The New Art of E-Book Covers

A physical book has about seven seconds to sell the book before the consumer puts it down. In that time, the consumer is connecting to the art on the cover, the title, and other design elements, such as foiling. Simultaneously, the customer also connects with the book through its weight, texture and scent. If the reader likes what they see and feel, they may flip the book over or open the cover to read a synopsis of the book. All of the sensory inputs allow the reader to form an emotional attachment to the book, making them more likely to buy it.

The digital shopping experience cannot offer the immersive experience that brick-and-mortar stores can. The digital storefront is only capable of connecting with the reader through sight, meaning that e-book covers must adapt to a visually heavy digital storefront.

How are E-Books Presented?

In online storefronts, the cover is reduced to a thumbnail. In physical stores, the books are typically presented spine-first, with a few books cover out; however, in a digital storefront, every book is presented with the cover. Additionally, a thumbnail has no reverse, so even if a reader chooses to click on the book, they have to search for the information that is found on the back of a cover.

Shortform Content and the Rise of Visual Shopping

George Chrysostomou makes the argument that TikTok is influencing book cover designs because content creators want something that will grab the viewers’ attention. Shortform content relies on the visuals of a cover to sell it, much like digital storefronts do. A common BookTok trend is the “Books That” trend, where a creator recommends books that made them cry or that they couldn’t stop thinking about. Creators typically only show the covers of the books against a simple background. Sometimes they will provide a “hook” or a rating system for each book, but the majority of the focus is on the book cover.

The value of aesthetics in shortform content has carried over into digital storefronts as readers expect aesthetically pleasing covers when choosing what books to purchase. A successful e-book cover should be simple and offer a promise of what the reader will find behind the cover.

Creating for Smaller Screens

The first step is to make sure your potential readers can clearly see the cover at its tiniest. An e-book cover is vastly important because it is the first thing, and often the only thing, that readers see when browsing. Smashwords founder, Mark Coker says that “a poor cover creates unnecessary friction that prevents a reader from clicking [on an e-book].” You want your book title to be clearly legible on the cover, as you cannot always count on the platform to format the title correctly or show the complete title. On Kindle, the preview thumbnail is only 60×90 pixels, which is incredibly tiny. Many stylistic choices that work for print books or for larger images will not translate into the thumbnail.

Know Your Genre

Knowing the style of cover that is particular to your genre is imperative, especially in a digital storefront. You want your audience to immediately know that your book will interest them solely off of the cover. Kris Miller argues that one of the most important aspects of book design is a “harmonious cohesion between design elements and market. The art shouldn’t fight the typography. A romance novel shouldn’t look like a thriller or visa versa.” Beyond branding your book for a certain genre, your cover starts to curate your brand.

Develop Your Brand

Colleen Hoover’s branding strategy is clearly defined by her text placement, font, and cover colors. Most of her covers feature pink or blue backgrounds that often have an easily identifiable motif, such as floral accents, that integrate themselves into the other elements on the cover. Hoover’s books are bright, bold, and clearly advertising contemporary romance, except for Verity. Her 2018 novel, Verity, is the opposite of bright and bold, yet it is not completely removed from Hoover’s brand. The dark background offers a nice contrast to the desaturated gold of the title and central design element. More importantly, Hoover kept her name in her typical place at the bottom center of the cover. The success of Verity is dependent on the recognition of Hoover’s brand.

Color and Images

The color of the cover is often the first thing that readers recognize and can be a huge part of an author’s brand; however, different displays will show color differently. Light mode will generally work well with all colors. In dark mode, bright colors can induce eye strain and dark colors will blend in. The cover must also translate into grayscale since most e-readers do not support color. A high contrast between the background image and the text is a good way to make the cover “pop,” even without color. Coker argues that the image alone should convey the premise of the book. The cover art should promise the reader the experience they are searching out.

Typography and Text Placement

Though the color and art are the most easily recognizable part of the cover, the typography and text layout are key elements that can make or break a cover. Aside from the cover art, the text is the largest element on a book cover. It is important that the font categorizes the book into a specific genre and the text is easily readable in thumbnail form.

The largest text should be what will get the reader to click on the book. For established authors with a loyal fanbase, the author’s name is typically the largest piece of text on the cover. For authors who haven’t developed name recognition, an interesting title should be given prominence. While teasers and reviews on the cover can give a print book credibility, the small text shrinks down into a blur on the thumbnails for e-books. The focus for e-book covers should be on hooking the reader with strong visuals.

Text hierarchy and font can also define your brand. Danielle Steele’s books are easily distinguished from other books in her genre because of the specific font she uses for her name, which is always positioned at the top of her cover over the title.

The success of an e-book is dependent on its ability to hook a reader from the search page. Credibility is no longer sought through reviews or a clever synopsis, but the aesthetics of a book cover. With the increasing focus on visual content in shortform media, e-books have no choice but to adapt.

From Fanfiction to Film: How Wattpad is Ushering in A New Age of Writing

Wattpad is an online community of authors and readers that hosts stories from typically unpublished authors. The site is unique in combining social media and a reading platform, which allows readers to interact with the books and the author. Wattpad was founded in 2006 by Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen as an e-reading platform where “readers could download an app to read and chat about fiction shared by professional and aspiring writers from around the world.” According to Lau, being mobile was the top priority. This mobility allowed for interaction on the site to skyrocket. Wattpad appeals to up-and-coming writers who wanted to distribute their work without going through a publishing process. 

Writers typically release the book a chapter at a time and readers can make in-line comments on stories, allowing the writer to adjust the book to the reader’s preferences. Wattpad readers are primarily young people who were drawn to the appeal of free books written by their peers instead of older, more established authors. Many of these young authors became success stories through the constructive criticism and praise they received from their fans.

Anna Todd and Happily Ever After

Wattpad has been a powerhouse for undiscovered authors in the past few years. Anna Todd’s After began as a Harry Styles fanfiction in 2013. Written under the name @imaginator1DAfter became an almost overnight success, with the fanbase reaching the hundreds of thousands. Todd wrote the majority of After on her phone, with no outlining or proofreading before she uploaded the chapter to Wattpad. While some may dislike the lack of outline, Todd and her fans equally enjoyed the “social writing” model. Todd would listen to her fans’ feedback and adjust the story to their preferences in real time. Not only did Todd’s fanbase grow, but the relationship between the fan and the author grew as well. Readers felt like they had a say in the story, which increased their loyalty to the author, as well as their willingness to offer financial support. 

With the help of Wattpad, Anna Todd received a book deal with Simon and Schuster in 2014, just one year after she published her first chapter on Wattpad. After was also granted a movie in 2019, with three sequels to follow. Todd’s story is a testament to the power that her fans and Wattpad hold. The first movie currently holds an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes, though fans give it a significantly better rating of 66%.

Wattpad to Movie Pipeline

Though Todd’s story is one of the most notable, it is far from the only success story that has come from Wattpad. At seventeen, Beth Reekles became the youngest Wattpad writer to score a book deal for her story, The Kissing Booth. Reekle later went on to earn a movie deal with Netflix, though that movie also did poorly on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite the abysmal critic reviews, The Kissing Booth garnered immense fan support. According to Sara Perez, this disconnect is due to the “built in audience” of Wattpad users. 

Readers don’t just read and watch these stories, they create them. Wattpad utilizes the fan base when adapting stories for film. In an article for Quartz, Adam Epstein discusses Wattpad’s story-to-film process. The fans are integral to the adaptation process, with some “superfans” gaining access to the script to provide feedback before the film hits the box office. This process seems to work well. Epstein writes,

Most books come with a built-in audience, but this one comes with a built-in audience that’s also invested in the development process itself. It not only makes them more inclined to watch the show when it comes out, but leads them to become evangelists for the project on social media, which helps build buzz. 

Adam Epstein, Quartz

Wattpad is unique in that its user base not only reads and shapes the stories on its platform, but also the way the stories transition off the platform. 

Story DNA

According to Aron Levitz, the fans’ engagement is part of the “microtrend,” which allows Wattpad to know what will sell based on the size of the fanbase and reader engagement. Macrotrends are made possible by Story DNA. Story DNA is Wattpad’s deep-learning AI technology, which, according to Ashleigh Gardener, “deconstructs stories into their elemental features, such as sentence structure, word use, and grammar,” This gives Wattpad further insight into what makes a story popular outside of comments, likes, and shares. As a result, up-and-coming stories are given a greater chance at being discovered and transitioning off of Wattpad. The development of this technology is leading to a future of reading that is not just consumed by the reader but also formed by them.

Wattpad is unique in the fact that it is constantly reinventing itself to the benefit of its writers and readers. Wattpad has adapted from merely presenting stories to publishing them and promoting them outside of the digital platform. Wattpad not only publishes for fans but with the fans. The future of reading is driven by the reader, not the author or publisher. 

The Substack Doctors

Covid-19 brought an interesting issue to the surface. What happens when social media sites decide to censor information that they deem false? During the Covid-19 pandemic, many doctors were censored for opposing things such as lockdowns, vaccinations, and mandates. Doctors expressing unpopular opinions or differing data findings were promptly flagged, suspended, or banned. Because of this, many of the censored doctors fled to Substack to continue writing. 

What exactly is Substack?

Hamish McKenzieChris Best, and Jairaj Sethi created Substack in 2017. It is essentially a blog and email newsletter platform. Writers can decide whether to make their content accessible for free or with a paid subscription. Consumers are often able to access some of the content online for free, in blog format. Subscribers receive the content in their email inboxes. Writers that choose to utilize the subscription format pay a 10% fee to Substack. 

Misinformation Station?

Substack received an influx of users and a place in the spotlight in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Social media sites like Twitter censored many users for propagating “misinformation.” Some of the censored users were simply online personalities such as Joe Rogan, who is well known for his conspiracy theories and polarizing opinions. However, some of the censored users were doctors. Dr. Peter McCulloughDr. Joseph MercolaDr. Robert Malone, and Dr. Rashid Buttar are just a few of the censored doctors. 

For their remarks regarding the Covid-19 virus and frequently the MRNA vaccinations in particular, these censored physicians as well as numerous others faced harsh criticism. Much of their content is very controversial, hence becoming banned from social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

After becoming banned from social media platforms, many of these controversial doctors fled to Substack. Substack allowed them to continue expressing their findings and opinions freely. In turn, Substack received intense backlash for harboring doctors perceived by many as misleading frauds. 

Substack responded in an article written by founders Hamish McKenzieChris Best, and Jairaj Sethi titled “Society has a trust problem. More censorship will only make it worse.” The title of the article perfectly encapsulates the sentiments of the founders. They quote in the article, “we will always view censorship as a last resort because we believe open discourse is better for writers and better for society.” 

Rise of Subscriptions?

Those fleeing from social media censorship and Substack have formed a sort of symbiotic relationship. Many of the censored doctors are noted to have tens of thousands of Substack subscribers. Substack’s subscription model has proven very successful. Doctors choosing to write articles expressing opinions that are not politically accepted have grown a dedicated subscriber base. Many consumers appear interested in investigating the suppressed information.

The doctors voicing contentious Covid-19 results and opinions do not only attract a sizable subscriber base; they also represent one of Substack’s major revenue streams. According to the Center for Countering Digital Hate, Anti-vax content has supposedly brought in $2.5 million. While Substack takes their 10% cut, 90% of the revenue goes to the writer themselves.

Many social media sites are currently undergoing controversy due to their censorship, including that of the doctors. After Elon Musk purchased Twitter, he has been releasing information pertaining to the previous owners of Twitter’s suppression of information and collusion with the federal government. 

With many content producers such as doctors and now many consumers fleeing social media and flocking to Substack, does this indicate a rise of the subscription model? Social media has driven away many doctors rejecting censorship. However, as a consumer, utilizing Substack and subscribing to many different doctors is both tedious and impractical. Before the rise of social media, a subscription to a publication would allow access to the work of multiple different writers. Social media allows you to follow many different accounts without cost and to easily access them in the home feed. To keep up with these methods, Substack must become more practical.

A new tactic has already begun popping up. Some doctors are creating joint Substack accounts. Subscription to one Substack includes access to articles from multiple different writers. For example, Dr. Peter McCullough and John Leake have created a joint Substack called “Courageous Discourse.” The subscription includes articles from both writers pertaining to civil liberties and clinical science. This approach to Substack will likely grow in popularity, and as a consumer, it is certainly more convenient. 

Despite the controversy, Substack is only rising in popularity. Doctors are finding new ways to share information and utilize Substack’s subscription model. Substack’s rejection of censorship will continue to set it apart from other media platforms unless others begin to follow suit. Substack has created a reputation as a haven for free speech, for better or for worse. 

AI Writing Detectors Save the Day

Soon after the release of the new ChatGPT bot, Professor Darren Hicks caught two students in the act of AI-giarism. The term “AI-giarism” refers to the practice of presenting content written by artificial intelligence (AI) as your own. Hicks claimed that he became concerned when the student submitted an essay that was on subject but contained some well-written false information. He ran it through an AI detector, which determined that the piece was 99% likely produced by AI. As AI technology develops, this practice is becoming more and more common. As a result of situations like this with students, ChatGPT has caused controversy in academia. Fear not, several organizations have constructed AI writing detectors to weed out AI-giarism and save the day for teachers.

GPT-2 Output Detector 

The GPT-2 Output Detector is a tool created by OpenAI. Even though this software was created for the more outdated GPT-2 bot, it is still quite good at pointing out ChatGPT’s outputs. In fact, Darren Hicks used this software to confirm his suspicions. The detector will provide you with its conclusion a few seconds after you paste in the text you want to study. However, this program is more compatible with shorter literature that is less than 1,000 characters long. To ascertain whether a piece of writing was created by AI, this software delivers a proportion of a “real” to “fake” ratio. The only version of this tool that is accessible online is a demo, which is free. However, as ChatGPT develops further, this software will become much less useful.

Giant Language Model Test Room

The Harvard Natural Language Processing Group and the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab collaborated to create the Giant Language Model Test Room (GLTR). This software focuses on a piece of writing’s complexity, assessing how likely a word is to be used. If the term is among the top 10 most likely options, it will be highlighted in green. Yellow highlights the top 100 words likely to be used, while red underlines the top 1,000. A word that is more unlikely to be used than that is highlighted violet. The majority of words in most written works will be highlighted in green, but because human writings are a lot less predictable than AI texts, they will also frequently contain a lot of words that are yellow, red, and even violet. However, the online version of GLTR was created in 2019, making it less reliable with the advancement of current ChatGPT outputs. 

GPT Zero

Edward Tian, a senior at Princeton University, developed GPT Zero. The only model that is free online is an older beta model, although Tian has been working on a new model. GPT Zero measures the randomness in sentences and the randomness of the text as a whole. Human writing almost always contains more random content than text produced by AI because we tend to use words and sentence structures that are less predictable. As a result, an AI likely created the text if GPTZero detects low levels of randomness.

AI Writing Check

AI Writing Check is a completely free service created with educators in mind by two nonprofit organizations, and They created AI Writing Check to make it possible for teachers to determine whether a piece of writing submitted by a student was written by ChatGPT. It allows teachers (or anybody else) to copy and paste text and in a matter of seconds learn whether the material was created using ChatGPT. However, you must divide the content into distinct sections to check responses longer than 400 words. Based on testing with 15k essays, they believe this tool is 80–90% correct most of the time. Nevertheless, they have advised teachers to use caution while utilizing this tool to look for academic dishonesty because of potential errors. They have described AI Writing Check as a band-aid solution that teachers can employ this academic year until more sophisticated AI detection technologies become publicly accessible.

AI Text Classifier

AI Text Classifier was created by none other than the creators of ChatGPT. On January 31st, OpenAI launched AI Text Classifier, which is user-friendly while still maintaining accuracy. All you have to do is enter at least 1,000 characters (about 150–250 words) of text into the box and press the submit button. The paper is then marked as highly unlikely, unlikely, unclear if it was created by AI, probably, or likely by AI. Users receive $18.00 of credit as a sort of free trial, and it lasts for around four months before expiring. After that, you pay for what you use. Prices depend on how many “tokens” are used. Tokens can be compared to bits of text, with 1,000 tokens equaling roughly 750 words. There are numerous models offered, Davinci being the most powerful, and Ada the fastest. 

Application In the Classroom

Finding a detector for your classroom, or for anywhere else, might be a challenging choice with so many options available. Cost is a factor to be taken into consideration. Free software is still useful to some extent, but the best technology available will never be offered for free. Teachers must remember to exercise caution when using open-source software to uncover academic dishonesty because these programs are never entirely accurate. Regardless, these programs can be very helpful in catching an essay produced by an AI.

Writing Software: What Can it Do for Your Writing?

Ever try to construct an elaborate, Tolkien-style fantasy world, but got lost in the lore? Having trouble keeping your notes straight for constructed languages, or lost track of your character arcs? Or is your fiction novel proving difficult to organize? An author aid might be just the tool you need to keep track of your work as your writing your epic novel. While many come with a range of options for a hefty subscription, many have simpler versions that are entirely free. Here, we’ll break down several popular brands to find out which works best for you.


Dave Chesson, a publishing consultant, writes that Scrivener is the best non-fiction writing aid. Scrivener comes with premade templates, options for place and character sketches, a corkboard, formatting features for publishing, and the option to upload your own templates. Jill Duffy, writing in PCMag, gives a glowing review for scrivener as the best writing app for long projects.

Scrivener allows you to export versions of your work that change the formatting without changing the original text. Duffy notes that the key to mastering Scrivener and using it efficiently lies in hiding options that aren’t being used. Unlike many of the other subscription-based models, Scrivener comes with a one-time fee for continued use, making it ideal for people who don’t like to keep up with yearly or monthly subscriptions and plan to use it long-term. Duffy does note that for those who can’t master the myriad of options, Ulysses might be a better, more pared-down option.

World Anvil

Dave Chesson writes that World Anvil is great for the fantasy author designing complex constructed worlds. It has five different tiers with increasing benefits and storage, with the first tier free. World Anvil provides authors the means to collaborate with other authors, ways to link different ideas in their work, cork boards, and ways of keeping track of family trees and diplomatic connections.

Considering the bulk and complexity of worldbuilding that many fantasy authors find themselves creating, World Anvil may be a great choice for those crafting long complex epics, eliminating a lot of headaches. It is also compatible with Discord for fan outreach, allowing authors easy ways to give fans updates and market their work. The community aspect may be appealing to authors who enjoy sharing their work or have difficulty building a fan base. Shaelin Bishop, a writing Youtuber, describes how you can import and link maps and a host of other options, though notes it can get complicated for those with a more minimalist style.

Novel Factory

Bishop lists Novel Factory as a writing aid that will likely appeal to those who love outlining or who want to find help with their outlining process. Novel Factory has templates for multiple types of story outlines, though some story ordering aspects may seem a little arbitrary. It provides a step-by-step process for writing a novel while still providing flexibility. Ease of use may be an issue with limited text drafting space.

Plot Factory

Plot Factory has several similarities to Novel Factory. Yen Cabag at TKC writes that Plot Factory has multiple different templates for planning stories. You can create your own character templates or choose between two premade templates with varying degrees of detail. You can even import characters from other universes you’ve created. It makes scenes easy to rearrange with a drop and drag function, an especially attractive feature for non-linear story writers. It does have the limitation that there is no desktop app unlike many other versions, limiting accessibility for writers with spotty internet. Cabag also writes that it may be less useful for non-fiction writers and the multiple dashboards may be annoying to some.

Additional forms of Writing Software

In addition to the variety of options for novelists and content creators, there are writing aids geared to a range of other uses. For example, Jill Duffy writes that Final Draft provides professional screenwriters with prompts that help keep their work in conformance with industry standards.

Another example of writing software with specialized capabilities is MasterWriter. MasterWriter advertises a broad range of capabilities, but one prime feature is songwriting aid. MasterWriter’s website boasts a rhyming dictionary of over 100,000 entries and compatibility on all devices. They also list positive reviews from multiple grammy-winning songwriters.

Novels Made Easy

With the range of writing aid options, novelists and other writers no longer need stacks of note cards or files of character arcs cluttering up their desks or their Microsoft accounts. Writers can now organize their creative process more efficiently, allowing for fast formatting and organized note-keeping. Many writers who have stalled on complex writing projects in the past now have writing software that can make their work much less intimidating.

Ethics of Post-Publication Editing

In the digital media era, a new problem has arisen. Should pieces be edited post-publication? If so, in what situations? Amid the chaos of media distrust, misinformation, censoring, and “fake news,” questions of post-publication editing ethics have arisen. Editing published articles should be approached with transparency and caution as distrust in the media is rampant.

Digital Media Consumption

Digital media consumption has skyrocketed in recent years. In a Pew Research study conducted in 2016, only 38% of Americans reported often consuming news media digitally. In another Pew study conducted in 2022, 86% reported consuming news from a digital device. In the span of just six years, digital media consumers doubled. 

 Pew Research conducted another study, this time concerning Americans’ trust in the media in 2022. Findings revealed 61% of Americans trust national news sources and 31% trust social media. The usage of digital devices to consume media has increased yet trust in media sources is relatively low. In the same study, 64% of Americans noted that fabricated news stories or “fake news” creates confusion about the actual facts of an event. 

While post-publication editing is not the sole cause of Americans’ distrust in the news, it is likely a contributor. Before digital media production and consumption, undetected post-publication editing was impossible. Edits can be conducted digitally post-publication without the consumer’s knowledge. With the rise of digital media, distrust in the media and those who produce it has risen. Knowing this, writers and publishers should attempt to mitigate the growing distrust. 

Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)

Many journals have chosen to join the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) or similar organizations. COPE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting ethical publishing. COPE does not allow editing of articles post-publication without specific criteria followed.

“Any necessary changes will be accompanied with a post-publication notice which will be permanently linked to the original article so that readers will be fully informed of any necessary changes. This can be in the form of a correction notice, an expression of concern, a retraction and in rare circumstances a removal. The purpose of this mechanism of making changes which are permanent and transparent is to ensure the integrity of the scholarly record.”


However, most publications that are not peer-reviewed scholarly journals do not subscribe to any regulations for editing published material. Even if a publication does not wish to join a committee, the publication should introduce regulations on post-publication editing specific to them. With the increasing fear of misinformation, editing articles post-publication could be necessary in order to correct any realized mistakes. These mistakes should be corrected to protect the perceived accuracy of the publication. However, corrections should be rare, and the publication should be transparent about the edits.  

When should post-publication edits be conducted?

Sometimes the information within an article is false and either slipped through the cracks while undergoing editing, or the correct information was simply confused by the writer. For example, maybe the name of an individual referenced or discussed in the article was misspelled, or a date was incorrect. Perhaps, however, a larger mistake was made, with greater repercussions, like a statement made about the wrong company that could affect their business. 

In the first situation, it could be appropriate to simply change the spelling of the individual’s name. Most people would agree that in that case there is no need to make a public statement justifying the decision. However, with an incorrect piece of information with larger ramifications, it would be appropriate to notate the date of the edit and the information changed. 

Occasionally, another contributor to the published article will argue that they deserve recognition for their contributions to the piece of media. An author’s name may not appear on the piece, but they greatly assisted in writing it. In this case, it would not be inappropriate to properly recognize the article’s contributors. 

In extreme situations, an article may necessitate retraction. If the information is suspected to have been intentionally fabricated or misleading, the article may need to be removed. In this case, it would be appropriate to mark the article as having been retracted or as undergoing investigation. However, this should of course be reserved for extreme cases.


In a research article from “The International Journal of Press/Politics,” a statement was made regarding the importance of trust. “Trust can be understood as an asset on which news organizations capitalize to generate reputation and economic profit.” As we move to a digital world, retaining trust in the media is critical. Editing an article post-publication was unheard of before the current era of digital media. Print publications cannot simply press a button and delete or edit an article that has been released to the public. The ability to quickly edit with ease is both a blessing and a curse. While it may save a writer, editor, or publisher from a difficult situation, it also creates new problems as they navigate how and when to utilize that ability. Writers, editors, and publishers should do their best to maintain consumers’ trust as they utilize post-publication editing.

AI Writing, Self-Publishing, and the Culture of Instant Gratification

The digital age has ushered in a culture of instant gratification, where people expect to get what they want when they want it. This is especially true with the advent of AI writing and self-publication tools that make it easier than ever for anyone to become an author or content creator almost overnight. But while these new technologies have made creating and sharing content faster, there are some potential drawbacks as well.

The traditional process of publication is a lengthy one. The process from submission to publication can take an average of nine to eighteen months, or even upwards of two years. This time excludes the writing and editing process, which, depending on the book, can add months or years. In the age of instant everything, that is simply unacceptable.

Enter Self-Publication

Self-publication has gone through many evolutions in the digital age, with each iteration becoming more accessible to the public. Desktop Publishing, was introduced in the 1970’s with the adoption of word processing software. Though this form of self-publication was easily accessible by the masses, it was still costly. “Print on demand” revolutionized the self-publishing world. Publishers were no longer responsible for mass printing costs, inventory, and distribution, which further opened the world of self-publication to the public. The blog era allowed authors to reach the masses and publish their works via PDF, with even Stephen King joining in.

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing was introduced in 2007 to “democratize” the publishing industry. Amazon made it easier than ever to self-publish a book and offered authors 70% of royalties and has since grown to offer more incentives and opportunities to authors. In 2011, authors who gave full digital rights to Kindle were offered KDP Select. KDP Select members exclusively received a higher percentage of royalties and promotional tools.  Amazon expanded KDP again in 2016 to include print publishing and has added options for hardcover and lower-cost color printing in the following years. Amazon adapted to the bite-sized market and introduced Kindle Vella in 2021, allowing authors to publish “serial” style stories.

Self-publication and all of its advancements have reduced publishing time from a year and a half to five minutes. It makes sense that the writing process is next on the proverbial chopping block.

Instant Gratification and Independent Authors

In the age of instant gratification, authors are racing against the clock to produce content before readers move on to another writer. Jennifer Lepp, a self-published “cozy paranormal mystery” writer, gets about four months to produce a new work. That deadline is doable, barring any creative setbacks. When those setbacks do happen, it could be catastrophic for reader engagement. Enter AI, specifically Sudowrite in Lepp’s case. Sudowrite is an AI writing tool specifically geared to creative writers. Before we ask if we should use AI, we should understand what it is.

AI Writing

AI has gained increasing notoriety in the past few years by tackling everything from editing and proof-reading to content creation in a few minutes. Most AI geared towards writing has been trained with GPT-3, a program specializing in text completion. This AI program can “understand and generate natural language.” Proofreading, editing, and even writing can be given to most AI software with relative ease. In fact, the introduction paragraph to this article was written by Jasper, an AI program commonly used for text generation. AI is incredibly useful in writing shorter bits of text and it saves writers a ton of time, which is necessary in today’s fast-paced world that demands new content at all times.

The ethical question of AI writing

Just because something is useful does not mean it should be used. The ethical dilemma of AI writing is one that has hounded its users since its inception. In an interview with The Verge, Jennifer Lepp expanded on the ethical dilemma of using AI tools that the writing community is facing. Questions concerning authenticity and intellectual ownership are at the forefront of these debates.

Many authors fear that their work will no longer be original if they allow an AI to write for them. The Author’s Guild argues that human art and literature is advanced by individual experiences, and that AI works will stagnate without human input. AI learns from other people’s work on the internet and compiles that knowledge to generate new work. It could be argued that the writing is plagiarized because it is informed by other author’s works without giving them credit; however, every piece of media informs and is informed by other pieces of media. True originality is not possible, especially in a society that is so digitally connected.

Another concern with AI writing is ownership of the piece. Should the AI program be listed as the author? According to US copywrite laws, no, and others agree. The Alliance of Independent Authors added a new clause to their code of standards regarding AI. The code calls for the author to edit the generated text and ensure that it is not “discriminatory, libellous, an infringement of copyright or otherwise illegal or illicit.” The responsibility of legal compliancy falls on the author, not the AI.

Some writers fear that the AI will take over their writing. In a Plagiarism Today article, Jonathan Bailey goes as far as to say that writers are completely powerless when using an AI. Jennifer Lepp certainly experienced this power imbalance in her writing. She would give Sudowrite an outline, press expand, and keep feeding the algorithm until it spat out a finished product. This process led to a disconnect between herself and the stories she was creating. Now, Lepp offloads certain details to the AI, like the description for a hospital lobby. With her current system, she is still seeing an uptick in productivity while still being much more connected to her work.

The integration of AI is unavoidable if self-published authors are going to keep up with the demand of readers steeped in a culture of instant gratification. Though there should be self-imposed limits to the use of AI, authors should not avoid using it entirely. It is the responsibility of the author to inject the humanity into the writing.

Is Kitaboo the Right Fit for Your Business?

Kitaboo is an interactive eBook reader app as well as a publishing site. Whether you are a businessman needing a professional corporate memo or a teacher trying to create a curriculum you can publish and distribute your material through the Kitaboo Digital Publishing and Distribution Platform. Kitaboo markets itself as the best option for corporations, publishers, and institutions for their content delivery and distribution needs because of its user-friendly design, easy access to material, and individualized reading experience. In all reality though, what makes Kitaboo different from its competitors? What would make it more, or less, compatible with your business?

Positive aspects of Kitaboo

Digital Rights Management is one contribution Kitaboo makes that its competitors do not seem to have. They make sure that the content you upload on their site remains solely yours. Kitaboo allows you to digitize any print document and add multimedia to it, such as audio, video, and photographs. Even enhanced documents can be published onto many platforms (iOS, Android, Windows) and multiple devices (smartphones, tablets, and PCs). Kitaboo provides thorough analytics of your reader’s content consumption habits. Kitaboo offers tools for companies seeking to enhance their work and digital distribution, including small companies still figuring out their brands, and larger ones with slipping analytics.


A few of the players in this market include Joomag, Readz, Zmags, and Magloft. All share the same interactive features as Kitaboo except Magloft.  Zmags, on the other hand, caters specifically to magazines, giving them a much more specialized experience for those businesses as well as a smaller audience to work with. The small and agile team of Magloft, with only ten employees, may not be a suitable fit for larger companies. However, they are perfect for small publishers who want that hands-on experience.

Where Kitaboo and other services digitally distribute your work, Readz just gives you an easy experience in converting, editing, or enhancing your documents. For businesses that are well-known and don’t require assistance in reaching their audiences, this is a terrific resource. Joomag is the most similar to Kitaboo and therefore, one of their biggest competitors.

Price Difference

Pricing is the primary distinction between Kitaboo and Joomag. Joomag’s pricing structure and list of features for each plan are fairly rigid. You can upload PDF files, make links, and add images, sound, and even video to your digital magazine in the free edition. The Silver Plan, which costs $15.95 per month, comes with branding, selling memberships, and no ads. With the $39.95/month Gold Plan, readers may browse your magazines directly on mobile devices without the need for an app thanks to HTML5 for Mobile, Native iOS and Android Support, Native iPad Support, Multi-User Accounts, and other capabilities. The most expensive and complete option is the Platinum Plan, which incorporates CRM, mass mailing, and multi-branding services for $95.95/month. Kitaboo’s pricing requires an estimate that varies based on the project. You must get in touch with them to let them know what you need, and they will then create a proposal for you based on those needs. Depending on your perspective, the absence of upfront costs may be a disadvantage.

What To Choose

At the end of the day, each of these resources offers valuable opportunities for a business. Finding the right one comes down to what your business needs and can afford. With all of the options out there, finding one tailored to fit what you need is not a difficult task. However, there is no doubt that enhancing abilities and conversion to each format is crucial for digital publishing in general. There are various solutions available to you whether you need to simplify that for yourself or your staff. As far as digital distribution goes, Kitaboo, Joomag, Zmagz, and Magloft are all great resources. It truly depends on what fits your company best.

Writing News for Twitter

According to research conducted by Pew, 86% of U.S. adults report they get news from a smartphone, computer, or tablet “often” or “sometimes.” 60% report they “often” do so. One of the most common ways of consuming digital news, particularly with younger generations, is through social media. “Of Americans aged 18-29, 42% use social media as their primary source of news,” Pew says.

While all social media platforms are often utilized for news consumption, the practice of using specifically Twitter for this purpose is commonly known. “As of December 2022, Twitter’s audience accounted for over 368 million monthly active users worldwide.” Knowing this, how should writers adapt? To create consumable content, writers must move with the times, including creating news content for Twitter.

To write successful and consumable news on Twitter two things should be kept in mind: length and style.


While it may potentially be expanded, Twitter currently has a 280-character limit. Sentences must be concise and information-packed to fit within the character limit. Because of this, many writers and news sources have opted for a link to a full-length article with a short commentary or headline.

Another option is to utilize threads. Threads break up the content into bite-sized parts that are linked together in order to beat the character limit. While this is acceptable with a few tweets, it
quickly becomes tedious and confusing to read with a long thread. In such a situation, linking to the entire article would be preferable to slicing and dicing the material. Another option is to both link the full article and include a thread of Tweets.

Facebook notes how quickly readers scroll from one piece of content to the next. “In the News Feed on Facebook, we’re seeing people spend, on average, 1.7 seconds with a piece of content on mobile compared to 2.5 seconds on desktop. All writing must be incredibly succinct due to the ability to quickly scroll away from a piece of content and immediately consume fresh media. The shortening of attention spans calls for concise writing, especially online.


Former President Donald Trump is infamous for his questionable Tweets. Whether the information in the Tweets was accurate or not, the style of the Tweets was mostly to blame for the criticism he received. He utilized slang terms, overcapitalization, and over-punctuation. To retain credibility, these stylistic choices should be avoided.

The limited length calls for snappy concise Tweets. Information should be succinct and eye-catching but avoid becoming sensational. If posting a summary or headline along with a link to the entire piece, the headline should be strong without sacrificing any formality. It can be tempting to include flame or siren emojis to attract attention, but this exaggerated choice may not be the best for prefacing a news article.

When using a thread, the opening tweet should have the greatest impact. The initial tweet in the thread will receive the most attention and, if written correctly, may entice people to read the rest of the thread.

Images of tables or graphs or polls can be utilized to increase engagement. Using hashtags associates the tweet with others with the same hashtag, potentially increasing traffic.

Personal Accounts

Writing choices made on an official news company account, such as @CNN, could be different than those made on the personal account of a writer or journalist. Many writers utilize their personal accounts to share news as well. Retweeting and quote-tweeting are commonly used by writers on their personal accounts, as well as pointed political statements about current events. While potentially inappropriate on a company page, these tactics could be acceptable and effective on a personal page.

Twitter Controversy

Twitter has recently undergone a change in command, after being purchased by Elon Musk last year. Musk has altered and experimented with Twitter’s components, receiving both support and backlash.

One of the major changes is the introduction of Twitter Blue. Instead of receiving the blue checkmark as a verified account, the checkmark is received with the purchase of a Twitter subscription.

Another controversial decision by Musk was the reinstatement of previously restricted or suspended accounts. Many of these accounts were restricted due to being labeled as “fake news” or “misinformation.”

Because of the leadership changes and evolving aspects of Twitter, writers utilizing it should stay informed on its developments. Writing tactics and stylistic choices that may work now may not in the future. Just as writers have had to adapt to digital writing, they will have to adapt to follow the ever-evolving world of social media.

in News | 748 Words

Paraphrasing Tools: Capabilities and Drawbacks

The wide availability of AI summarization and paraphrasing tools allows writers to automate previously tedious processes with the click of a button. Many have free options with more available features for those who pay for subscriptions. Now, writers can rewrite or summarize their text with minimal effort and allow readers to break long texts into easily read summaries.

Popular Paraphrasers

Popular paraphrasing tools boast slightly different capabilities. Quillbot comes with two different modes. One mode extracts key sentences and puts them into bullet points, the other mode rewrites sentences as complete paragraphs. Users also have the option to choose how long the summary is when length or brevity are issues, an attractive feature for writers working with strict word counts.

Wordtune Read advertises its software as a key tool for avoiding overload by simplifying text into its core components, saving readers time. Wordtune’s site offers services including summarization of online articles, PDFs, and even online videos. Wordtune Read advertises that their AI software can create summaries from multiple points of view depending on which you subscribe to.

Mass access to different, tailored versions of the same text has fascinating implications for how people digest political and social commentary in a polarized society. It also lets writers recreate their content with multiple different versions highlighting various social perspectives, allowing them to pitch their work to a broad range of platforms. With summarization and paraphrasing tools widely available, many readers can access dense texts or create a more tailored reading experience, allowing for much broader accessibility of written works to the average reader. can paraphrase in over twenty different languages including Spanish and German. It touts its ability to improve readability and fluency, key advantages for second-language speakers wanting to ensure their work is professional and grammatically correct. It may also encourage broader access to complex or obscure works in languages readers have only basic proficiency in, or for younger readers who do not have the necessary proficiency in their native language to understand more advanced works.

Performance Issues

But as impressive as the claims for AI summarizing features sound, how well do they actually perform? Summarizing tools still struggle to comprehend the meaning of a text. Sometimes the length of the summary needs to be tweaked to eliminate nonsensical summaries. “It is a well-known fact that existing abstractive text summarization models tend to generate false information”. While simply rephrasing text is less challenging for summarization tools, more expansive rewrites risk errors. Summarizing tools still struggle to comprehend the full meaning of text even if they are useful for supplying quick synonyms or alterations. While paraphrasing tools can greatly speed the rewriting process human inspection of summarized or paraphrased works is still essential to maintain accuracy.

Implications for Academia

Wide access to easy summarization has interesting implications for academia. states that their software prevents plagiarism when used appropriately: “our tool provides plagiarism-free content while keeping the original meaning of the context. Our paraphrasing tool helps users to rephrase text and avoid plagiarism”.

However, others differ in their views on paraphrasing software. Writing about plagiarism detection for summarized work, Enago Academy takes the stance that “there is no comparable mechanism that can detect the usage of a paraphrasing tool if the reader suspects the writing is not original and the source material is not cited.” This makes it difficult to determine whether a student wrote a unique essay or put an existing one through paraphrasing software, creating works that are immune to normal plagiarism checkers.

It is also debatable whether students who choose to paraphrase their own writing are plagiarizing by letting a paraphrasing tool rewrite their papers. Enago argues that “the use of a paraphrasing tool means that the writing is not truly original or attributable to the author. This becomes a gray area and a new frontier of plagiarism for which the handbooks must be revised.” Considering how difficult it is to spot the effects of summarization software, schools may have difficulty relying on papers as proof of academic proficiency or may need to create new methods for detecting paraphrased work. Are summarization and paraphrasing tools necessary assets that students entering the modern workplace need to master, or do they allow students to make passing papers without demonstrating proper writing ability?

While they are not without bugs, summarization tools give writers and readers the ability to cater to shrinking attention spans, form unique word choices, and adapt content to widely differing audiences. Summarization tools may also require academia to adapt as well and create new criteria by which academic rewriting is assessed and judged.