explore. Pertinent to setting up any business, not specifically a virtual assistant business. I am tempted to ask it to write a sample chapter (if I do, I’ll let you know). The list is generic, in a sense, but fairly comprehensive. If you were looking for a place to start, this is not bad. If I created more specific questions, I could probably get less generic responses, but not expert level material.
Today, I asked it “What are the steps to self publish a print book?”
Here’s what I got:
- Write your book: This is the most important step, and can take a long time depending on the length and complexity of your book.
- Edit your book: A good editor is essential to help you refine and perfect your work.
- Design a book cover: Your book cover is the first thing potential readers will see, so it’s important to make a good impression.
- Format your book: You’ll need to format your book so that it’s ready to be printed.
- Choose a printing method: You’ll need to decide whether to print your book on demand or to use a larger print run.
- Choose a distributor: You’ll need to find a distributor to handle the printing and distribution of your book.
- Market your book: Once your book is published you’ll need to let potential readers know about it.
So, again, pretty generic. Let’s try to be more specific.
Question: What are the steps to self publish a print book on KDP?
Answer: Here are the general steps to self-publish a print book on KDP:
- Write and edit your book
- Create an account on KDP and enter your book details
- Upload your book file in PDF format
- Preview your book and make any necessary changes
- Choose your distribution channels and set your price
- Request a proof copy and review it carefully
- Approve your proof copy for distribution
- Publish your book and make it available for purchase on Amazon
- Market and promote your book to potential readers
- Keep in mind that there may be additional steps or requirements depending on your specific situation and the type of book you are publishing.
I then hit the “Regenerate” button which is basically telling it to try again.
Here are the steps to self-publish a print book on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing):
- Format your manuscript: Make sure your manuscript is properly formatted for print. KDP provides templates that you can use to format your book.
- Create a KDP account: If you don’t have a KDP account already, create one on the KDP website.
- Enter your book details: Enter your book title, author name, book description, and other details about your book.
- Upload your manuscript and cover: Upload your formatted manuscript and cover design to KDP.
- Set your book price and royalties: Choose the price of your book and set the royalty percentage that you will receive.
- Preview your book: Use KDP’s online previewer to preview your book and make sure everything looks correct.
- Publish your book: Once you’re happy with your book, click the “Publish” button to make your book available for sale on Amazon.
- Order a proof copy: Consider ordering a physical proof copy of your book before making it available for purchase.
- Promote your book: Once your book is available for sale, promote it through social media, book reviews, and other marketing channels.
So, better. Next I asked, How do I format a manuscript for KDP templates?
To format a manuscript for KDP templates, follow these steps:
- Go to the KDP website and download the appropriate template for your book’s trim size.
- Open the template in your preferred word processing program (Microsoft Word or similar).
- Format your text to match the template. This includes things like adjusting margins, setting up headers and footers, and making sure the font and spacing match the template.
- Add your content to the template, making sure to follow the guidelines for formatting chapters, headings, and other elements of your book.
- Save your manuscript in PDF format.
- Use the KDP online previewer to check that your manuscript appears correctly.
- If necessary, make any final adjustments and upload your manuscript to KDP.
- Review the online proof of your book to make sure everything looks correct before publishing.
What are the best practices to format a book for KDP?
Here are some best practices for formatting a book for KDP:
- Use the appropriate KDP template for your book’s trim size.
- Choose a font that is easy to read and that looks professional, such as Times New Roman or Arial.
- Set the font size to 12 points.
- Use standard margins (1 inch on all sides).
- Include page numbers in the footer.
- Separate chapters with a page break and use consistent formatting for chapter headings.
- Avoid using too many different fonts or formatting styles.
- Keep images and other graphical elements within the margins of the page.
- Ensure that your manuscript is free of spelling and grammar errors.
- Save your manuscript as a PDF before uploading it to KDP.
- By following these best practices, you can help ensure that your book looks professional and is easy to read for your readers.
So, again, pretty generic. Accurate but not incredibly helpful. The information isn’t specific enough to really help someone. It reminds me of articles I’ve gone to looking for information and clicked away saying, “Well, that was a waste of my time.”
Then, I decided to go for broke. I asked it to write a 400 word article on how to self-publish a book on KDP. (I asked for only 400 words because this is already getting long…)
Self-publishing a book has never been easier, thanks to platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). KDP offers a free, user-friendly platform that allows writers to publish and sell their work as eBooks and print-on-demand books. In this blog post, we will provide a step-by-step guide to self-publishing a book on KDP.
Step 1: Write and Edit Your Book
Before you can self-publish a book on KDP, you need to write and edit your book. This is the most important step of the process. Ensure your book is well-written, proofread, and edited by a professional editor if necessary. It’s also important to have an appealing book cover design that attracts potential readers.
Step 2: Sign Up for a KDP Account
Once your book is ready, the next step is to create a KDP account. This is a straightforward process that requires you to provide basic information such as your name, email address, and payment information. You will also be asked to provide tax information as part of the registration process.
Step 3: Upload Your Manuscript and Cover
Once your account is set up, you can upload your manuscript and cover to the KDP platform. KDP accepts several file formats for eBooks and print-on-demand books, including PDF, MOBI, and DOC. It’s important to ensure that your book is formatted correctly before uploading it to KDP. KDP provides formatting guidelines and templates to help with this process.
Step 4: Set Your Book’s Pricing and Royalties
KDP allows you to set the price of your book, which will affect your royalties. You can choose from a 35% or 70% royalty rate depending on the price of your book. KDP also provides a pricing tool that helps you to set the right price for your book based on its length, genre, and other factors.
Step 5: Preview Your Book
Once your book is uploaded and priced, you can preview it on the KDP platform. This is an essential step in ensuring that your book looks good and is error-free. It’s also advisable to order a proof copy of your book before making it available for sale.
Step 6: Publish Your Book
The final step is to publish your book on KDP. This involves setting up distribution channels and making your book available for sale on Amazon. KDP provides an online dashboard that allows you to monitor your book’s sales and track your royalties.
Self-publishing a book on KDP is a simple and effective way to get your work in front of a global audience. By following the steps outlined in this post, you can take your book from a manuscript to a published work available to readers all over the world.
It took the ChatGPT less than two minutes to generate this post. Probably less than a minute. I wasn’t paying close attention.
- Is it great? No.
- Does it do the job? Yes, in an overview, high-altitude kind of way.
- Is it accurate enough to trust without verifying? No.
- Does it have personality. Nope.
Is it time for writers and artists to panic about ChatGPT? No. Even though AI is learning quickly and improving at the rate of technology which is super-fast, it is really just pulling information and putting it (when asked) into whatever format. It can curate and imitate. Some day it may innovate. But it doesn’t yet have imagination. Yes, it can mash together concepts like one-liner movie pitches: “Think The Flying Nun meets Terminator in the Australian Outback!” It doesn’t mean the mashups will be good ideas. (And yes, I know someone actually made Sharknado.) The same goes for creating content that has emotion or humor or hell, even a spark of personality. You can ask ChatGPT to write in the style of Jane Austen, but it can’t BE Jane Austen.
Right now, ChatGPT is a not-very-good cover band. I think in the next few years we will see it become a pretty good cover band. Maybe one day in the not so far future, it will be able to generate new styles and genres. Until then, I’m going to work on getting my writing out there and helping others do the same. And I’ll learn to leverage AI for research and ideas. It’s a tool like so many others. Start working with it now and you’ll be prepared to handle its evolution in the future.