When I first checked out ChatGPT-3, it absolutely freaked me out: It was as if a huge neon sign was glaring before my eyes emblazoned with the words: Your career is over.
But after a few weeks of drilling down and talking with other users on my social networks, I am convinced that this new and amazing Machine Learning (ML) AI software is a power tool that will allow me to write more books in less time, at a lower price.I’ll explain that in a few paragraphs, but let me provide you with a quick Executive Summary:
• ChatGPT-3 was introduced as public beta just after Thanksgiving and by New Year’s Day it had more than two million users. Social media reviews have been overwhelmingly favorable demonstrating the sort of enthusiasm that few of us have experienced since the pandemic first masked our smiles.
• While some may think ChatGPT exploded out of nowhere, it is, in fact, the fruit of more than 80 years’ research and development when the concept of Machine Learning (ML) was introduced. The idea has always been related to machines learning how to answer questions that everyday people might ask them. The effort has involved many dedicated and brilliant people pioneering new ways to interact with digital technologies. In recent years, development hit the point of optimization.
• In 2015, OpenAI, was founded by Sam Altman, Elon Musk and other luminaries who expressed ambitions for democratizing technology. Open AI is a nonprofit and so far, the software is free, but the company is signaling that some fees will soon be necessary.
• Perhaps that will be this springtime when Version 4 is scheduled for release. Insiders predict V4 will shatter the jaw-dropping capabilities that the current V3.5 is demonstrating.
• While ChatGPT cannot yet answer everything we ask, it does an amazing job of answering queries even when they are loosely structured by nonprofessionals.
• The consensus is that ChatGPT-3 or something like it, will be to Google searches, what Google once was to library encyclopedia searches. One day everyone used them and the next they were gone.
• Not only does ChatGPT answer questions with unprecedented depth, it also writes in a professional, objective style that is impressive for accuracy, depth, and speed. This last point is what so rapidly elevated my freak-out meter.
The Freaky Part
On my social platforms, I was seeing an unprecedented flood of people showing professional quality samples of marketing, sales, and support content being cranked out in just seconds by ChatGPT-3. I was pretty sure I could write better than what I was seeing but I was even more certain that I could not write faster.
At a rate of say $100-an-hour, ChatGPT would be earning just pennies per piece—but it had the potential of writing millions of pieces in the course of an hour, which adds up to a lot of pennies.
I should note that mid-level marketing content is not the sort of work I do. My favorite assignment is to ghostwrite a 65,000-word tech business book for a CEO. If not a book, then perhaps a guest byline article or a keynote presentation.
But then there was the issue that ChatGPT was new and I am most certainly not. It would be getting faster and better. I may still be at the top of my game but I am unlikely to get faster.
Casey Jones & Driverless Trucks
I felt a little like Casey Jones eying that steam locomotive with a determination that did not prove sufficient, and then I remembered my first article for Forbes about autonomous 18-wheel trucks, whose former drivers were being relegated to just sitting behind the wheel as safety backups as the trucks drove themselves.
In that article, I likened the truck drivers to stagecoach drivers of yore and noted that their one redeeming hope was that the end of stagecoach driving was predicted in 1865, but the last horse-driven coaches kept rolling until 1916.
Who knows, my future employment might be behind the wheel of an Uber, and would I be merely backing up a car that was driving itself?
On closer look, I am convinced that I have a lot more time remaining. I have come to believe that ChatGPT software is the most important new tool for writers since word processing machines replaced electric typewriters.
As I see it, ChatGPT is an automated power tool. It may not make me a better writer, but it will make me faster: My guess is from 30-40 percent faster. That means I can lower my rates and complete a book in closer to six months than one year.
That, in turn, means I can write two books in a year instead of just one and that more people can afford to work with me than has previously been the case.
What the Chatbot Said
This decision is obviously a big one for me and I usually do extensive research over big moves. But who could I ask? I quickly realized that my best source on this new topic (ChatBotMR) was sitting and waiting for me on a menu bar tab.
I went to ChatGPT-3.
I wrote: “Assume I want to write a book for the tech-business sector, please give me the pros and cons of three options:
1. Using just ChatGPT.
2. Using just an experienced ghostwriter.
3. Using both a ghostwriter and ChatGPT.
In less than a minute GPT replied:
“Here are some pros and cons for each of the options you mentioned”:
1. Using just ChatGPT
ChatGPT is an AI language model that can generate human-like text. This means it can potentially write a book in a way that sounds natural and engaging to the reader. Using ChatGPT may be more cost-effective compared to hiring a human writer, especially if you plan on writing a long book. ChatGPT can work quickly and efficiently, potentially saving you time on the writing process.
ChatGPT is a language model, not a human writer. This means it may not have the same level of understanding or expertise on the topic you are writing about as a human writer would. ChatGPT can only generate text-based on the input it is given, so it may not be able to come up with new ideas or perspectives on its own. ChatGPT may not be able to capture the tone, style, or voice that you want for your book.
2. Using just an experienced ghostwriter
An experienced ghostwriter is a professional writer who can craft a book in a way that is engaging and polished. They should have a good understanding of how to structure a book, how to create compelling characters and storylines, and how to write in a way that is easy to read and understand. A ghostwriter can bring their own expertise and perspective to the book, potentially offering new ideas and insights that you may not have thought of. A ghostwriter can work closely with you to ensure that the book reflects your voice and style.
Hiring a ghostwriter can be more expensive compared to using ChatGPT, especially if you are working with a highly experienced writer. Working with a ghostwriter may take more time, as you will need to communicate with them and provide feedback on their writing. There may be a lack of control over the final product, as the ghostwriter will be responsible for the majority of the writing.
3. Using both a ghostwriter and ChatGPT
Using both a ghostwriter and ChatGPT can potentially combine the best of both worlds. The ghostwriter can provide expertise and creativity, while ChatGPT can assist with the writing process and generate additional content.
This approach may allow you to have more control over the final product, as you can work with the ghostwriter to ensure that the book reflects your vision.
Using both a ghostwriter and ChatGPT may be more cost-effective compared to hiring a human writer for the entire project.
Working with both a ghostwriter and ChatGPT may be more complex and time-consuming compared to using just one or the other. You will need to coordinate with both parties and provide clear guidance on what you want the final product to look like. There may be a risk of inconsistency in the writing if the ghostwriter and ChatGPT do not work well together. There may be additional costs involved in using ChatGPT, depending on the specific service you choose.
Overall, the decision of which option to use will depend on your specific goals, budget, and time constraints. It may be helpful to weigh the pros and cons of each option and consider how they align with your needs and preferences.”
So, that brings me to the conclusion that the best way for business decision makers is to hire a human ghostwriter like me, which will accelerate the book-development process because ChatGPT is doing the legwork and providing basic narrative that I can improve by establishing personal relationships with readers.
I have become convinced that ChatGBT can already save clients money in cases where good enough is good enough such as in the boilerplate companies use in sales, marketing, support and compliance. It is okay when you are repeating the language of an established best practice, but you need a human with passion and a love for words when you are looking to introduce a better practice.
The Bottom Line
Until now my engagements have required a lot of time conducting interviews and research to justify a fee of $10,000 a month billed at $100 an hour. This has taken from eight-to- 12 months from concept-to-publication and my fees have ranged from $80,000-to-$120,000.
I believe ChatGPT can reduce the hours per month and the months-per-book by about one-third and the project time would take six-to-eight months to produce, so my charges—still based on $100 an hour — would range from $55,000-to-$80,000.
While ChatGPT will save my clients money, it will save me time and I will use that time to write more books at my reduced rates for other clients.
By the way, I have always offered one free hour of consultation to anyone wishing to write a nonfiction book. I learn a great deal from these conversations and ChatGPT will not be involved—at least not yet.
I’ll take the next caller.