It’s always taken hard work to build an author brand and gain a fanbase of dedicated readers. However, the emergence of AI tools like ChatGPT presents new reputation management challenges for authors who are hoping to make a name for themselves. For example, bad actors are using AI tools to pump out fake books in the writing style of established authors to trick fans into buying them. If a phony, low-quality book gets marketed under your name, it could tarnish your author brand. 

Artificial intelligence can also be used to create fake book reviews, scam websites, and convincing deepfakes, which can all have a negative effect on your reputation if you aren’t vigilant. Read on to learn more about these new reputational risks and how to mitigate them. 

Combat Misinformation 

Bots and fake accounts have been spreading misinformation online and causing havoc for years. Unfortunately, bots are becoming more sophisticated due to advancements in artificial intelligence. 

Deep learning algorithms and natural language processing have reached a level where they can create realistic, human-like content. If you’ve experimented with ChatGPT, you know that it can produce responses that sound pretty coherent. However, its answers are often factually inaccurate, which can contribute to the spread of misinformation. 

In addition to text responses, AI may be able to produce talking head videos that look like they were made by a real person in the near future. Since AI-generated content is becoming so convincing, consumers may start to think that fake videos and social media posts were created by human influencers. 

Because consumers tend to trust influencers, bots could potentially cause harm by spreading misinformation about you or creating lots of fake reviews of your books. Scammers have even started threatening to spam an author’s Goodreads page with negative book reviews unless they pay a bribe.

Using AI-powered social listening tools like Brandwatch and Sprout Social can help you protect your author brand from misinformation campaigns. These tools will help you measure online sentiment about your books and monitor your brand mentions. If a flood of phony, negative reviews comes in, you’ll be alerted so you can try to get them taken down quickly and minimize the damage to your reputation.

Update Your Online Presence

ChatGPT was initially trained on a limited data set, so it could only provide information on events that occurred prior to September 2021. Now OpenAI is rolling out a plugin that will enable ChatGPT to access the internet and incorporate current search results  into its answers. 

Since readers may ask ChatGPT questions about you and your books, you may want to update your online presence to help AI tools produce more accurate responses. Make sure your website has a detailed “about me” page so both readers and AI tools can learn about your background and projects. It’s also a good idea to create a frequently asked questions page that answers the most common queries you receive from your followers. 

Additionally, improving your website’s search engine ranking can help you control the narrative about your brand and fight misinformation. If your website pops up first when readers search for your name or books, they’ll be able to get the information they need about you and your work straight from the source. 

Block ChatGPT If Desired 

Although ChatGPT can provide readers with information about your books, you may still be hesitant to allow its bots to crawl your website. After all, you work hard to create unique blogs and web copy, so it’s understandable if you don’t want AI to use your writing in its answers. Luckily, you can prevent ChatGPT from entering your entire website or certain parts of it by adding a few lines of code to your site’s backend. SearchEngineJournal has a helpful tutorial that demonstrates how to enter the code and stop ChatGPT from crawling your website.

Keep in mind that this blocking method isn’t foolproof. Other tech companies are developing their own AI writing tools and bots, which this code probably won’t be able to block. Plus, AI tools could gain access to your content in other ways, such as through web archives. You can prevent your content from being included in future web archives by banning another bot called CommonCrawl from visiting your website, which the tutorial above will show you how to do.

Prevent Publishing Scams 

As a professional book coach, I’ve observed firsthand the negative effects that AI has had on the publishing world. Scammers are using tools like ChatGPT to quickly create low-quality books and are falsely attributing them to established authors and thought leaders to make a buck. 

Fans who come across fake books on Goodreads and Amazon may believe that they’re real, especially since ChatGPT can mimic the writing styles of popular authors. If you’ve published many books or blog posts, it will likely be easier for scammers to mimic your authorial voice using AI tools. This can make the book seem more realistic and fool fans into purchasing the phony title. When the book fails to meet their expectations of your work, readers may feel disappointed and leave negative reviews, causing undeserved reputational damage. 

To prevent this publishing scam from happening to you, it’s important to monitor Goodreads, Amazon, and other book marketplaces for fake books that credit you as an author. If you discover fake titles, you can contact the platform’s customer service and ask for the books to be removed. However, some authors have had trouble getting book marketplaces to take down phony titles. If you run into issues, you can ask an advocacy organization such as the Authors Guild for assistance. Posting about customer service problems on social media can also help draw attention to them and get the situation resolved. 

Protect Your Book From Piracy 

Some authors claim that developers are using shadow libraries to train AI writing tools, which are databases of copyrighted books. They believe that ChatGPT was trained on material from shadow libraries because the tool can provide relatively accurate summaries of certain copyrighted titles. A class action lawsuit is currently underway. 

Whether or not these claims are true, you should still try to prevent your work from being pirated and uploaded to shadow libraries. If readers can download your book for free, you may lose out on sales and revenue. Shadow libraries also make it easier for scammers to import excerpts of your book into AI writing tools, enabling them to create fake books that mimic your writing style. 

One important step you can take to protect your book is to register it with the copyright office. Although authors automatically hold the copyright to any creative work they produce, officially registering your book creates a paper trail of ownership. It will be easier to prove that you own the rights to your book and get pirated copies taken down if you register your copyright. 

Another way to safeguard your work is to enable digital rights management when you upload your book to marketplaces like Amazon. DRM is a feature that prevents customers from copying your book, printing it out, and sharing it with friends. There’s usually a box that you can check during the uploading process to add this extra layer of security to your e-book.

You can also use digital watermarks to make your e-books trackable and prevent file sharing. Digital watermarks usually embed the customer’s name or other contact information into their e-book copy. This helps discourage piracy because any book misuse can be traced back to the customer.

Don’t Rely on AI to Write Your Book

Many authors have had an idea for a book for years, but struggle to find the time to sit down at the computer and write their manuscript. If you’re strapped for time, you may be tempted to use AI writing tools to finally get your book out into the world. 

However, using ChatGPT to write your book could damage your reputation because the tool often produces inaccurate responses. For example, a recent study showed that ChatGPT answered half of a set of 512 programming questions incorrectly. Although developers are working to improve ChatGPT’s accuracy, the tool’s ability to generate code has actually worsened over the past few months. 

Mistakes are showing up in all of ChatGPT’s answers, not just its programming related responses. This means you’ll have to heavily fact-check the tool’s output to catch mistakes. Fact-checking AI responses is a time-consuming process because these tools usually don’t cite their sources. Plus, it’s possible that you may miss some of the tool’s errors, which could cause you to publish incorrect information. Studies have shown that ChatGPT users overlook inaccurate responses nearly 40% of the time because the answers sound coherent and plausible. 

If you want your book to be done right, you have to do it yourself. AI tools can’t compete with your extensive industry knowledge and rich life experience. The world needs the unique insights and perspectives that only you can share. Relying on ChatGPT to write your book will likely result in a subpar final product that won’t increase your authority in your industry. 

If you decide to use AI to write your book despite its flaws, it’s important to be honest about the tool’s involvement. Authors who claim an AI-generated book as their own original work could lose the trust of their followers. She Reads polled a group of avid readers about their thoughts on AI-produced titles. A whopping 98% of readers wouldn’t buy a book written by AI. Additionally, 96% of readers agreed that AI-generated books should be clearly labeled. 

Since there are so many AI detection tools on the market, it’s best to be transparent and list the tool you used as a coauthor. That way readers can make an informed decision about whether or not to purchase your book.

Educate Readers on AI Scams 

Artificial intelligence also presents significant security risks for authors. Security experts believe that the widespread adoption of ChatGPT may be contributing to the rise of sophisticated phishing email attacks, which increased 135% from January to February 2023. A recent phishing attack in the publishing world targeted authors who secured book deals. The scammer emailed the authors and their agents using industry-specific lingo in an attempt to trick them into sharing unpublished manuscripts. 

It’s unclear if the scammer intended to publish these manuscripts on the dark web or charge fans money to view the stolen material. But scams like this may become more common due to AI tools, which help scammers scale their operations and create phishing emails that sound more polished. Readers also need to watch out for phishing attacks on platforms like Goodreads, where scammers have been posting comments featuring deceptive spam links.

Bad actors can also use AI technology to impersonate authors and other public figures by creating fake video and audio clips that mimic their appearance and voice. For example, deepfakes of business executives have been created to try and convince employees and customers to share sensitive data or initiate transfers of funds. AI tools can even be used to quickly generate imposter websites designed to trick customers into entering their login credentials, credit card numbers, and other private information. 

Since most data breaches involve human error, educating your followers on how to spot AI scams is key. Publishing informative social media and blog posts about deepfakes, imposter sites, and phishing attacks can help your fans learn how to protect themselves. Remind them to be careful about clicking links and give them tips on how to spot publishing-related scams like fake books. Arming readers with this information will help you build trust with your audience.

Make a Crisis Response Plan

Responding to misinformation campaigns and other crises quickly is crucial if you want to mitigate damage to your reputation. Think about how you’d respond to the emerging threats discussed in this article and make a crisis plan. 

Consider putting together social media and press release templates that you can base your communications on so you don’t have to scramble. If you have employees or a team, assign roles to each person in advance so they know what to do during a crisis. Finally, continue to educate yourself on the reputational risks of artificial intelligence so you can stay ahead of the curve and protect your author brand. 

Need Help Navigating the Writing and Publishing Process? 

Aspiring others often have trouble finding the time to write their book and learn about the publishing process. If you’re struggling to finish your manuscript and feeling stuck, feel free to reach out to The Book Professor® for expert guidance. Our book coaching programs will help you write the best book possible and successfully navigate the changing publishing landscape.