Artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT have exploded in popularity recently, sparking debates about how to use them responsibly. Can AI act as a crutch for lazy writers or help dedicated authors be more productive? What’s the best process for leveraging AI when writing a book? Can you be using AI to write a book? And if so, what’s the appropriate way to do that?
I spoke with Gleb Tsipursky, author of “ChatGPT for Thought Leaders and Content Creators: Unlocking the Potential of Generative AI for Innovative and Effective Content Creation,” on “The Business Storytelling Show” to get his take. Here are eight tips for using AI to write a book.
Start by Brainstorming with AI
One way AI can help authors is by generating ideas to include in the book. Instead of holding traditional brainstorming sessions, you can simply prompt the AI to suggest potential topics, themes, chapter outlines, and more.
Gleb recommends starting a thread with the AI and keeping the conversation going throughout the writing process. For example, you may ask it to first suggest some initial ideas for the book. Then after reviewing those and picking the strongest ones, come back to the AI and ask it to expand on a specific concept to include as a chapter.
This allows the AI to continuously refine its understanding of your goals, style, and voice. The more interaction you have, the better it can support you.
Read next: The AI predicament: Is using AI cheating?
Consider your source content
AI has to source its content somewhere. One way to ensure it’s your could include:
- Feeding other articles that should be included into the system and then asking it to “Please combine these articles into one book chapter on the topic of xyz.”
- Voice dictating your thoughts to Otter.ai. Then take the transcript and feed it into Claude AI and ask it to write a book chapter on topic xyz based on the attached transcript.
Use AI to Draft Chapters
Once you have your outline, Gleb suggests having the AI generate chapter drafts. Similar to brainstorming, this should be an iterative process:
- Prompt the AI to write the first section or chapter.
- Carefully review the draft, editing and revising parts as needed.
- Feed the revised section back to the AI. Explain what changes you made and why.
- Have it write the next section based on your edits.
- Repeat the process until the chapter is complete.
The key is not to treat the AI drafts as final copy. They still require significant reworking. But by continually providing feedback, you train the AI to produce better results over time.
As Gleb explains, “The crucial thing is that editing after the initial generation, that’s what gets a makes the content yours because you made significant revisions.”
Fine-Tune the AI to Match Your Style
One risk of leaning too heavily on AI-generated writing is ending up with inconsistent tone and voice. Since the models are trained on vast datasets, their default output may not match your own personal writing voice.
Gleb emphasizes feeding your edits back into the AI during drafting to help align its writing more closely with yours. You can also fine-tune the AI by providing upfront examples of your work.
For instance, before having it write any chapters, you could provide a sample from a previous book or article you authored. Let the AI analyze your writing style. Then tell it to use that as a model when generating the new book.
Double Check for Accuracy
Like anyone – human or robot – AI can and does make mistakes. So it’s critical to verify accuracy before publishing any AI-generated text.
Gleb recommends several techniques to catch errors:
- Ask the AI to explain its reasoning step-by-step. Thinking through the logic makes mistakes less likely.
- Don’t let it make unsupported claims.
- Request a confidence rating for each statement. Focus on double checking areas where it has low confidence.
- Run the draft through multiple AI tools to compare outputs. Differences may reveal errors.
- Manual review and fact checking, just as you would with a human writer.
AI Should Complement, Not Replace Human Authors
At the end of the day, Gleb cautions against viewing AI as a complete replacement for doing the hard work yourself.
The most successful authors will use AI as a tool to augment their skills, not as a crutch. The technology can help generate ideas faster, speed up drafting through iterations, and align the tone to your personal brand. But you still need to actively develop the content, refine it extensively, and ensure quality control.
Think of AI as your new writing partner, not a shortcut. Approach your book as a collaboration and AI can help accelerate the process meaningfully. But don’t hand over the reins entirely.
Protect Your Investment by Establishing Copyright
Since AI models produce text by analyzing patterns from publicly available data, their raw output cannot be copyrighted. That presents a risk for authors choosing to publish AI-generated books.
Without editing the content sufficiently to establish your authorship, someone else could copy the AI-written portions freely without penalty. That undermines your ability to build a consistent brand and earn royalties.
Gleb strongly recommends owning your work by revising AI drafts until they reflect your unique perspective and contribution as an author. Make the ideas and language your own. That makes it legally defensible as your creative work product.
How Much Faster Can You Write Books with AI?
A common question is how much time AI can save when writing a book. According to Gleb, answers vary depending on each person’s skills.
The iterative process of revising multiple drafts with the AI until you have polished chapters does add up. But it’s not a magic bullet. As with any high-quality writing, expect the editing to take as long or longer than the initial drafting.
Be realistic about the time savings. AI may help you get 50-75% of the way there faster by autocompleting sentences or generating new directions to explore. But you’ll still need to invest significant effort to craft those drafts into a compelling book.
Jumpstart Your Writing Process with AI
At its best, AI serves as fuel to supercharge your creativity, not a pacifier keeping you complacent. Use it to overcome writer’s block and build momentum, not as an excuse to be lazy.
Approach your book with a passion for sharing quality ideas. Let AI handle the busywork so you can focus on the fun, creative aspects of writing. Master the process and AI can help you become a prolific author.
But never forget that books represent your perspective. Even with AI assistance, your unique voice and vision must come through clearly to connect with readers. Use the technology wisely to share your one-of-a-kind messages with the world.