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Questions About AI & Self-Publishing...

Answering @apkussma : great way to ask questions! And these are excellent questions.

His post here asked questions about my post here

Questions About AI & Self-Publishing...

    1. Are you worried about copyright/royalties/credit?

    Not really for a book that will probably make less than $10 over its lifetime.

    The terms of use change constantly for what they recommend:


    When I started looking into this in 2022 Dall-e wanted to get credit for images and give the user (me) a broad license for any usage but they changed that recently and today "you own the images you create with DALL·E." Of course, this could change again tomorrow.

    My first story was fiction. I had to fact-check AI as some of the names it gave me were already used in Elder Scrolls!

    I ended up creating most of the sentences from scratch with suggestions from AI.

    For fact-based books I am not that concerned, but the requirements are different. The way the language model responds (one word or token at a time) means that the output will be very similar to other sources but it is unlikely to completely match existing text.

    I think the revenue model for individual books will be so small that the landscape of copyright and royalties will be very different very soon. Thousands of people are automating their writing. There will be so many books published that there will be fewer hits like Harry Potter, although they will still happen. I am striving to make original work, others are not so concerned. If a book only sells 100 copies is it even worth the time to go after someone?

    2. What was the total financial investment in getting published?

    $50, it would have been possible to do it for zero but I would at least pay the $20 per month (currently) for prioritized access to the AI. You also need to have a computer but even the software to write and format the book is free from Amazon. Pro tip: with the print on demand feature it would have cost me less to buy a regular book and get free shipping than to pay extra for a review copy that is watermarked as a "preview."

    Also not too long ago you would need to invest at least $1000 in a print run for a vanity pressing. Now that cost is $0: by submitting your book in the Kindle format it is print ready and you can print most books on demand.

    3. What was the total time investment in getting published?

    Self publishing on Amazon can take about 2 hours if you have a manuscript ready, including setting up an account here: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US. I already had a seller's account (I have been selling a product there since 2008 that I talk about here: how to create something: a manufactured product ). I have a day job and a fairly busy life. I did this project progressing from not having a clue to having a physical book in my hands in less than 3 weeks: probably 30 hours invested. If I focused on it and made a goal to finish in a day, I probably could make another one like this in one day but I am not sure what kind of market there is for so-so comic books.

    4. Of that total time, how much was taken up by actual writing?

    Writing using AI is a different process than "writing": I would ask the AI "come up with 20 plausible scenarios for XYZ" and then edit what had come out earlier. I would then review what it came up with, pick one or more scenarios to mash up together, and then ask what comes next. Like having a very efficient human co-author who never runs out of ideas, gets tired, goes to the bathroom, and never gets sidetracked.

    I have not written stories like this before and would not have bothered without AI.

    So to answer your question I was doing this activity for about 30 - 40 hours total.

    5. "These platforms LOVE new content and want to make it very easy for you to publish"

    Amazon gives you free publishing tools and makes it one-click easy to publish. Apple Music is the same: you can release tracks from Logic direct into Apple Music with one click.

    IMO they want to be the gatekeepers/platform, but they need content to make "Kindle Unlimited" attractive. It does not cost Amazon much to list my book or anyone else's. People like me pay $10/month for access to this and want to have new books to read. It is a similar business model to Twitter, Reddit, eBay or NotePD where the company creates the platform and the users create the content that provides the value.

    6. Did you play with other platforms besides Amazon?

    No. I wanted to keep it simple and Amazon is a huge percentage of eBooks. There are also perks to agreeing to be exclusive on Amazon for a period of time.

    7. Which Tool Generated the Images?


    I spent $10 and could have gotten more out of it. They are a front end to one or more of the well-known engines: I don't know enough about styles but my images seem to be Dall-e.

    8. Do you worry about what data you sent to the AI companies?

    No. I don't have much to hide and they already know everything about me anyway.

    9. Does it feel stifling to have AI dilute or alter your "voice"?

    As I said above, I don't fancy being an "author," so I am OK with having a mixed voice. The end product is between my natural writing voice and pure AI output. As I write "with" AI more I am changing my writing style and as AI literally gets exponentially better that blurry line will soon be indistinguishable.

    10. Would you consider turning your experience into its own content?

    I already have lol! That was plan A. The picks and shovels approach: a book about how to use AI will probably sell way more than my comic.

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