When I was in art school (for one year, before dropping out), my friend and I had a tried and proven theory about how to make art pieces that were impressive: either make it really big, or make a lot of them.
I employed this technique in creating the AI Lore books, in this case making a lot of them, which is the primary thing people seem to be reacting to in the Business Insider and New York Post coverage.
A number of readers on the original NY Post article and the accompanying official tweet thread are trotting out the “quality not quantity” argument, which is fine. But the point I think, partly, of AI is that it enables you to augment and scale your creative output. And if you tune your approach to accord with the strengths of the tools, you actually don’t end up sacrificing much by way of quality. You simply have to play to the strengths of the technology.
More broadly, all those armchair critics are missing the biggest, most important lesson in all of this, and it took me a few years to understand this as a writer: you don’t get coverage as a nobody for simply writing a book. Absolutely nobody cares, because even without AI, there’s just simply too much stuff on the internet & too many books to ever read. It’s nobody’s fault & I don’t “blame” prolific writers; it’s just a consequence of the ease and proliferation of content in our online world today.
So how do you get coverage as a writer then? By doing something ELSE that is newsworthy. Literally everybody wrote a book. Very few people wrote a hundred. And even fewer people used AI to do it, and AI is still in its “hot” stage. So instead of “guy writes book” as a headline (not very exciting), I’m offering the much juicier story of “guy writes 100 books, using AI.” Now it’s something that’s (1) timely and ‘of the moment’, and (2) invites strong emotional reactions, such as “This guy sucks!” or “I’m never reading these books!” or “This guy’s ruining publishing for the rest of us whiners!” Something like that. There’s room for everybody to put their two cents into the bucket here.
Isn’t it bad to get a bunch of “bad” comments like that though? Sure? But also, not really? Because I think (A) nobody reads comments anymore, and (B) everybody recognizes that we’re all unhappy assholes, and we take it out on each other in comments. So it ends up being a shrug if “Facebook uncle” gets mad about what I did – he ends up just feeding the hype cycle in the end. Counter-engagement is still engagement.
The most important thing that’s happened here then is: I’m getting a bunch of coverage, and because of how a lot of journalists seem to just want to report on what other people are already reporting about, there’s a snowball effect occurring, where it’s getting to be more and more.
And most notably, now, people are calling me a “sci fi author” in articles, instead of just a “man” or a “guy.” I went from being a nobody, to being a somebody, to being a “sci fi author” who is getting international coverage – all with no agent, publicist, publishing house, etc. (I’m also owning SEO in Google News for “AI author” and “AI books,” which will lead to further opportunities for me as this space grows.)
I think that’s pretty damn good, even though it took me about 3 years of solid effort to get here with my writing, and a loooot of trial and error. So, in the end, I don’t really care that much if grumpy Facebook uncle says what I’m doing isn’t good, without ever having actually looked at it, or thought about it deeply, or understanding that, yes, this is a hack to get media attention & it worked!
And add on top of that that my production & storytelling process are fun as hell, and I’m making sales – albeit still small. Also, on top of the top of that: people are buying my non-AI books as well, further proving the excellence of this entire gambit.