Navigating the AI Landscape in Book Publishing: What I Learned at a Recent Conference

I recently attended an eye-opening conference on Artificial Intelligence: Revolution and Opportunity in Trade Publishing hosted by Publishers Weekly. I was grateful to be one of the speakers and excited to meet other like-minded folks in book publishing. As someone passionate about how artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the world of books, it was incredible to learn from other forward-thinking industry folks. Organizers and hosts were Thad McIlroy and Peter Brantley, who did an excellent job curating topics and speakers that were interesting and exciting. Here are some of my key takeaways from the insightful sessions:

Keep an Open Mind 
The importance of maintaining a curious, experimental mentality around AI came up repeatedly. Instead of viewing AI as a replacement, speakers encouraged seeing it as a collaborator - a supplemental aid that can uniquely enhance human creativity. It’s all about staying open and trying new approaches.

AI is Already in Our Everyday Toolkit
Turns out I regularly use AI without even thinking about it! Tools like Claude, ChatGPT,, Grammarly, Canva, and more help me work smarter and faster daily. My favorite daily tools. While some AI feels futuristic, much of it is practical magic we can harness. Many speakers said they are already using AI daily for creating content. 

The Challenges: Time and Temptation 
Testing new tools takes time - a scarce resource. Yet, we need to find time for experimentation. Resigning to the attitude that we are already busy enough will not work, as AI is coming regardless of our readiness. On the other hand, the ease of generating content with AI brings the temptation to spam or disseminate misinformation without fact-checking. We must vigilantly avoid these pitfalls as responsible professionals.  

Make AI Accessible for All 
AI knowledge shouldn't be siloed with tech teams. We should democratize access within publishing so everyone in every department can apply AI meaningfully. I love the idea of different departments hosting weekly AI discussions to learn from each other.

AI Fuels Content Creation
People were eager to hear how I and others use AI daily to aid with content creation. There were many ideas, from optimizing and customizing press materials to generating ad copy, Q&As, and book group guides; the possibilities are endless! One idea that has been very effective for me is rewriting descriptive copy based on readers' reviews. 

Exciting Emerging AI Tools
Beyond my go-to tools, I also use innovative tools like Merlin,, Lumen5,, and more tailored for marketing. I'm eagerly exploring these to enrich our projects. I even created free Apps for coming up with an elevator pitch for fiction and non-fiction books. Try it! It’s fun. 

The AI landscape is both revolutionary and full of opportunity. My biggest takeaway is maintaining an open, responsible, and innovative mindset as we integrate AI into the future of publishing. I can hardly wait to see how we use these tools to enhance our creativity.