A classic image of some old books on a book shelf. The Title "Can AI Write a Book?" is written in a very large font. The sub-title "How to Use AI to Write a Book in 2024" is written in a smaller font above. Also "by Brian Vander Waal" (the Author's name) is also above. On the bottom left is the Brian Vander Waal logo and on the bottom right is the web address "brianvanderwaal.com."

Writing a book is no small feat! It is a meticulous process that requires dedication, creativity, and, most importantly, time. Many writers are now asking: Can AI write a book? With advancements in AI technology, the answer is a resounding YES. 

However, let me qualify that. It would be more accurate to say that AI can assist in writing books. In 2024, authors will increasingly turn to artificial intelligence (AI) technology to streamline their writing and self-publishing journey.

Intrigued? Continue reading to learn how authors partner with AI to write books.

Can AI Write a Book?

An image of 3 modern books, with eye glasses on top of the stack of books and a yellow pillow in the background.  The header on the right says: "Can AI Write a Book?"  Below the header is the Brian Vander Waal brand logo.

AI can help you write a book – from conceptualising a new book to polishing the final draft. It can generate content at scale, allowing you to streamline the writing process and bring your book idea to life. Using AI-powered tools like Google Gemini, ChatGPT and AI writing software, writers can generate ideas, outline their books, and even edit or refine their content efficiently. AI models can also provide writing prompts and even help write chapters or sections of a book. While AI might not write a book independently yet, it can assist writers at every stage of the writing and self-publishing journey.

How to Write a Book Using AI: Step-by-Step Guide

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is crucial to writing books in 2024. Utilising AI writing software can save you significant time, as AI algorithms can analyse your writing and suggest edits in a fraction of the time it would take a human editor. By working with AI, writers can combine human creativity and AI efficiency to produce compelling and well-written books. With the help of AI, writing a book looks more promising than ever. Below, I give a step-by-step guide to writing an entire book with AI, outlining ten steps in writing with AI. 

An image of a of a stack of 6 very old books.  The header on the right says: "How to Write a Book Using AI: Step-by-Step Guide."  On the bottom left under the image of books is the Brian Vander Waal brand logo.

Step 1: Research and Select AI Tools for Book Writing

Choosing the Right AI Tools for Writing

To start writing a book using AI, the first step is to choose the right AI tools that align with your writing style and preferences. They can assist you with every step of writing an ebook. AI writing tools can help you to:

  • Refine your writing style
  • Structure your narratives effectively
  • Create an engaging narrative
  • Suggest ways to improve your book’s structure
  • Optimize the overall quality of your work
  • Format the final manuscript.

Writers can use AI tools like ProWritingAid, ChatGPT, Google Gemini, WriterDuet, chatbots, and AI-powered writing assistants. For example, an AI chatbot can provide virtual prompts, guiding you through the writing journey and providing instant feedback on your work. An AI system can also help review and edit AI-generated content, ensuring a polished final manuscript. AI writing software has transformed how writers approach their craft. With these tools, writers can bring book ideas to life efficiently and creatively.

Step 2: Outlining Your Book with AI Assistance

AI can help you create a book outline, significantly enhancing and simplifying your book writing process. AI assistance can help you structure your book by analyzing the content and creating a framework that ensures a coherent flow of ideas. By incorporating AI-generated outlines, you can visualize the overall structure of your book, making it easier to organize your thoughts and chapters effectively. Moreover, AI can suggest improvements to the outline based on your writing style, ensuring a cohesive and captivating storyline that connects with your audience effectively.  Tools like Plottr and Scrivener can help you in this process.

Step 3: Using AI Prompts for Content Creation

AI prompts play a crucial role in content creation by sparking creativity and guiding the writing process. AI-powered software can offer creative suggestions, prompt you with thought-provoking questions, and even provide inspirational quotes to fuel your writing. Further, AI prompts can help you overcome writer’s block, generate fresh ideas, and maintain consistency throughout your book. Additionally, AI prompts can stimulate innovative thinking, leading to unique plot twists and character developments that elevate the overall quality of your writing.

Understanding how to create effective prompts is essential when using AI to write a book. Below are some examples of prompts you can use with AI writing tools. Do not copy these prompts word for word. Rather, use them as a guide for prompts you give your chosen AI Writing tool based on your story or book idea. The below prompts are categorised by what aspect of your book you’d like to focus on:

Generating Ideas and Setting the Stage

  • Genre Fusion: Combine two seemingly disparate genres to create a unique world. For example: “Write a historical romance set in a world with advanced steampunk technology.”
  • Character-Driven Plot: Describe a character with a specific quirk or flaw and their ultimate goal. Ask the AI to write a story about how their flaw hinders their pursuit of the goal. (e.g., “A brilliant detective with a crippling fear of heights must solve a murder case that takes place entirely on a skyscraper.”)
  • “What If?”: Pose a thought-provoking question and ask the AI to explore the consequences. (e.g., “What if humanity discovered they weren’t alone in the universe, but the other intelligent life forms communicated only through emotions?”)

Developing Plot and Story Arcs

  • Moral Dilemma: Present a character with a difficult choice that forces them to choose between two important values. Ask the AI to write the scene where the character makes their decision. (e.g., “A soldier must choose between following orders and saving the life of an innocent civilian.”)
  • Plot Twist: Describe a seemingly ordinary situation and ask the AI to introduce a sudden twist that changes the course of the story. (e.g., “A group of friends on a camping trip discovers a mysterious artefact buried in the woods.”)
  • Flashback/Flashforward: Provide a brief glimpse into the character’s past or future and ask the AI to elaborate on the scene’s significance to the present story. (e.g., “Write a flashback scene that reveals a traumatic event from the protagonist’s childhood that explains their current motivations.”)

Enhancing Characters and Descriptions

  • Sensory Details: Describe a scene using only one or two senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste). Ask the AI to expand on the scene with vivid details that appeal to other senses. (e.g., “The air hung heavy with the metallic tang of blood.”)
  • Character Motivation: Briefly describe a character’s action and ask the AI to elaborate on the character’s internal thoughts and motivations behind the action. (e.g., “Sarah slammed the door shut and stormed out of the room. Describe what was going through her mind at that moment.”)
  • Character Dialogue: Provide a snippet of dialogue between two characters and ask the AI to continue the conversation, revealing their personalities and relationship dynamics. (e.g., “Look,” John sighed, “I know you don’t trust me, but we need to work together.” “Maybe,” replied Sarah, her voice laced with suspicion, “but why should I believe you now?”)

Genre and Setting Prompts

  • A young artist discovers a hidden world of vibrant colours in a dystopian future where emotions are outlawed. Write the opening scene.
  • A spaceship crash-lands on a seemingly uninhabited planet. The sole survivor must find a way to signal for help while unravelling the planet’s ancient secrets. Describe the survivor’s first encounter with a strange life form.

Character Prompts 

  • A brilliant but socially awkward scientist invents a time machine. What motivates them to travel through time, and what challenges do they face in the past?
  • A hardened detective with a mysterious past must team up with a quirky rookie to solve a baffling murder case. Develop the dynamic between these two characters.

Plot Prompts

  • A group of strangers receive a cryptic invitation to a remote island mansion. What secrets are hidden within the mansion, and how will these strangers work together to survive?
  • A prophecy foretells a great disaster. A youthful protagonist must set out on a dangerous adventure to prevent him from facing mythical creatures and overcoming personal doubts. 

AI can help generate unique and engaging prompts that guide the writing process. By collaborating with AI in prompt creation, writers can enhance their storytelling and produce captivating books.

Step 4: Writing a Book with AI

The capability of AI to support writers has brought the most significant change and advancement to the industry in living memory. The novel ideas spawned by AI algorithms are expanding possibilities for writers. Utilising AI-powered tools like ChatGPT, Google Gemini, and AI book writer software is an invaluable ally in the creative journey, offering fresh perspectives and enhancing productivity.

An image of a man writing a book on the left.  He is sitting at a desk. On the desk is a lamp with a green hood on top.  On the right is an AI robot man sitting on a red oak bench and writing a book on a tablet.

AI-Powered Book Starters

AI-powered book starters can jumpstart your creative processes, providing inspiration and guiding narrative development. By collaborating with AI to generate engaging book starters, you can infuse your work with originality and depth, setting the stage for a captivating book.  For example, brainstorming tools like Plot Generator can help you develop initial story concepts and overcome writer’s block. Further, you can utilize AI writing assistants like Jasper (formerly Jarvis) or ChatGPT to generate creative writing prompts based on your desired genre, themes, or character ideas.

AI Content Creation – Including Chapter Writing

AI writing tools such as ShortlyAI and Jasper can write content and even produce entire chapters or sections of your book. However, these initial drafts require editing and revision to align with your voice and vision. By harnessing AI-generated content, writers can enhance their productivity and explore new perspectives in their writing. 

AI Book Writing Techniques

AI offers writers a unique set of writing techniques to explore. From refining writing styles to suggesting narrative structures, AI writing tools empower you to experiment with diverse techniques, enhancing the quality and impact of your writing.

Here are some ways to leverage AI’s capabilities:

  • Genre Exploration: Use AI writing assistants to experiment with different writing styles and explore genres you might not have considered before. This can help you discover new creative avenues for your story.
  • Dialogue Writing: Some AI tools can generate realistic dialogue based on character profiles and pre-defined contexts. If you struggle with writing natural-sounding dialogue, this may be especially helpful for you. Consider using ShortlyAI or WriterDuet for this purpose. While WriterDuet is primarily a collaboration platform for screenwriters, it offers AI-powered dialogue development features that can also be useful for novelists.
  • Character Development: Tools like CharacterAI can help you develop your characters’ backstories, personalities, and motivations by simulating conversations with them.
  • Worldbuilding: For fantasy or science fiction novels, AI tools can assist with creating detailed and immersive fictional worlds. Describe the desired setting and societal structures. Let AI generate descriptions, character names, or cultural details to flesh out your world. Tools like WorldAnvil combine traditional worldbuilding features with AI name generators and prompts to spark creativity.
  • Style and Tone Optimization: Tools like ProWritingAid and QuillBot offer AI-powered suggestions for improving your writing style and ensuring consistency in tone throughout your book.

Step 5: Adding a Human Touch to AI-Generated Content

While AI technology can simplify writing, infusing a human touch into AI-generated content is essential. Adding personal insights, emotions, and unique perspectives can enrich the narrative and create a more authentic connection with readers. Further, you can balance efficiency and originality by blending AI-generated content with your creative input. As a result, you will provide a compelling and personalized reading experience for your audience.

Step 6: Editing and Refinement

After outlining and writing your book, the next crucial step is editing and refining your content to ensure a polished final manuscript. Utilising AI for editing can significantly enhance the quality of your book. AI tools can pinpoint grammatical errors, suggest vocabulary enhancements, and even provide readability analysis to enhance the overall consistency and fluidity of your writing. The following are some editing and refinement tools you can consider:

  • Grammarly: This popular option goes beyond basic grammar checks. It offers suggestions for improving sentence clarity, style, and vocabulary. It also detects plagiarism.
  • ProWritingAid: Similar to Grammarly, ProWritingAid provides in-depth grammar and style checks. Further, it offers reports on overused words, cliches, and pacing issues, helping you achieve a more engaging writing style.
  • WhiteSmoke: This software offers advanced grammar and style suggestions as well as translation and plagiarism-checking features.
  • Hemingway Editor: This free online tool improves sentence clarity and readability. It highlights complex sentences and suggests simpler alternatives, making your writing more concise and impactful.
  • QuillBot: While not strictly an editing tool, QuillBot can help rewrite and paraphrase sentences during the editing process. It offers various rewriting modes to improve sentence clarity or avoid plagiarism.
  • Cliche Finder: This free online tool uses AI to identify overused phrases and cliches in your writing, helping you maintain a fresh and original voice.

Benefits of Using AI in Editing

AI-powered editing tools can simplify editing by offering real-time suggestions and corrections. These tools can assist in enhancing the structure of your sentences, ensuring consistency in tone and style, and detecting repetitive phrases or words. By leveraging AI for editing, authors can save time and effort while fine-tuning their writing to meet professional standards, ultimately producing a refined and engaging book that captivates readers.

Step 7: Designing your Book with AI

An image of a woman designing her book on a tablet computer.

You can even use AI to help you design your book. AI can generate visually appealing layouts, captivating graphics, and eye-catching typography. AI can also assist you in formatting your eBook, designing custom illustrations, and optimising your book covers’ overall aesthetic. What’s more, Al can refine existing book covers. Further, with AI tools, authors can access templates, design guides, and colour schemes that align with their book’s genre and target audience. Overall, this ensures a professional and visually stunning end product. By incorporating AI in the design process, you can elevate the presentation of your books and make a lasting impression on readers.

The following are some tools you can use to design your book:

  • Canva: This popular design platform offers a free plan with access to millions of templates, including book cover templates and layout options. 
  • Adobe Spark: Like Canva, Adobe Spark offers AI-powered layout suggestions and pre-designed templates for ebooks and print. It’s a good option for those already familiar with the Adobe suite.
  • Vistacreate: Offers an AI-powered book cover design feature that generates covers based on your chosen genre and keywords. You can then customize the design further with their editing tools.
  • Placeit: Another user-friendly platform with AI-powered features. Placeit allows you to create professional-looking book covers, social media posts, and short animated videos to promote your book. This online service offers mockups and templates to showcase book covers and other marketing materials. They also have an AI image generation feature.
  • Midjourney is a powerful AI art generation tool that can create unique illustrations based on your descriptions. You can also explore alternatives like NightCafe Creator or Deep Dream Generator to experiment with AI-generated visuals for your book.
  • Fotor: This online design tool offers AI-powered features like background removal and smart resizing, making image editing for your book cover a breeze.
  • Unsplash and Shutterstock offer AI-powered search functionalities, which can help you find royalty-free images that perfectly match your book’s theme and tone.
  • Fiverr or Upwork: Freelance platforms where authors can connect with design services to create custom book covers or illustrations based on their needs.

Key Points to Remember

  • Maintain Creative Control: While AI can provide a starting point, curation is key. Use your artistic judgment to select and tailor AI-generated visuals to best represent your book’s essence.
  • Consider Copyright: Ensure you understand the copyright terms associated with any AI-generated content you use. Some tools require additional licensing fees for commercial use.

By effectively leveraging AI design tools, you can create professional-looking book covers and layouts that grab readers’ attention and enhance the overall aesthetic of your book.

Step 8: Using Artificial Intelligence Tools to Create an eBook 

AI technology plays a pivotal role in eBook creation, offering you a range of tools to enhance the digital reading experience. AI-powered formatting tools can transform your manuscript into a professional eBook with custom layouts, fonts, and interactive elements. Additionally, AI can optimize your eBook for different devices, ensuring seamless readability across various platforms. By using AI in eBook creation, authors can cater to the evolving preferences of digital readers and maximize the impact of their writing. You can consider using the following artificial intelligence tools to create your eBook:

  • Vellum: This software focuses specifically on ebook formatting and offers AI-powered features to:
    • Ensure Industry Standard Compliance: Vellum ensures your eBook adheres to industry standards (e.g., accessibility guidelines) for optimal display across various reading devices.
    • Interactive Elements: Explore Vellum’s advanced features for incorporating interactive elements like image galleries or pop-up footnotes, enhancing the digital reading experience.
  • Draft2Digital: This online platform offers eBook distribution services and includes AI-powered tools for:
    • Multi-Format Conversion: Draft2Digital utilizes AI to convert your manuscript into various eBook formats suitable for different reading platforms and retailers.
    • Metadata Optimization: AI helps optimize your eBook’s metadata (title, description, keywords) for discoverability on online marketplaces.
  • Calibre: This free and open-source software offers a comprehensive set of eBook creation tools, including AI-powered features for:
    • Formatting: Calibre can automatically convert your manuscript into various eBook formats (e.g., EPUB, MOBI) and optimize the layout for different reading devices.
    • Table of Contents and Index Generation: AI helps Calibre automatically generate a well-structured table of contents and index based on your manuscript.

Step 9: Publishing and Distribution

A picture of a woman in a library, representing the publishing and distribution of books.

Once you have completed the writing process with the help of AI technology, the next crucial step is publishing and distributing your book. Traditional publishing models have evolved with the integration of AI, offering authors more options for self-publishing or seeking traditional publishing routes. By leveraging AI in book publishing, authors can gain insights into market trends and customise their distribution strategies to reach a wider audience.

  • Reedsy: This platform offers a suite of tools and services for self-publishing authors. It utilizes AI for manuscript evaluation, providing feedback on style, grammar, and marketability. It also offers AI-powered cover design suggestions and connects authors with freelance editors and designers.
  • BookBaby: This self-publishing platform offers AI-powered distribution tools that help authors optimize their book’s metadata (keywords, descriptions) for various online retailers, potentially increasing discoverability.
  • Draft2Digital: In addition to eBook conversion, Draft2Digital offers distribution services to online retailers. They utilize AI to optimize your book listing information and target the right audience for each platform.
  • Kindle Direct Publishing: Self-publish print and digital books on Amazon.

Step 10: Utilizing AI for Marketing Your Book

Effectively marketing your book is crucial to reach your target audience and drive sales. AI can revolutionize book marketing by providing data-driven insights, identifying niche markets, and tailoring marketing campaigns to specific reader preferences. AI algorithms can also analyze reader behaviour, predict trends, and recommend personalized marketing strategies to boost visibility and engagement. By leveraging AI for book marketing, authors can amplify their reach, build a loyal reader base, and enhance the overall success of their book. Below are some AI tools you can consider for book marketing:

AI Marketing Analytics Tools

  • Publisher Rocket: This online platform utilizes AI to analyze market trends, competitor data, and reader demographics. It can help authors identify potential genres, target audiences, and keywords to optimize their book for discoverability.
  • K-lytics: This software focuses on Amazon market research and utilises AI to analyse sales data, identify profitable niches, and suggest competitive pricing strategies for your eBook.
  • Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP): Authors enrolled in KDP have access to “Author Insights,” a suite of tools that uses AI to analyse book sales data, reader demographics, and keyword performance. This information can help you understand your audience and optimise your marketing strategies.
  • BookBub Ads: While BookBub primarily offers paid advertising solutions for authors, it utilises AI to analyse reader data and target marketing campaigns to highly targeted audiences who are more likely to be intrigued by your book’s genre and themes.
  • Amazon Advertising: While primarily an advertising platform, Amazon Advertising offers AI-powered analytics tools for authors enrolled in KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). These tools provide insights into reader demographics, keyword performance, and campaign effectiveness, allowing authors to optimise their marketing strategies for the Amazon marketplace.

AI-powered Content Creation and Promotion Tools

  • Jasper: This AI writing assistant can help create compelling marketing copy for book blurbs, social media posts and captions. It can also do this for blog posts or email newsletters promoting your book. Further, Jasper utilizes AI to generate creative content based on your input, unique voice and target audience.
  • ShortlyAI: Similar to Jasper, ShortlyAI offers AI-powered content creation features. It can help generate engaging social media captions, website blurbs, or even short promotional videos for your book.
  • Tailwind: This platform focuses on social media scheduling and management. Tailwind utilizes AI to suggest optimal posting times and relevant hashtags for your target audience. It also provides insights into which social media platforms are most effective for reaching readers interested in your genre. This helps to maximize the reach of your social media content related to your book.
  • Anyword: This AI-powered marketing copywriting platform can help you craft compelling ad copy, product descriptions, or website landing pages to promote your book. It also analyses past performance data and suggests copy variations most likely to resonate with your target audience.
  • Canva: Canva offers a free plan with access to design templates specifically for social media graphics and marketing materials. You can leverage Canva’s AI features to suggest layouts and colour palettes and generate basic marketing visuals to promote your book.

AI-driven Public Relations and Influencer Marketing Tools

  • Brandwatch: This subscription-based platform utilizes AI to monitor online conversations and identify potential influencers in your book’s niche. It can also help authors connect with relevant reviewers, bloggers, or social media personalities who can promote their book to a targeted audience.
  • Meltwater: Like Brandwatch, Meltwater utilizes AI for media monitoring and influencer identification.

Using AI in Book Writing – Benefits, Drawbacks and Challenges

Before you decide whether to use AI to write a book, consider the benefits, drawbacks, and challenges. Only then can you determine whether it is the right choice for you.

An image of a stack of 7 old books, an antique lamp and an antique kettle on a desk.  The header on the right says: "Using AI in Book Writing - Benefits, Drawbacks and Challenges."  On the bottom left under the image is the Brian Vander Waal brand logo.

Benefits of Using AI to Write Books

Integrating AI in writing offers numerous benefits, revolutionizing how books are created and consumed. AI’s contribution to writing is multifaceted, ranging from enhanced productivity to innovative content creation. By harnessing AI tools, you can also simplify the process of writing books and achieve unparalleled ingenuity in your work. Further, you can craft more engaging narratives, explore new genres, and reach a broader audience with your books. With the help of AI, you can significantly reduce the time to write and publish a book.

Drawbacks of Using AI to Write Books

AI streamlines the writing process, but it’s not without drawbacks. While it can churn out books quickly, its capabilities have limitations. AI excels at generating text, but it lacks the human ability to create truly unique ideas or capture lived experiences. AI-generated content needs a human touch to add emotional depth and resonate with readers. Finding the right balance between AI efficiency and human creativity is crucial to achieving truly impactful and authentic work.

Challenges of Writing a Book with AI

One of the primary obstacles in incorporating AI into writing is maintaining the writer’s voice and style. AI tools, though efficient, can sometimes homogenise writing, diluting the unique essence of individual authors. Overcoming this challenge involves using AI strategically to complement rather than replace your creative vision.

Role of AI in Novel Writing

An image of a woman typing on a laptop, the header "Role of AI in Novel Writing" and the Brian Vander Waal brand logo.

AI has a significant role in transforming novel writing. Using AI-powered tools, writers can simplify the path from ideation to publication.  AI can assist at every stage of novel creation. Employing AI writing software (as mentioned above) and resources like Google Gemini and ChatGPT, authors can harness AI to develop plotlines, create characters, and plot narrative arcs. AI can offer creative insights to authors, leading to more efficient and innovative novel writing experiences. AI has the potential to revolutionize how novels are written by amalgamating human ingenuity with AI efficiency.

The Future of AI Book Writing

The future of AI book writing seems promising, given advancements in natural language processing and AI models like GPT-3 and GPT-4. These technologies enable AI to mimic different writing styles and even write novels. With the right AI writing tools like Hootsuite (Social Media management, etc), Google Gemini, and ChatGPT, authors can make writing books quicker and more efficient. I met an author a couple of weeks ago who even wrote a sci-fi novel with the help of AI chatbots.

Many AI writing tools are now capable of generating text that is indistinguishable from human writing. This means that authors can spend less time writing and more time perfecting their work before publishing. This will continue to improve and develop as we move into the future.

Conclusion: Start Writing a Book With the Help of AI Today!

Don’t let this exciting adventure end here! The world awaits your story. Take your first step towards publishing your first book. Here’s a reminder of how to get started:

  1. Research your AI writing allies: Explore the tools mentioned above. Choose the AI companions that resonate with your writing style and needs.
  2. Download a free trial: Most AI writing tools mentioned above offer free trial periods. Experiment, explore, and find your perfect AI partner.
  3. Start outlining your book with AI: Craft a rock-solid foundation for your story with the AI tools mentioned above.
  4. Unleash your creativity and begin writing: Weave your unique voice and vision into the story, using AI prompts to overcome writer’s block. Refer back to the tools and tips I shared above.
  5. Subscribe to my blog – brianvanderwaal.com, and my LinkedIn newsletter for more hints and tips.

With AI by your side, you can transform your book-writing dream into a published reality. So, what are you waiting for?

Start writing today!

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