IN THIS ISSUE
- From the Editor’s Desk: You deserve to be published
- The Wordling Resource: How to Pitch (freelance markets database)
- News & Views: Should you be worried about AI’s impact on journalism and publishing?
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
Not sure if anyone’s told you lately, but your writing deserves to be published. It deserves to be seen. It deserves to be read.
Even when you don’t believe it.
How do I know?
In almost twenty years in this business, every single writer I’ve ever worked with has struggled with not feeling worthy or deserving of their writing goals. The publication, the money, the creative freedom.
And while that’s a sad commentary on the business at large, the point here is to remind you that your work is important, and it’s essential that you share it.
Whether that’s through traditional publishing, going indie, or a mix of both.
When you believe your work deserves to be read, you will find ways to make it happen.
But you have to believe it first.
My unabashed mission in life is to help writers create the work they love and then help them achieve not just the satisfaction of getting a readership, but being paid for it.
Because I’ve been there myself.
It’s why I write this newsletter. It’s why I’ve created so many courses for writers. And it’s why I’m about to launch something truly exciting in September.
Can’t talk about much it yet since I’m still in the process of creation, but I think I’ll drop hints over the summer to see if you can guess. If you do, I’ll give you lifetime access.
I’ve been saying for a while that I want my business to truly reflect who I am and embody my strengths. I think I’ve finally found a way to do it. Can’t wait to share it with you in a few months.
Enjoy the issue!
Natasha Khullar Relph
Editor, The Wordling
NEW ON THE WORDLING
When you work from home, there will be a million different things vying for your attention—the television, Facebook, your kids, your pets, the dirty laundry, the dishes in the sink you haven’t washed since yesterday, Facebook, the nice weather, and Zoom sessions with co-workers.
Oh, and did I mention Facebook?
So how do you get all your work done productively, efficiently, and without distractions while also ensuring that you don’t become an overworked loner? Here are 61 of the best ways I know.
NEWS & VIEWS:
Is AI stealing writing jobs?
AI will impact the future of writing and publishing, there is absolutely no doubt about that. We’re already seeing massive amounts of changes, both in the journalism and the book world due to generative AI capabilities that have hit the mainstream. Earlier this month, The Guardian explained its approach to AI stating, in part, “When we use genAI, we will focus on situations where it can improve the qualify of our work, for example by helping journalists interrogate large data sets, assisting colleagues through corrections or suggestions, creating ideas for marketing campaigns, or reducing the bureaucracy of time-consuming business processes.”
That’s the “AI as a tool” approach.
On the flipside is the worry that AI content will flood the market, as has already happened on Amazon in recent weeks. While Amazon has been proactive about removing spam books and reviews, the bestseller lists of certain categories have been flooded with AI-generated titles pushed up the charts through bots.
So, where does a writer stand with AI and is it a tool or a menace?
In a keynote speech at the Nordic AI in Media Summit on May 9, 2023 in Copenhagen, Nick Diakopoulos, associate professor at Northwestern University in Illinois, USA, noted that AI has been around the news media since IBM used it to produce news summaries as early as 1958. “Hype comes and goes,” he said. “With generative AI, we’re now at peak hype again. We need to quickly move into the next stage of the curve, start to sort out hype from reality, and figure out what this tech can really offer our industry.”
Identify problems to solve
Change Director at Mediahüis, Ezra Eaman, reiterated that AI is a tool. “Look for any friction you can remove in your processes or service. Start with the why—it’s not because it’s possible that it’s valuable. And make sure you have a clear editorial and ethical framework in place.”
AI is unlikely to replace the creative work of thinking, exploring, and fact-finding, but it can be an exceptional tool for streamlining and organizing those facts, simplifying complex data, and sifting through large volumes of text for patterns.
Experimental writing is always new
In an article on BookRiot, author Terena Elizabeth Bell notes that experimental and cross-genre work is the one segment of publishing that will always be safe from AI. “If AI can’t learn about a literary form, it can’t create it,” she says. “New and innovative books will always require human imagination.” She further believes that literary presses that specialize in less mainstream works are far less vulnerable to AI than the big five publishers. One beach read is pretty much like another, she told BookRiot, adding that the business model of non-literary presses, such as mainstream publishers, is based on this repetition in what the reader can expect. And, of course, anything that can be repeated can be created by AI.
Writers losing out to AI
To get a sense of how much freelance writing work was actually being lost to AI, content marketing writer Jennifer Goforth Gregory conducted a State of Freelancing survey at the end of May 2023, with 364 responses. Here’s what she found:
- The majority (81%) of freelance writers have not lost a single client to AI writing tools between January 2023 and May 31, 2023.
- The majority (61.75%) of freelancers are earning the same amount or more in 2023 compared to 2022.
- With 98.9% of respondents having lost at least one client to budget cuts, the slowdown many writers are seeing is likely related to the economy and not AI.
The key takeaway
While it is easier than ever to write faster and produce more, the one thing AI cannot do is offer unique stories and perspectives. It can replicate data, but it cannot make sense of it. It can write stories to a formula, but it can’t come up with new genres. New and innovative stories will still be told by human writers. Reporting in the field is still an essential task.
AI will replace a lot of content. What it cannot replace, for now, is original storytelling. That’s the part of the craft writers should be most focused on honing.
Simon & Schuster is up for sale. Again.
Former British PM Boris Johnson is returning to his “journalism roots” with a six-figure column in the right-wing newspaper The Daily Mail.
And finally, income for self-published authors is up. And, no surprise, they seem to be faring better on average than their traditional counterparts.
SPAIN: “Google and other tech platforms are facing a new challenge in Spain, where Google News reopened last year following an eight-year shutdown… Spain is one of several countries where Google and Facebook are currently facing the threat of legislation to force them to pay for news.”
USA: “In a move welcomed by freedom to read advocates, Illinois governor JB Pritzker on June 12 signed a first-in-the-nation law to discourage book bans in Illinois libraries… The Illinois law comes in response to an ongoing surge in book bans nationwide, and days after a coalition of librarians, publishers, authors, and free speech organizations filed suit to strike down a controversial new law in Arkansas that would expose librarians and booksellers to potential criminal charges for making allegedly “inappropriate” books available to minors.”
COLOMBIA: “Latin American science fiction writers are leaving behind imported landscapes and story lines and setting their tales against the Amazon, Andean mountainscapes or unmistakably Latin American urban sprawl… The avalanche of original science fiction is timely, arriving as many readers and writers in Latin America feel choked by the folksy tropes of magical realism and desensitized by realist depictions of the region’s struggles with violence.”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
– Jack Kerouac
SHARE THE WORDLING
Wordling HQ is taking an end-of-week break and heading to the beach. Share The Wordling with a writing friend who could use some time off.