If I’m considering this week’s and last week’s Notes side by side, it seems clear that this one should have come first. But, poetically, I thought of this one about 15 seconds after hitting send on the last one. So…maybe just pretend you read this one first?
I hope you’ve had a great week. I’m having a teensy panic attack, if you’re asking. And, I guess, even if you’re not, I’m still panicking.
The official launch of When We Were Mothers is less than 2 weeks away, and most of the technical details are complete. If you’ve been following the image saga, I’ll close that loop by saying that I’m as satisfied as I think I’m going to get with the latest proof I received. After looking at several other trade paperbacks, I am pretty confident the quality of my images is consistent with other books you’ll find. And if, like me, you’re of a certain age, you’ll have to get out the magnifying glass to notice any problems.
These final stages are about promoting, advertising, and planning parties. Which I’m not great at, but it’s a welcome change from the minutiae of margins and gutters and headers and image flattening and font embedding. (Yeah, those words make my eyes glaze over, too.)
And this leads me into…
Bestseller Mode: Help Get the Word Out
Remember that list you made last week? The one with names of all the people/groups who might be interested in the book? Here’s your first opportunity to use it. Let everyone on that list know that this awesome author you know has a giveaway going on for their new book and they can enter it on Goodreads at this link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/357398-when-we-were-mothers. They (and you!) can also see the amazing reviews left by beta and ARC readers!
Also, can you take a second to answer these 2 questions?
If you’re planning to buy a copy of When We Were Mothers during launch week (January 17):
If you like parties and free stuff:
Will AI Be the Death of Creativity?
I’m a little shook about AI at the moment.
I’ve seen different reactions around the internet and IRL about the latest AI writing technology. Some are amazed, others are nonplussed, many are entertained. And it is entertaining, especially when you read my friend's's experiments with ChatGPT in .
But it’s also terrifying. A friend of mine tried out a few prompts, and they looked like the kind of vanilla thing I would have turned in for a high school (or college, let’s be real) writing assignment. No, the prose wasn’t beautiful and artful. But it was coherent enough to get the point (Yes, but whose point?) across, and unless I had personal experience with a person’s writing beforehand, I probably wouldn’t question it if they turned it in as an assignment.
My daughter, in fact, wanted to write an essay about humans’ impact on the environment over break (for fun, so if you were wondering if she’s really mine, you can rest easy), and she stumbled across an AI writing website. She didn’t know what it was, but damned if the computing machine didn’t write the whole thing for her.
“That’s not your writing,” I said.
“But I don’t know any of these things,” she said.
“That’s why you research and learn those things!” was my reply. She did end up researching and writing her own five-paragraph essay, which was pretty impressive for a nine-year-old, if you ask for my perfectly unbiased opinion.
But, not so secretly, I’m worried this kind of thing will become commonplace. Don’t forget, technologically speaking, AI is still in its infancy. It’s still learning, and I have no doubt it will learn to be more poetic, more coherent, and more undetectable.
Writers like me sometimes take jobs writing for companies’ websites. A business will post a request for a blog post about, for example, different kinds of snowboarding equipment, and hire someone to write it (usually for not much money, but some writers cobble together a decent income writing for many different websites). If an AI can generate an 85% usable post instantly, for cheap, complete with search engine optimization, why would a business pay for an expensive, potentially unreliable human to do it? I actually see this as a pretty big threat to the writing gig economy, which is one of the only ways beginning writers are able to make an income.
As far as novels, I have to assume people would rather read one written by a human than a robot, but you never know.
“My kids don’t need to learn to write anymore,” said a friend of mine, but I think it’s much worse than that. Artificial intelligence can already replace some forms of writing. But, for kids growing up with AI, it has the potential to replace deep thought.
And that scares me.
What’s Exciting Me?
All the things (except for AI), but also: one of my essays will be appearing in a newsletter next week that goes out to 36,000 people nationwide. And there will be links to Nicci’s Notes and to the book.
Here’s how it starts: “I was on an airplane over the Atlantic when I finally accepted that I was never going to get an agent.”
I’ll send you the rest next week! And if you’re a writer and love learning things about the writing process, the business of writing and publishing, and the like, you can go ahead and sign up for the Jericho Writers newsletter and be one of the 36,000 people who receive my words in your inbox next Tuesday.
What’s Entertaining Me?
White Lotus. “Enjoyed” might not be exactly the right term to use when talking about this series. But we watched the first season (only six episodes) between last week and this week, and I can say it was definitely entertaining. There was a little of, “See? Not everyone is all good or all bad,” and a lot of, “People—especially people of privilege—can be super individualistic and completely ignorant about it.” Which I suppose could also be interpreted as, “Everyone has their own struggles,” but I find that interpretation to be a little incomplete.
Favorite character: Armond. Least favorite character (tie): Olivia & Shane. I HARD identified with Rachel’s career struggles.
Something else entertaining: Amazon’s publishing tool found a typo neither I nor anyone else has found in the book. doutbful. See, it doesn’t even look like a typo! Our brains are so funny and smart.
What’s Enlightening Me?
This poem, which speaks to me on so many levels.
“Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.” Oof.
Alright, back to bookish and workish things. I hope you are getting as excited as I am!
Until next time,
Daw thank you for the shout out!! Also - White Lotus!!! Have you started Season 2 yet? I would like to discuss when you do