Jane Friedman, an author who writes on writing, has a very good name in the book business. For 25 years, Jane Friedman has put her name to books and blogs about the publishing industry, including The Hot Sheet, a biweekly newsletter for authors.
Bogus books that trick readers into buying a work because they unsuspectingly recognize a familiar title or an author’s name have long polluted Amazon and e-commerce bookselling sites. It’s an issue Jane Friedman has followed and deplored. But when a Friedman fan emailed her about her new book, she quickly learned that her own good name was attached to a new kind of bad books.
The books on sale on Amazon offer the keys to a successful writing career, with titles like A Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting Compelling eBooks and Strategies to Skyrocket Your Book Sales on Amazon.
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But Jane Friedman didn’t write any of them. In fact, she doesn’t think anyone wrote these books, but that they were manufactured by machines.
“It was easy to see that this was coming. It wasn’t that long ago, maybe two or three years ago, there was a colleague of mine, Jason Boog, who was experimenting with some of these models. It was probably like a baby version of ChatGPT that he was working with,” Friedman tells me.
“I remember Jason talking about it to a group of writers, and I thought, ‘wow.’ If what he was describing gets more advanced, which it will, and then becomes public and free, which I anticipated, we’re going to have an avalanche of material enter the market, and probably a lot of fraudulent work as well.”