Posted on June 3, 2024 at 11:09 AM by Jeffrey Bruner

If you’re looking for Fussy's recently announced blurb generator, I’m sorry but we’ve decided to discontinue this service. If you keep reading, I’d like to explain this decision and talk about technology and publishing and the direction we appear to be heading.

Writing a great blurb is one of the biggest challenges facing authors, especially a short blurb. (Fantasy and science fiction are the most difficult because authors struggle to pare down details of their world-building to fit into a 40- or 50-word space.)

We still believe that ChatGPT is a good tool for taking an author’s existing blurb and suggesting new variations. It’s a next-level thesaurus and a good way to come up with new phrasing, fresh adjectives, and call-to-action wording that motivates a reader to buy.

So we left it up to the author whether they wanted to use this tool when we announced it in our author newsletter. Hundreds of you responded over three days and we spent dozens of hours creating these blurbs at no expense to authors.

There was a lot of great feedback from people who appreciated the service. But there were also some people angry that we were using ChatGPT technology in the first place. 

Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook – many technology companies of the past 50 years have behaved badly and/or unethically at some point until governments and the courts forced them to change their behavior.

ChatGPT has been no different, using other people’s intellectual property without their consent to develop its training model. We hope that people affected by ChatGPT’s actions can get justice through the legal system and that some judges’ rulings force it to behave more ethically.

But here’s the thing – ChatGPT and artificial intelligence are not going away. It’s here to stay. Authors can either adapt or they get run over. I worked in the newspaper industry for 25 years and watched management fail to adapt adequately to the Internet – it got run over. (The Fussy Librarian was my Plan B because I knew I would not have a job much longer in newspapers.)

Would it be nice to use only technology that has never been misused or abused by its inventors? Of course. Is that possible? Absolutely not.

We started this with the goal of helping authors write better blurbs and we appreciate all the feedback that we’ve received over the past few days. At this time, however, we have decided to discontinue this service.

Should you use artificial intelligence (AI) and large language models to improve your book marketing? We think so, but again, it’s up to you. We do strongly encourage you to learn more about AI because the technology is not going away and we’re going to need to adapt as it changes the publishing industry.

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Categories: Library Updates