Can I Use ChatGPT to Write a Book? 7 Better Ways to Use AI for Writing

Audrey Hirschberger
December 24, 2023 | 9 mins

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Artists call it enemy number one. Business owners call it the best new tool to leverage. Whether you love it or hate it, as a writer you are bound to be wondering: “Can I use ChatGPT to write a book?” 

This question doesn’t have a simple answer. Whether you can use ChatGPT to write a book has a lot of logistical, legal, and ethical ramifications to consider.


But can you use ChatGPT to write a book? 

Today, we’re going to dive into just that. If you can use ChatGPT to write a book, whether you should, and seven great ways you can leverage AI as an author. 

Is ChatGPT capable of writing a book? 

Can you use ChatGPT to write a book? In short, yes. ChatGPT goes through extensive training, so it can create engaging and grammatically correct text. It can even mimic different writing styles and tones to suit specific genres or certain age groups. 

So physically, you can use ChatGPT to write a book. But whether or not you actually can is only one part of the picture. 

What you should really be asking yourself is: “Can I use ChatGPT to write a book and sell it?” And “Is that ethical or safe?” 

Can I use ChatGPT to write a book legally? 

If you’ve been wondering: “Can I use ChatGPT to write a book and sell it?” The answer is…also yes. With some caveats. 

ChatGPT gets its information from material it finds on the internet. That means it might include copyrighted material in its answers, or infringe on intellectual property rights.

If this happens, and you move forward with publishing, be prepared for legal fees. You will be held accountable for any copyright infringement on behalf of ChatGPT. 

You also might not be able to copyright your own book. If it was written by AI, and not you, you may have to give up ownership rights. Right now the rules aren’t clear, but lawmakers are currently working to define and divide human and machine ownership. 

Amazon now has official policies on AI-generated and AI-assisted books, so if you want to self-publish through Amazon KDP, it’s important to meet their guidelines. 

Amazon requires you to disclose if you used any AI-generated text, images, or translations. You are not required to disclose AI-assisted content. Let’s explore the difference according to Amazon:

AI-generated content as text, images, or translations created by an AI-based tool. If you used an AI-based tool to create the actual content (whether text, images, or translations), it is considered “AI-generated,” even if you applied substantial edits afterwards.

If you created the content yourself, and used AI-based tools to edit, refine, error-check, or otherwise improve that content (whether text or images), then it is considered “AI-assisted” and not “AI-generated.” 

So if you want to take credit for your own work (and you should) it’s important to use AI as a tool to assist your own writing – not to actually write your book.

7 ways you can use ChatGPT to write a book

I am a firm believer that we should leave art to the artists and writing to the writers, but whatever your stance, there is no denying that you can use ChatGPT to write a book in a number of interesting ways. 

Here are some of the ways you can use AI to help you write your book. 

1. Using ChatGPT to get book ideas

If you have writer’s block, or aren’t sure how to start writing a book, you can use ChatGPT to quickly gain inspiration. 

Let me give you some examples of queries I gave ChatGPT (and its responses). 

Query: Give me 10 possible book titles for a fantasy novel about warring groups of faeries. 

ChatGPT’s response?

  • “Whispers of the Enchanted Realm”
  • “Feyre's Fury: The Battle of Elven Realms”
  • “Eclipsed Wings: Faerie Factions in Conflict”
  • “Shadows of the Sylvan War”
  • “The Faerie Accord: Unraveling Alliances”
  • “Veil of Mists: Chronicles of the Fey Wars”
  • “Frost and Flame: A Faerie Tale of Discord”
  • “Court of Ember and Frost: Fey Turmoil”
  • “Glimmering Blades: Faerie Clans Clash”
  • “Whirlwind of Faerie Feuds: Tales from the Ethereal Frontlines”

While some of these are incredibly cheesy, or lean towards a nonfiction style of book title, some of these titles are actually pretty great. And they could certainly give you inspiration for tweaking a title into perfection. 

This was a promising start. But not all of the titles were all that original, and if there is one thing authors struggle with during brainstorming, it’s coming up with a truly unique concept. 

So then I wondered, “Can I use ChatGPT to write a book idea list of topics that haven’t been covered yet?” 

Query: “What are some cool sci-fi book concepts that haven't been written about yet? 

ChatGPT’s response was this:

“Creating entirely new and unique sci-fi concepts is a challenging task, as the genre has explored a wide range of ideas. However, here are some potential cool sci-fi book concepts that may not have been extensively explored yet:

  • Quantum narrative: A story where the protagonist discovers the ability to manipulate the narrative structure of their own life, jumping between parallel storylines and altering the course of events.
  • Time dilation tourism: Future tourism allows people to experience different historical periods, but the catch is that time passes differently in each era. Visitors return to find centuries have passed in their absence.
  • Meme warfare: In a world where information is power, nations, and corporations wage war through the creation and dissemination of viral memes that shape public opinion and control reality.
  • Nano-evolution: Humans have developed nanobots capable of altering their own genetic code, leading to rapid and unpredictable evolution with both beneficial and catastrophic consequences.
  • Interdimensional mail service: A courier service that delivers packages between parallel universes, exploring the challenges and consequences of transporting items across different realities.
  • Cosmic gardening: Set in a future where planets are cultivated like gardens, exploring the relationships between planetary ecosystems and their caretakers.
  • Neural networking empathy: Humans develop a technology that allows them to share thoughts and emotions directly, leading to a utopian society built on collective empathy but also raising questions about individual identity.

WOW. Thanks, ChatGPT!

A few of those topics are really cool. In fact, my fingers are itching to start writing a short story now.  

Of course, if you aren’t thrilled with what ChatGPT spits out, you can try another query, or use any number of Book Title Generators or Writing Prompt Generators

2. Using ChatGPT to generate character names 

Now that we’ve covered a little sci-fi and fantasy, let’s talk about historical fiction. When learning how to write historical fiction, you need to do a lot of research to make sure the setting, characters, and plot are accurate to that time period. 

ChatGPT can help! 

In terms of creating historically accurate character names, this is the query I gave to ChatGPT:

Query: Give me 10 character names for a book set in Ireland in the 1940s. (Half male/half female)

ChatGPT:

“Certainly! Here are 10 character names for a book set in Ireland in the 1940s, divided evenly between male and female:

Male names:

  • Liam O'Malley
  • Seamus Fitzpatrick
  • Brendan Callahan
  • Eamon Sullivan
  • Ciaran Doyle

Female names:

  • Maeve O'Connor
  • Siobhan Flynn
  • Fiona Gallagher
  • Roisin MacCarthy
  • Deirdre Keane

These names are inspired by Irish traditions and are reflective of the time period you specified.”

If you see names you love, you can use them. You can also mix and match to create the character you are looking for. 

3. Using ChatGPT to research for your book

No matter what book genres you like to write in, research is key to creating a high-quality finished product. You can use ChatGPT to write a book by asking it to help you research.

Ask it tons and tons of questions. It can scour the internet much faster than you or I.

That being said, you need to double-check its work. “AI hallucinations” are a very real thing, and sometimes ChatGPT will tell you misleading (or even false) information and present it as fact. 

4. Using ChatGPT to outline your book

If you’re wondering, “Can I use ChatGPT to write a book outline!?” The answer is yes. In fact, ChatGPT can write a very good book outline and lead your writing in ways you may not have originally imagined.

You can ask it to give you outlines with different book endings. You can plug in your inciting incident and other key moments for it to work around. 

But it takes a lot of work and meticulously crafted queries to get a stellar outline. 

So if you are getting frustrated with your AI accomplice, you can use our free Book Outline Generator instead! 

5. Using ChatGPT to edit your book

One of the best ways you can use ChatGPT to write a book is during the editing process. ChatGPT can give you pointers to improve your writing style, tone, syntax, and more. It can easily catch grammar errors, and give you suggestions for reorganizing things that could flow better.

While it’s still a good idea to hire a book editor to get human eyes on your work, an AI editor is a great free resource to use for a first pass. 

6. Using ChatGPT to draft world maps 

Did you know ChatGPT can do more than just write? Paid users with a ChatGPT Plus or Enterprise can output images, too. Which means there are endless possibilities!

If you are a new fantasy author and are wondering how to make a fantasy map, ChatGPT is one great way to do it. Of course, if you use ChatGPT to generate images, remember that you need to disclose that information when publishing on Amazon. 

Just make sure you are descriptive about the climates, landmarks, preferred style, etc in your query. 

7. Using ChatGPT to design your book cover 

Can you use ChatGPT to make a book cover design? Absolutely! As mentioned above, users with paid subscriptions can generate images through ChatGPT. Any AI-generated images must be disclosed when self-publishing on Amazon.

If you don’t want to deal with that, you can play around with Canva or hire a professional book cover designer to support human artists and give you the look you’re after. 

Related:

The future of writing is here

Now you have the answer to the question “Can I use ChatGPT to write a book and sell it?”

So now comes the moral dilemma. Should you use AI to write books? And exactly how much should you allow them to help? 

In my mind, as long as you are using AI as a tool for your art, and not as a replacement for art, you’re on the right track. After all, if we don’t leverage AI at all, we’re going to be quickly left behind.

How do YOU feel about using AI in writing? Let us know!


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