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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Clemmer

The Truth about AI Book Editors

Over the past few months, the author community has been abuzz with the recent AI developments and what they mean for writers. Personally, I don’t believe creative writing itself is in any danger of being displaced—AI writing remains dull and impersonal, even with detailed prompting.

There are other options, however. AI editors like ProWritingAid, Autocrit and Marlowe have been around for years. If you’re new to self-publishing, you might have heard of one or more of the options out there. If you have, you probably have a question about it:

How does an AI editor compare with a human editor?

Let’s take a look at the good and bad and decide if an AI editing service is right for you.

What’s Good about AI Editing

1. Consistent Treatment.

An AI editor will give consistent and equal treatment to anything you feed it. While a human editor might miss rough wording in a paragraph or get distracted by a phone call in the chapter before your climax, an AI editor will give your writing full attention at all times. You can bet that not one weak phrase will go unnoticed.

2. Speed and Cost.

There’s no question that AI editors are both much faster and much less expensive than their human counterparts. Human editors will charge hundreds or thousands to review your book and then make you wait weeks to hear back. An AI editor will have a full report within minutes—and even the most deluxe options are only a fraction of what you’d have to pay an editor otherwise.

3. Focused Edits.

With AI editors, it’s extremely easy to focus on only one aspect of your work at a time. Whether you’re weeding adverbs or trying to rework passive sentences, it’s easy to customize your feedback or study only the section of the report that applies to your work. This allows you to prioritize your revision process and focus on what you believe is the most important.

Where AI Editing Falls Behind

1. Robotic Edits

AI editors all operate according to code. If you follow their advice too thoroughly, your work will pick on the characteristics of AI writing. It will grow sterile and robotic, and you might accidentally weed out some of the traits that make your writing more distinct for something more technically accurate.

2. Lack of Customized Feedback

These days, AI editors do allow you to partially customize your feedback by entering your genre or aligning yourself with a similar author. But that’s not always enough. A human editor can listen to your goals and work with you to establish your vision as a writer. Sharing a vision with an editor is more powerful than anything one can currently find with AI services.

3. Lack of Spirit

AI editors assume all books are the same in the end. They look for the same weaknesses and highlight the same points in your writing. The inability to fully understand and define atmosphere and mood will leave many parts of your book unchecked. Keep in mind that editing is much more than proofreading—readers want a compelling story, bold characters and an enchanting world that they will want to keep returning to. If you want feedback that covers those angles, you’ll need a human.

Do you need a human editor?

In the end, the answer is yes. At least when you’re starting out. After you know your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, you can rely more on an AI editor, but it is not a replacement for human eyes.

That being said, with the low price tag and accessibility, AI editors can streamline your process and give you a more polished manuscript for when you do share it.

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