AI: Yet another article about book marketing in the digital age - Mo Fanning Author
AI Writing and marketing Image generated by AI

AI: Yet another article about book marketing in the digital age

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I have seen the future, and it involves Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a powerful tool in the publishing industry. However, it’s essential to understand that while AI can assist with certain tasks, it cannot (yet) replace the role of skilled marketing professionals.

AI tools like ChatGPT can generate human-like text based on prompts. The key phrase here is human-like. These tools learn by analysing vast datasets of existing information, identifying patterns, and mimicking styles. They save time and automate repetitive tasks, but are far from ready to take over the role of a skilled marketing professional.

Book marketing relies  on crafting unique stories that connect with readers on an emotional level. AI is able to help research and brainstorm ideas, but it can only do that by looking back and not forwards. Trends change. What sold last year, often doesn’t sell next. Book marketing relies heavily on crafting unique stories to connect with potential readers. AI can’t do that.

I know some of you reading this think it can. It can’t.

AI isn’t actually the future

Artificial intelligence is a product of what has come before. As clever as the output might seem, at first read, it lacks true creativity or emotional intelligence.

AI tells you what you want to hear. If you ask for feedback on an idea, you’ll get it. If you argue that you don’t find this feedback fair, AI will apologise and agree. It’s the ‘Yes Man’ many bosses love, but who you wish never got a job in your team.

I’m no Luddite. I love using AI to research and brainstorm ideas and help me out of plot holes, but I treat it as a tool, not a finished product. I rely on Canva as much as the next guy who can’t invest time learning Photoshop, but without the polish and curation of a professional designer adapting the visuals for each unique use case, the quality is inconsistent at best.

Husbands by Mo Fanning - Love and Lies in La La LandWhen producing materials for ‘Husbands’ – out on June 6 – I fed the plot and details about who read and paid for previous books into an instance of ChatGPT, using the output to form the germ of marketing ideas. But nothing I got back was ‘oven ready’.

There is a role for AI in publishing. Tools based on ‘large language models’ are able to analyse trends, predict reader interests, and even suggest content strategies. ChatGPT is perfectly able to generate a first draft of social media posts or ad copy based on key messages. But a marketing professional (aka a human being) will always need to review, edit, and add a personal touch before anyone pays to publish.

Assembly-line content

Bookselling is still a business deeply entwined with identity and personal connection. Readers want to feel a kinship with authors (and the marketing team promoting their books). Purely AI-generated, assembly-line content without a human touch will struggle to forge those bonds.

The most successful players in the publishing world will be those who learn to wield AI as a complement to human creativity, not as a cost-cutting substitute. With AI handling the most mechanical tasks, book marketers will be freed up to focus on the high-level strategy, relationship-building, and out-of-the-box thinking that truly moves the needle.

(I apologise for the two nerdy marketing terms I used here)


By Mo Fanning

Mo Fanning is a British author of dark romantic comedies including the Book of the Year nominated bestseller 'The Armchair Bride', 'Rebuilding Alexandra Small' and 2022's hit holiday romcom 'Ghosted'.

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