Why writing an AI-assisted book was a total flop

Fun fact: The best-selling book I’ve ever published isn’t KNOWN or Marketing Rebellion. It’s a little book I wrote in 2014 called Social Media Explained.

I published a second edition of this bestselling book in 2018, so it was time for another refresh through a new edition. But mentally, it was difficult to get up for the challenge.

When I write a book, it takes everything out of me — mentally and even physically. So I was determined. There must be a better way. It was time to embrace Artificial Intelligence and use it for all it’s worth! I’m entering the new age of book writing. This will be my first AI-assisted book.

And so I began.

But after about a day of intense effort, I quit. Using AI to try to write a book was a total flop. Here’s why.

The AI-assisted book flop

Almost every publicly available LLM is a sophisticated word calculator programmed to interact with humans in the most efficient way possible. It’s like a puppy dog trying to please you. It scours its billions of data points — all created in the past — to assemble the answer with the highest probability of making you smile.

100 percent human contentBut I found the best average answer from the past creates a lousy book. If you want the best average answer from the past, use Google. It does a great job.

A great book requires insight — something you can get nowhere else. An insight is a personal revelation.

It’s that lightbulb moment that makes you say, “Oh, so THAT’S what’s going on!” Like discovering that your neighbor’s prize-winning roses are so vibrant because he’s taught his dog to pee there. It’s the shocking realization that the “secret ingredient” in your grandma’s famous meatloaf is pulverized Cheez-Its (this traumatized me).

It’s unique to you. It’s your story, your humor, your style.

To stand out in the world, you must be original, and to be original, it has to be your story. Even when I asked AI to write in my voice, it was just guessing, really.

And that’s why AI flopped. It was doing an OK job … but it wasn’t me. 

I learned that, at least for now, I still matter.

But there was one way I used AI that helped a lot … and it might blow your mind.

My digital twin

For my new book, I used AI in a revolutionary new way—I employed voice synthesis to narrate the audiobook.

Narrating an audiobook yourself is a pain in the patootie. I have to work around allergies, birds singing outside your window, and sore throats. People love hearing my voice tell my own stories but I hate the weeks of work that go into it.

If you’ve been following my content, you may recall that I created the world’s first AI-generated podcast episode when I had COVID last year (I lost my voice!). The show blew people away. It sounded just like me!

So, I doubled down on the synthesized voice by loading files of my voice narrating other books into a technology called 11 Labs. It is NOT easy getting an audiobook approved by Audible, but I ran the files past my audio editor, and she said it was great. Audible approved it on the first try!

I believe this is the first voice-synthesized audiobook ever to be published. You can find it here.

Now, about this new book!

social media explained

Social Media Explained 3.0 might be the most unusual and important social media book you’ll ever read. It’s not a book of “tips and tricks.” The book describes how social media fits into the marketing ecosystem today, and that is radically different from just a few years ago.

My premise is that most social media marketers are sleep-walking. They’re robotically pumping out the posts like they have for three, five, or even ten years. It’s time to “look up” and see how the world is truly working today. This book is a wake-up call!

Social Media Explained 3.0 is perfect for the busy executive, business owner, entrepreneur, or student who needs a quick and simple explanation of “what to do.” The book provides insights into:

  • How social media strategy has dramatically changed (I contend it’s no longer a strategy at all)
  • Unique insights into the role of content, engagement, and timing
  • Practical ideas to initiate and measure a paid strategy
  • The growing impact of AI on social media effectiveness
  • Insights into measuring results
  • Case studies illustrating social media success
  • Answers to the biggest questions about measurement, organization, and budgeting

There’s another new chapter in the book that I think will be particularly helpful—a guide to keeping up with all the changes in the world of AI and social media.

In the end, this book is all me — my ideas, my insights, my way of connecting the dots in a new way you’ve seen in all of my books.

I hope you’ll check it out and leave me a review. Thanks! — Mark

Need a keynote speaker? Mark Schaefer is the most trusted voice in marketing. Your conference guests will buzz about his insights long after your event! Mark is the author of some of the world’s bestselling marketing books, a college educator, and an advisor to many of the world’s largest brands. Contact Mark to have him bring a fun, meaningful, and memorable presentation to your company event or conference.

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Illustration courtesy Unsplash.com

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