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Self-publishing News: ChatGPT To Launch Premium Service As Microsoft Set To Invest $10bn In Its Parent OpenAI

Self-publishing News: ChatGPT to Launch Premium Service as Microsoft Set to Invest $10bn in its Parent OpenAI

In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway takes a look at ChatGPT's new premium service.

Dan Holloway head and shoulders

ALLi's News Editor Dan Holloway

In this month's podcast, Howard and I will be dedicating the whole show to the latest developments in AI. We'll be talking everything from Apple and Google's AI narration, through Midjourney and AI art to what ChatGPT and similar tools mean for us as writers. We'll also be talking about our own experiences of using these tools.

ChatGPT to Launch Premium Paid Service while Microsoft will Invest $10bn in OpenAI

It will be interesting to see how often AI isn’t producing a major news story over the coming months. There’s certainly little sign of it happening any time soon. The big story this week again focuses on ChatGPT, the AI chatbot from Open AI.

ChatGPT, which Howard and I are talking about at great length in this month’s podcast, already has 1 million users. That’s within weeks of launching. It’s a staggering rate of uptake. I know many writers take the approach to AI and other technology of, “Why should I care?” And I hope figures like this show that whatever we do or don’t do with AI, we do need to know something about it. 

I realise that one of the reasons (aside from being busy with writing. And life!) people don’t spend much time thinking about new technology is that we’ve all been here before. Think blockchain. Or enhanced ebooks. There’s only so many times we can hear, “this is different” and still have anything but disdain for the person saying it. But the ability of AI to create things people really enjoy might just be the exception.

Open AI has just announced that it will soon be launching, initially in beta, a premium version of ChatGPT. It will have all the limits removed, and you can sign up for the waitlist here. As yet, there are no specifics on pricing. But successful applicants for the beta stage will be contacted to discuss details.

Billion dollar valuations

This comes as Microsoft looks to be on the verge of investing $10bn in Open AI. The investment will value OpenAI at an eye-watering $29bn. That gives some idea just how big people expect this to become. It also means many writers out there who have decided to have nothing to do with AI will change tack by default. As part of its investment, Microsoft will be looking to embed the AI behind ChatGPT in its Office software. Things have come a long way since the animated paperclip!

OpenAI is not the only AI company to get an eye-watering valuation. DeepL has also just received investment that values it over $1bn. The company provides translation services. What I found notable was the response of its founder, CEO Jaroslaw Kutylowski, to the investment. He notes that in the past year, AI has gone from being a novelty to an everyday tool. That's something I've noticed too. And it's both the effect and cause of AI seemingly cropping up everywhere.

Audiobooks Continue Growth as Storytel Slows in Nordic Markets but Grows Elsewhere

I feel a whiff of nostalgia returning to some stories about audiobooks. It seems only yesterday that this was the cutting edge news. Mark Williams has a really fascinating deep dive this week into Storytel’s progress under new CEO Johannes Larcher. While the company’s growth in the Nordic markets has slowed almost to a halt, Williams sees overall positive signs. The figures outside the Nordic markets in Storytel’s latest press release show a much more healthy growth rate. Paying subscribers were up almost 20% to over 900,000. And the overall revenue Storytel brought in was up nearly two-thirds. It is clearly having to rethink its future but remains an interesting player in the audio market.

Meanwhile, Publishing Perspectives has a really encouraging story on the growth of audiobooks in Spanish language markets. Spanish language markets (in Spain, Latin America, and the USA) account for half a million paying subscribers. That is a fast-growing number, thanks to the arrival of big platforms like Audible. But it is just 0.1% of the global population for whom Spanish is their first language. That shows how much potential there remains in the market, which currently offers a rapidly growing but still small-sounding 20,000 audio titles. Alongside these is an also blooming Spanish podcast market. Given the tiny number of titles relative to the potential books that could be made into audio, the article brings us full circle by noting that AI-generated narration is an obvious way to start filling the gap and serving this growing market.

New UK Prize Open to Indie Authors

It’s always great to be able to promote a new prize. I was particularly interested in this one because not only did the email say great things about ALLi, clearly suggesting they really want ALLi members to enter. But also because a look around the Watson, Little website told me they started life in 1971 – which I consider to be a most excellent recommendation!

The prize, which is run in conjunction with Indie Novella, is open to any unpublished UK residents over 16. Authors who have self-published are eligible. This is something I have mixed feelings about, but it means that many ALLi members will be eligible in this instance. Prizes seem to be “in kind.” That is, they consist of detailed manuscript reports, inclusion in an anthology, and Watson, Little get first option on representing your work. That work is a 5000 word opening to what should be a finished novel in one of the three areas of community, climate, or crime.

Our Campaigns Manager Melissa Addey comments: I always find it interesting when ‘unpublished' means self-published indies can enter. I'm glad we can enter, of course. But it seems almost unfair: does that mean a first-time writer of a crime novel could have their unpublished manuscript up against a vastly experienced and massively successful indie author like LJ Ross? Anyway, a door ajar is a starting point and I hope ALLi members will enter and win!

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Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40

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