🦉 Issue #33: There's No Going Back

2023 will be the final year humanity created without artificial intelligence.

It’s really hard to keep up with all of this. Seriously. On the day I drafted this issue, Spotify announced AI-narration audiobook distribution and Google announced Gemini.

But you’re not here for breaking news and I don’t chase it. I prefer to let the stories marinade until I have time to decide how I feel about them.

I’ll admit, I’m not sure exactly how I feel about the stories I’ve shared this week. Do I want to live in a world where everything I see, hear, and read will have been touched by AI? Spoiler: I don’t have a choice. Neither do you.

And so I’m doing the only thing I can—try to help you figure out where you fit in all of this. In 2024, my focus will be on education in the form of self-paced online courses and small learning cohorts (masterminds). I know I’m good at this shit, and I also know this is what creative professionals need right now.

👇 Here’s where I’m starting. I will share more as we move into the new year.

✨ Personal Update

I’m having a hard time shedding the old rules of publishing. If you don’t know what they are, don’t worry. It doesn’t matter because they no longer apply.

But if you’ve been chasing “trad pub” or been on the indie “rapid release” treadmill, it’s time to stop.

Nobody knows where we’ll end up. Myself included.

So I’m doing something I’ve always loved doing—breaking the rules. That means I’m only writing shit that gets me excited. I’m done chasing agents, trends, and tropes.

Oh, and I’m turning myself into a middle-aged comic book super hero. Well, because I can. Here’s a little tease. More on this in upcoming issues…

📖 Narrative Innovation: Spotify and Google Play's Digital Voices Transform Audiobooks


The audiobook landscape is buzzing with the latest move by Findaway Voices by Spotify. They've started accepting digitally narrated audiobooks from Google Play Books, aiming to distribute them to various retail partners. This is a big leap in the audiobook world, offering more stories to listeners and a broader platform for authors.

My Take

As much as I want to be optimistic about Spotify's new venture into distributing audiobooks with digital narration, I can't help but feel it's a classic case of prioritizing immediate benefits over long-term value. Don't get me wrong, it's a brilliant move for Spotify, undoubtedly giving them an edge in the market.

However, the real backbone of Spotify's success, the creators, seem to be getting the short end of the stick (see royalty distribution to musicians). My gut tells me we're headed towards a race to the bottom in a subscription model world that devalues content by platforms that exploit the people creating it.

🎸 Rock Meets Virtual: KISS Embraces Digital Age with Avatars


KISS, at their final concert in New York, announced a revolutionary transition into a digital era. Vocalist Paul Stanley revealed their shift to digital avatars, created in partnership with George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic and Sweden's Pophouse Entertainment Group. KISS, now as high-tech avatars, can perform simultaneously across different continents, redefining the limits of live music and securing their legacy as an iconic band.

My Take

Watching digital avatars perform live? Not interested. The whole "Ready, Player One" vibe is often romanticized, but let's not forget, it's a dystopian tale.

However, hats off to KISS. They've always been ahead of the curve, embracing tech and innovative marketing since the 70s. What they're doing now might seem outlandish, but it's a strategic step into the new era. Concerts in the metaverse are totally lame, but I can't help but admire KISS for their relentless pursuit of the next big thing.

🎯 Prompt of the Week

🤖 AI Ascendant: The Rise of Machine-Made Masterpieces


There is a shift in content creation preferences towards AI-generated material, a growing acceptance of AI in creative fields, challenging the notion that AI can't replace human writers. This evolution suggests a future where content's origin (human or machine) becomes less relevant.

My Take

The debate about AI-generated content, like that from ChatGPT, has been turned on its head. It's clear now: the distinction between human and machine-made content is blurring, and frankly, most people won't care who or what created it.

This isn't about good or bad; it's about the inevitable shift in content creation. The real winners? Those who master both their craft and AI tools. If you're worried about AI-rejected creations, don't be. Worry instead about those creators who are adept at both their art and navigating AI's possibilities.

🌐 Virtual Deception: The Unseen Impact of AI on Internet Authenticity


Ethan Mollick highlights a significant shift in digital content due to AI. A Google search result for Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, known for "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," now features an AI-generated image from Reddit. This development underlines the increasing difficulty in distinguishing real from fake online content, as even watermarks are no longer reliable. The impact of AI extends beyond images to text analysis, affecting social and political research, legal document assessment, and online opinion tracking. The corpus of human knowledge post-mid-2023 must be treated differently due to AI’s pervasive influence.

My Take

We're hitting a pivotal moment where AI-assisted content becomes a norm. This isn't about judgment; it's about acknowledging a fundamental shift. The role of search engines is in question, as they're not the creators of content. The lines are blurring, and the traditional ways of evaluating images and text are becoming obsolete.

🗺️ Content Marketing with ChatGPT: The Definitive Content Creation Blueprint

☝ This is 100% free!

After publishing 8 books about using generative AI as a creative professional, I’m focusing on educational outreach in Q1 and Q2 of 2024. Therefore, I’m giving away my most comprehensive and complete content marketing blueprint.

If you’re the DIY-type, this will be all you need. You’ll also get every prompt in the book in a Google Doc for easy copy/pasting.

If you’d like a little more guidance from an online self-paced course, or if you’d like to join a small mastermind group to up your content marketing game, I’m offering both of those as a paid service.

👩‍💻 Dating in 2083 with Elle Cordova

While you’re waiting for Elle to post the next episode of Virtual Assistants…

You can support Elle Cordova on Patreon.

Check it out! 👇

✨ J. Thorn Public Appearances

If you’re interested in hearing me speak, present, or pontificate on a panel, check out my speaking schedule.

Note: ”Upcoming” gigs are linked to the event site, while “Past” gigs are linked to replays, where available.


✅ Author Alchemy Summit ('24) February 22-25, 2024 - Portland, Oregon

✅ South by Southwest ('24), March 8-16, 2024 - Austin, Texas

✅ Idaho Writers Conference ('24) April 11-13, 2024 - Boise, Idaho

✅ Author Nation Live ('24) November 11-15, 2024 - Las Vegas, Nevada


✅ Creator Economy Expo ('23), Cleveland, Ohio

✅ NFT-NYC ('23), New York, New York

✅ StokerCon (‘23) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

✅ Cincinnati AI for Humans (October 2023) Cincinnati, Ohio

✅ Fiction Marketing Academy Summit (October 2023) Online

✅ 20Books Vegas ('23) Las Vegas, Nevada

😜 MemeMe

🌐 Rando Disco

Random images from the Midjourney Discord server.

"You can't handle the truth!" No, I can. For real.

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This issue may contain affiliate links that might get you a discount. If you buy something, I get a small % from the seller at no cost to you.

Nothing in this newsletter should be considered financial, medical, marital, or advice of any kind. But we can still be friends.I can feel it coming in the air tonight.