The movie War Games has been stuck in my mind for, what? Forty years? And having worked in the nascent modeling of meteorological data, I know that prediction is only as good as the data accessed and the decision tree established. By humans. Humans, too, build AI models. Meaning at some point, computers will take over. I know this, because of War Games, I Robot … the list is long.
That said, as a writer, I find creating marketing and cover copy difficult. This should be some sort of weird joke since I toiled in the advertising trade for years writing copy. But here is the issue — when writing about plums or kiwi fruit you are writing about something with which you have no emotional attachment.
Not so with your book baby. I find it disconcerting to write something like this: (Any book) is an action-packed and heart-wrenching tale of family, friendship, and loss that will leave readers captivated until the very end. I don’t want to over-hype, I worry about readers being disappointed when they aren’t captivated. I worry that someone will notice my baby has a big ____ (fill in the blank).
So, I reviewed several AI programs that touted their book marketing capabilities. Decided, I took advantage of a free trial offer from Anyword (the above is an example of the output). Here’s what I discovered. The output is only as good as the input. No kidding, the more honed your sales points are, the better the output. Duh!
Anyword’s user interface is easy to navigate. Having selected the Amazon landing page option, I entered my bullet points. Three versions of AI-generated text popped out (you can pick fewer). Cool. I did this for my new book Unbecoming a Lady, then my series The Cooper Vietnam Era Quartet. Other than the glee of hitting a button and having words magically appear on the screen, I benefitted most immediately from some great closing sales pitches. But the landing page copy generated always required editing. Some of the text output was downright funny and once a bit scary. So, it takes time to edit the output, just as it takes time to develop the input for your book(s).
Further after three or four pitches, I noticed a pattern. The book was always exciting, wonderful, thrilling, suspenseful, ____ (fill in the hype word). You get the idea. Since the program (all AI programs) searches a database of successful like-product pitches, the text can be robotic and derivative. In fairness, the blurbs do match every other Amazon sales pitch, including that for cat watering stations, light bulb changers, and, well, everything. Based on the language errors made in Anyword and errors seen on Amazon, I suspect AI, including Anyword, is used by many marketing firms to create pitches quickly with little editing.
In the end, your AI-generated book description is no more exotic or exciting than any other book’s. Good or bad? I don’t know. My years in advertising tell me no. This means, to stand out from the competition you will need to do more honing. And, yes, research.
Using AI to create book sales copy is freeing in that it gives you a totally non-human, unbiased swag at your book. A place to start. But it isn’t a time saver. Maybe an ego saver, if it saves you from hanky-wringing angst while writing the hype for your book baby.
Anyword has a hefty subscription fee, enough to give one pause, though it would give you the ability to endlessly redo your landing pages. And that is attractive, despite the little voice whispering: For crikey sakes, you worked in advertising. Yes, still?
As you can see, I’m undecided. Though, I admit I worry AI will soon write us all out of business. Remember, War Games haunts me.
One thought on “My adventures with AI or …”
This is the second post I’ve read this week about AI. The other was Lois Winston’s post about seeing if her series could be written with AI. And it couldn’t. This is all interesting. Thanks for sharing!
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