Writers' Forum - March 2023

Responsible Use of AI?

How Amazon is Punishing Victims of Piracy

The Most Interesting Buildings that are Now Libraries (and Bookstores)


More on the Use of AI . . . can it be used responsibly?

The plethora of articles on the use of AI in creative work continues (and I suspect will continue indefinitely.) Let me bring you the latest from what I’ve been reading . . .

PlagiarismToday.com (Yes – that’s a real website!) features an article about Grammerly’s new AI product: Grammerly to Launch AI Writing Tool . . . describing the product and problem this way: “To be clear, GrammarlyGo appears to be a very powerful and impressive tool. The demos provided by Grammarly showcase it crafting an outline for a project, composing emails with a specific tone, and doing powerful revisions of existing text. However, instructors are rightfully concerned that Grammarly could, intentionally or unintentionally, be seen as legitimizing AI-powered plagiarism.”

Well, it’s not surprising that educators are wondering how this is going to shortcut the learning process. The article discusses the power of the different types of AI technology, including reference to ChatGPT. (Read on to the next article to understand how that is now being used to write entire books.)

ChatGPT Launches Boom in AI-written eBooks on Amazon by Greg Bensinger

What? Yes . . . apparently as of mid-February there were at least 200 books in Amazon’s Kindle store that list ChatGPT as co-authors.

And if all this has you thoroughly confused, you might appreciate this article from the Creative Penn website:
The Tsunami Of Crap, Misinformation, And Responsible Use Of AI With Tim Boucher

You can listen to the podcast or read the transcript. Great summary.

How Amazon is Punishing Victims of Piracy

Another article from the Plagiarism Today website, keys in on how authors are having their books removed from the Kindle Unlimited lending library because pirated copies of their ebooks are showing up elsewhere. To be in the Kindle Unlimited library (where an author gets paid by the number of pages read), you must agree to have your ebook exclusively available as a Kindle book. Read more here:


On a lighter note . . .

Check out these fabulous buildings now being used as libraries and bookstores in this article from BookRiot!


Publishers are cynically using ‘sensitivity readers’ to protect their bottom lines.

An op-ed in The Guardian by Zoe Dubno writes about how the recent updates to Roald Dahl books unleashed a “brouhaha among the literary establishment, anti-woke crusaders and just about everyone online.” Her stance is that she is equally skeptical of those who are against these updates as she is about the motive of the publishing houses doing the updating, suggesting that they’re hiding “behind human ends in order to safeguard the value of blockbuster intellectual properties. Read on here:


And on the same topic, Theo Downes-Le Guin, son of the late Ursula Le Guin and her literary executor writes, “Why I Decided to Update the Language in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Children’s Books.  Read his Literary Hub article here.

Writing the Opening Line

Rhiannon Richardson of the Good Story Company gives us tips on writing that fascinatingly difficult opening line. “The opening line is your first opportunity to make an impression and entice your readers. You should want the opening line to work for the story and be meaningful, but at the same time you don’t want it to do too much.”

How to Write Popular Genre Fiction

Self Publishing Formula’s Dan Parsons gives excellent advice on keeping true to the expectations of genre fiction—which mean you have to really understand those reader expectations before you begin writing that type of fiction. Interesting read: 


How to Minimize Hurt Feelings When Writing a Memoir

Allison K. Williams helps memoirists with this (sometimes impossible) task of not hurting the feelings of friends and family as you pen your truth. This is really helpful advice, but ultimately you will never make everyone happy with what you write, so you have to be able to live with that.


Creating More Authentic Character Voices

Again from the Self Publishing Formula’s Dan Parsons, we have a nice list of ways we can craft those unique characters. If you’ve ever used one of those character charts to fill in the details, you will recognize many of these tools. Parsons also delves into dialogue tricks to create obvious character differences.

The Top Ten Writing and Grammar Mistakes that Even Published Authors Make

Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty gives us this “quick” list we can reference to self-edit. How many of these mistakes do you regularly check for in your own work?

How Much Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Book in 2023

The Reedsy blog’s guide lists all the services and average costs for those services that you might utilize to get your book in the hands of readers. Great resources:


Protecting Your Work

Alesha Brown’s Publishers Weekly article highlights the increasing problem of authors having their KDP accounts suspended for copyright infringement. Other writers delve into the idea this uptick in problems is due to faulty algorithms and non-human enforcement inside KDP, but that doesn’t make it any less stressful for the author. Brown gives us a super list of things to have at our disposal to fight back and get an account reinstated quickly. 

Soft Launching a Book With Dan Parsons and Melissa Addey: Beginners Self-Publishing Podcast

Wonderful podcast from the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) that talks about all the benefits of soft launching a book . . . basically putting it out there without a ton of fanfare at the beginning, which allows you to make sure all systems are functioning properly and gives you extra time to troubleshoot those problems without a looming ‘release’ date. Really good info! Read the transcript here: https://selfpublishingadvice.org/soft-launching-a-book/

Curious About Book Funnels

Sandra Beckwith walks us through these systems set to deliver books into the hand of readers and how you can use them to benefit your publishing journey. https://buildbookbuzz.com/book-funnels/

Publisher Rocket Releases Update

As you know, I’m a big fan (and affiliate) of Publisher Rocket, Dave Chesson’s life-changing product. (Truly, it saves me so much time that I can easily say it’s the best product I use for information to help me better market books – my own and my clients’.) With the new update, “authors now have the opportunity to analyze all 16,000+ Amazon categories and gain unique insights into the growth of that category, how competitive it is, the age of the category, book length, review score, and more.” Read the full article here: https://kindlepreneur.com/historical-category-data/

To purchase Publisher Rocket click here.

(That IS an affiliate link – which means that if you click through an ultimately buy the program, then Dave sends me a little $ as a thank you – but the price remains the same.)

To Give It Away or Not Give It Away

Kim Catanzarite takes on the freebie or no freebie conundrum for Jane Friedman’s blog. I know authors who steadfastly refuse to even consider the idea of doing a free book promotion, and others who readily embrace the idea. Each has validity and depends on whether the book is in a series, how long the books been out, and what your goals are as an author. Lots to consider when making this decision.

How to Make the Most Out of Every Single Win as a Writer

In their marketing expert podcast, Penny Sansevieri and Amy Cornell discuss what to do “after getting a great endorsement or review, or maybe winning an award, or even finally set up your newsletter.” Click here to read the full set of advice. 

Websites for Writers: Why You Need a Media Page

Penny Sansevieri’s blog post covers what goes on a media page and why you need one. This CAN include things like your media kit, but mostly she’s covering how to save and share print and broadcast coverage that elevates your status as a writer.

How Authors Can Build Relationships with Independent Bookstores

Are you hoping to see your books on the shelves of your local bookstore? Great tips from Jane Friedman on how to cultivate that relationship before your book is released. Common sense notions about working with booksellers!

The Powerful and Effective Formula for More Book Sales

Sandra Beckwith’s article drives home the idea that ‘everyone’ is not your book’s audience. Her advice means that you have to know where your book fits into the market and where you/your book need to be in order to be discovered by that segment of readership. Time to put your marketing hat on!


Reedsy’s Amazon Ads for Authors with Ricardo Fayet

Amazon ads feel intimidating, but there are a lot of great tutorials out there to help you get started. I list many of them on my blog post: Advertising Your Books Part Three: Amazon Ads. Here's a new one in podcast form from Mark Dawson’s Shelf Publishing Formula (watch below), or read the transcript here: https://selfpublishingformula.com/episode-376/

9 Tips to Create Super Shareable Social Media Content

Do you want to have more shares of your content? The tips in this infographic are straightforward and easy to follow. When you post great content people WILL share it!



Hope these articles are helpful to you. Please drop me a quick email if there's a particular subject you'd like to learn more about! - Valerie





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