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AI for Editors Blog

Education, News & Resources about
Artificial Intelligence in Editing

Picture this: You’re sitting at your desk, polishing pages of text with only a few keystrokes. With each tap of your fingertips, sentences tighten, grammar errors vanish, and punctuation falls perfectly into place. By the time you reach the bottom of your first cup of coffee, you've finished a project that once would've taken all morning.

This isn’t science fiction. It’s what work can be like right now when you know how to use AI tools like ChatGPT and Claude. This technology is an evolution in how editors work—like the shift from editing using pen and paper to the word processor. Editors who lean into the AI revolution will be able to edit faster and better (yes, better) plus have job security in an increasingly AI-enhanced workforce.

If you haven’t started exploring AI, the time is now. Go ahead and dive in. Here are six essential tips to help you get started.

Editing Beyond the Red Pen: A Beginner's Guide to AI. Image shows a futuristic red pen.


1. Be Specific

The number one idea to keep in mind about AI is this:

AI does what you tell it to do, not necessarily what you want it to do.

Clarity is key. Provide the AI with specific instructions so you get the results you want. Instead of prompting it vaguely to “Edit this,” instruct it to “Copyedit this corporate report to improve clarity and to correct errors of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Follow Associated Press style.”

For editing and writing tasks, consider including the following elements to make your prompts specific:

Task (copyedit, rewrite)

Format (blog post, checklist, email)

Audience (grade level, profession)

Tone (casual, friendly, professional)

Example: Instead of "Improve this web page text," try "Please revise this web page text by improving SEO, incorporating keywords related to urban chicken keeping, and making the language suitable for a general audience with a seventh-grade reading level."

2. Ask Follow-Up Prompts

Think of the initial response ChatGPT or Claude gives you as the first draft of a work in progress. To help it revise, use follow-up prompts. These are instructions you send after your first prompt that allow you to tailor the AI's output to your specific requirements.

Often, follow-up prompts include more details about the format, audience, and tone.

Example: After receiving the AI’s initial edit, you might realize the tone isn't quite right for the target audience. To refine the text, you could use a follow-up prompt like "Please rewrite this to have a more conversational tone."


3. Think Shorter

Many popular AI tools don’t yet have the capability to reliably work with large pieces of text. You can technically upload a 100-page document, but it can’t give you a thorough and quality analysis of it yet.

When content editing, think at the level of chapter and article. When copyediting, think about page and paragraph. This method of chunking content helps tools like ChatGPT to give you focused and precise results.

Know more capability is coming. Learn these techniques now, and you’ll be ready when it’s here.

Example: Instead of uploading the entire manuscript of a novel and asking for a developmental edit, paste a section from a chapter and use a prompt, such as, “Here is the opening of the novel’s chapter 7. Please suggest improvements to better incorporate the setting into the scene.”


4. Consider the Whole Workflow

To make the most out of AI in editing, consider how you can use it throughout your entire editorial workflow, not just with the actual editing part. As you go about your daily work, ask yourself: How can AI save me time?

Here are some other ways to incorporate AI:

Drafting Emails: Quickly generate professional and well-structured emails. Have it make templates for routine emails (like proposal submissions and testimonial requests) and help you find the right words when you have to send awkward and tricky emails (like late-payment requests).

Creating Marketing Material: From catchy taglines to compelling copy, ChatGPT and Claude can help you brainstorm and craft marketing content. To be really efficient, think how you can use AI to repurpose content. Within minutes, it can write the first draft of a blog post and then convert it into a promotional email and social media posts. Now that it has a built-in image generator, it can even create an image to go along with the text.

Researching and Fact-Checking: Perplexity is an AI-powered search engine that's like the Google we always wanted. Enter a simple search query, and it quickly composes an encyclopedic summary entry on the topic and cites its sources so you can double-check. Rather than scrolling through pages of unusable links, Perplexity gives you high-quality sources you can trust, making your researching and fact-checking a breeze.

Making Custom Word Macros: ChatGPT can build macros for Microsoft Word that you can use with every project or specific, single-use macros that will save you time with one project.


5. Invest in ChatGPT's Paid Version

The editors who dismiss ChatGPT’s capabilities often have not experimented with the paid version. The free version can give you only a fraction of a glimpse into what the paid version can do. It’s like comparing a rowboat with a rocket ship.

The paid version offers quicker response times, vastly improved output, increased accuracy, and priority access to new features. ChatGPT can save you days of work every month and is worth the monthly $20 subscription. You can register for a paid plan here:


6. You Still Have to Do Your Job

AI is not a replacement for human editors. Editors bring a depth of understanding, emotional intelligence, and cultural awareness that AI cannot replicate. It can conduct basic editing with accuracy and offer helpful content-editing suggestions, but it can't fully grasp the nuance or make the context-specific judgment calls that professional editors can. And, just like human editors, it sometimes makes mistakes.


Using these skills will allow AI to augment your capabilities. This will free up time so you can focus on the parts of editing that require your unique human skills. Remember, AI is a powerful tool, but the true artistry of editing still lies in the hands of skilled editorial professionals, human ones.


Erin Servais is a white woman with long, brown hair. She wears glasses. She is wearing a blue suit.

Erin Servais helps editors upskill through AI. Her AI for Editors course is known worldwide as the #1 AI course for editors of all types, including medical editors, finance editors, education editors, corporate communications editors, and book editors.

Erin serves on the board of directors for ACES: The Society for Editing and has presented about editing, entrepreneurship, and Artificial Intelligence for the Professional Editors Network, Editors Canada, the Northwest Editors Guild, the Editorial Freelancers Association, and ACES.

A version of this article first appeared in the Editorial Freelancers Association's newsletter, where Erin is writing a series about AI and editing.


There's been a lot of focus on how ChatGPT, Claude, and similar AI tools can help copyeditors. But, AI can help author coaches be better and faster at your jobs, too. Author coaches can use AI to guide writers at all stages drafting, especially when tapping into AI's analytical capabilities to quickly provide tailored feedback. In this article, we'll examine how AI tools can help author coaches.

ChatGPT Tips for Author Coaches. Image of a retro futuristic computer.

Why Author Coaches Should Use AI

AI tools like ChatGPT offer several advantages for writing coaches. Here are a few:

  • Efficiency: AI can quickly process and analyze text, saving time and allowing coaches to focus on more of the human-centric aspects of coaching, such as the encouragement and accountability writers get in your face-to-face meetings. AI's swiftness is particularly beneficial in the early stages of manuscript development, where quick, high-level feedback is crucial. This speed allows you to prioritize your time on personalized advice and in-depth analysis.

  • Consistency: ChatGPT provides consistent and unbiased analysis, ensuring a standardized approach to manuscript evaluation and an objective foundation for further coaching.

  • Customization: AI tools can be tailored to specific genres and writing styles, allowing them to offer personalized feedback and suggestions you can use right away. This adaptability is key in addressing the unique needs of each manuscript and author; it allows for nuanced feedback that respects each writer's individual voice and style.

Six Ways Author Coaches Can Incorporate AI

How can author coaches use AI? Here are six ways AI can help you be better and faster at what you do. (Note: I focus on ChatGPT, but you can use these same strategies in Claude.)

1. Summaries

Ask ChatGPT to summarize text and it can do your first read-through for you. Knowing what the content is about before you dive in can help you have a more strategic review and then more focused and effective coaching sessions with the author.

Fiction Example: ChatGPT can provide a summary of a novel's plot, character development, and themes, helping you to quickly grasp the narrative's core elements.

Nonfiction Example: For a biography, ChatGPT can outline key life events and themes, preparing you for a deeper dive into the manuscript's structure and content.

2. Strengths and Weaknesses

ChatGPT can give you a breakdown of the writing's strengths and weaknesses so you have a heads-up about areas of focus before you start. Using AI for general content analysis can streamline the review process, enabling author coaches to quickly pinpoint aspects of the writing that need the most attention.

Fiction Example: In a fantasy novel, ChatGPT might identify strengths like compelling character arcs and imaginative worldbuilding, while noting weaknesses like a lagging pace.

Nonfiction Example: In a business book, ChatGPT can highlight strengths like clear explanations but point out weaknesses like lack of real-world examples.

3. Focused Analysis

ChatGPT can provide feedback about specific areas of writing and help guide your advice to authors. For fiction, think dialogue, setting, mood, POV. For nonfiction, think tone, audience targeting, message effectiveness.

Fiction Example: ChatGPT can analyze a romance novel’s dialogue and suggest changes that could enhance emotional depth.

Nonfiction Example: For a self-help book, ChatGPT can evaluate the effectiveness of motivational strategies and offer improvements.

4. Idea Generation

One of my favorite ways to use ChatGPT is for idea generation. It can quickly generate intriguing options for narrative direction that perhaps you never would have thought of. For fiction book coaches, ChatGPT can help you brainstorm suggestions about character backstories, plot twists, what should happen in the next chapter, and more. For nonfiction experts, it can pinpoint subtopics, arguments, and angles to explore.

Fiction Example: ChatGPT can suggest plot twists for a mystery novel, enhancing suspense and reader engagement.

Nonfiction Example: For a historical analysis, it can propose unexplored angles or new perspectives on events.

5. Outlining

Author coaches can use AI tools early in the process to help form a book's structure and format, resulting in a cohesive and well-organized manuscript, which is essential for both fiction and nonfiction works. For nonfiction coaches, it can assist in creating detailed outlines, helping to organize ideas and establish a clear roadmap for the draft. For fiction coaches, it can help map the author's ideas onto a traditional plot structure, such as the Seven-Point Story Structure or Hero's Journey.

Fiction Example: ChatGPT can match a slow-burning suspense book's outline to a five-act structure.

Nonfiction Example: For an academic text, it can help organize chapters and sections for logical flow and clarity.

6. Goal-Setting & Timelines

ChatGPT help with the non-writing parts of drafting, such as project management for the writer. It can set realistic goals based on the author's genre, desired book length, and writing speed and propose a timeline with appropriate, attainable milestones, ensuring a structured approach to manuscript completion.

Fiction Example: ChatGPT can help establish a writing schedule for completing a historical romance novel, considering factors like research and revision time.

Nonfiction Example: For a cookbook, it can set milestones for recipe testing, writing, and photography.

If you're an author coach, book coach, or writing coach, the capabilities of ChatGPT, Claude, and similar AI tools can significantly add to your coaching toolkit, making the manuscript development process more efficient and insightful. By embracing these AI tools, coaches can provide more comprehensive and effective guidance to authors.

Curious to Learn More ChatGPT Tips for Author Coaches?

In ChatGPT for Editors, I have an entire lesson about how to use AI for content editing. When you enroll in the course, you'll learn these strategies and other tips you can use right away.

Erin Servais wearing a blue suit and cat-eye glasses. She is a white woman with brown hair.

Erin Servais helps editors upskill through AI. Her ChatGPT for Editors course is known worldwide at the #1 AI course for editors of all types, including medical editors, finance editors, education editors, corporate communications editors, and book editors.

Erin serves on the board of directors for ACES: The Society for Editing and has presented about editing, entrepreneurship, and Artificial Intelligence for the Professional Editors Network, Editors Canada, the Northwest Editors Guild, and ACES.

Email Erin:

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

I used to say, “ChatGPT is not a fact-checker.” Period. Full stop. But not anymore. ChatGPT now has the capability to cite its sources and browse the live web so it can use current information that you can verify. Plus, it can gather the information you need—and only the information you need—which will save you heaps of time tracking down sources one by one.

This article demonstrates how to use ChatGPT for research and fact-checking and explores Perplexity AI, another highly useful AI tool for research.

Testing ChatGPT for Fact-Checking

To test ChatGPT’s research capabilities, I prompted it to give information about Ada Lovelace, an early pioneer of computer science. Remembering ChatGPT works best when given specific instructions, I wrote this prompt:

Please provide a two-paragraph biography of Ada Lovelace with citations in the text. Ensure sources and information are reputable, current, and accurate. Include Encyclopedia Britannica as a source. Do not use Wikipedia.

The reason I instructed it to use Encyclopedia Britannica as a source is because I’ve been waiting for ChatGPT to specifically be able to access Encyclopedia Britannica as a benchmark of its ability to seek out factual, quality, trustworthy information. Similarly, I asked it to avoid using Wikipedia to test this same ability but through eschewing less-reliable sources.

The Result

ChatGPT supplied the two-paragraph bio, as requested, with sources cited in the text, shown through superscript numbers. The sources it cited included Encyclopedia Britannica, Biography, the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, and ThoughtCo. As requested, it did not use Wikipedia. I checked all of the links, and they were all valid and current.

Here’s a video showing the process and result.

Here’s a screenshot of the ChatGPT-created bio.

Ada Lovelace, born Augusta Ada Byron on December 10, 1815, in Middlesex (now part of London), England, was the only legitimate child of the renowned poet Lord Byron and Annabella Milbanke Byron. From a young age, Ada showed a profound aptitude for mathematics, a path encouraged by her mother to steer her away from her father's "dangerous" poetic disposition. Her mother, Annabella, emphasized the study of music, French, and mathematics in Ada's education. At the age of 17, Ada's life took a decisive turn when she met the inventor Charles Babbage in 1833, with whom she began a substantial correspondence on mathematics, logic, and various subjects​1​​2​​3​.  Lovelace is celebrated as the world's first computer programmer due to her work on Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. In 1843, she developed a program for the Analytical Engine, demonstrating that it could be used not only for calculations but also to create any content, including music or art, given the right inputs and algorithm. This insight laid the foundation for the field of computer programming. Furthermore, Ada Lovelace's contributions extend to the concept of an operating system or software, embodying the idea that a computing machine could execute a program from a set of instructions. Her legacy continues to inspire, with Ada Lovelace Day, celebrated on the second Tuesday of October, recognizing the significant contributions of women in science and technology​4​​5​​6​.

Did ChatGPT work perfectly every time? No. When I prompted it to provide full citations and links to the sources it used, it included dead links and struggled to follow the requested style. Before I specifically selected the “Browse with Bing” option in GPT-4 (the paid version), it sometimes fell into the hallucination trap of filling out a format that looks correct but does not include correct information (incorrect text prediction).

For now, making sure ChatGPT is accessing the live internet (via Browse with Bing) and using specific prompts to guide its research are essential to having the AI return the factual information you can use.

How to Use ChatGPT for Researching and Fact-Checking

To use ChatGPT to research, you can prompt it to supply information about the topic. Remember to be specific in your prompt. This includes telling ChatGPT how much information you want. If you want a quick overview, as with the first Ada Lovelace example, you could instruct ChatGPT to give you a two- or three-paragraph overview. If you want to dive deep into a topic and are looking for a lot of information, you could ask it to be comprehensive and tell it the subject areas it should include (if you know).

For In-Depth Researching

To do more in-depth research on Ada Lovelace, I used this prompt:

Please give a comprehensive biography of Ada Lovelace. Include information about her childhood and family, her personal life, her scientific research, her legacy, and other relevant information. Cite your sources. Include credible information. Do not use Wikipedia.

Here’s the response from ChatGPT:

Ada Lovelace: Comprehensive Biography Childhood and Family Born: Augusta Ada Byron on December 10, 1815, in London, England​1​. Parents: The only legitimate child of the poet Lord George Gordon Byron and Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron​2​. Education: Her mother, Lady Byron, herself mathematically trained, insisted Ada study mathematics—a rare education for women at the time​3​. Personal Life Marriage: In 1835, Ada married William King, who later became the Earl of Lovelace, thereby Ada became the Countess of Lovelace​4​. Children: Ada had three children​4​. Nickname: Given by her father as his "Princess of Parallelograms" due to her mother's mathematical background​3​. Scientific Research Meeting Babbage: Ada met Charles Babbage in 1833 and was captivated by his work on the Analytical Engine​5​. Programming: She is credited with creating the first algorithm intended for processing on a machine, thus considered the first computer programmer​6​. Visionary Work: Ada's notes on Babbage's Analytical Engine included ideas that machines could manipulate symbols and create music, showing a vision of computing beyond mere calculation​5​. Legacy Recognition: Ada Lovelace Day, celebrated on the second Tuesday in October, honors women in science and technology​6​. Prophet of the Computer Age: She was the first to articulate the potential for computers beyond mathematics, seeing the possibility of a machine that could manipulate symbols according to rules, marking a fundamental transition from calculation to computation​5​.

It cited six sources, all credible, including Encyclopedia Britannica and the Computer History Museum. It did not use Wikipedia. And, it covered the requested subtopics. From here, I could ask a follow-up prompt to get more information about one of the details, or I could check out one of the sources to learn more.

For Checking Single Facts

If you are fact-checking an author or client’s writing about, say, Ada Lovelace and need to check one detail, you could try a prompt like this:

In a sentence, answer the following question: Was Ada Lovelace involved in the creation of the Analytical Engine? Cite your sources. Use multiple, credible sources.

Here’s how ChatGPT responded:

Yes, Ada Lovelace was involved in the creation of the Analytical Engine, for which she is celebrated as the first computer programmer, having developed a program for Charles Babbage's early computing prototype in 1843

It cited again Encyclopedia Britannica. This time it also cited IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. But, likely because I did not specifically instruct it to avoid it, it did include Wikipedia. Even so, this short response has given me two credible sources I can use to verify the information it has provided.

For a real-world example of using ChatGPT to track down a tricky fact, check out editor Kristen Tate's blog post, "How to Use AI Tools for Fact-Checking."

For Checking Multiple Facts at Once

If you’re fact-checking a passage or short article about a specific topic, where you know you’ll need to verify a number of related facts, you could incorporate ChatGPT into your workflow by prompting it to create a list of top facts about it.

Here’s the prompt I used in the Ada Lovelace experiment:

Please create a bullet-point list of top facts regarding Ada Lovelace's connection to the Analytical Engine. Cite your sources. Ensure sources are reputable, current, and accurate.

Here’s its response:

Here's a bullet-point list of key facts about Ada Lovelace's connection to the Analytical Engine, with citations from reputable sources:  Ada Lovelace is renowned for her detailed account of Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, which is acknowledged as an early model for a steam-powered programmable computer, though it was never actually constructed​1​.  Lovelace was an English mathematician and is often celebrated as the first computer programmer because she developed a program for the Analytical Engine in 1843​2​.  Between 1842 and 1843, she expanded a translation with her own comprehensive "Notes," which were three times longer than the original document by Luigi Menabrea. These notes are considered the first detailed description of a digital computer's design and operation​3​.  Her interest in the Analytical Engine began after meeting Charles Babbage in June 1833, facilitated by their mutual acquaintance and her tutor, Mary Somerville​4​.  The work Lovelace did on the Analytical Engine included what we would now call a computer program, intended to calculate Bernoulli numbers, which was part of her translation of Menabrea's paper on the engine​5​.  These points illustrate Lovelace's pivotal role in conceptualizing the operations and potential of early computing devices.

This time it cited the Mathematical Association of America, Oxford University, Patterns data science journal, and, yes, Wikipedia.

This is like a hyperspeed Google search, allowing you to check multiple details very quickly, cross-referencing facts between sources.

Easy-to-Use Option: Perplexity AI

While ChatGPT’s wide-ranging capabilities make it an editorial Swiss Army knife, fact-checkers and researchers may benefit from exploring Perplexity AI. This tool uses both the Claude and GPT AI models and the internet to create curated responses.

It works faster than ChatGPT. But, like ChatGPT, the paid version provides quite a bit better response (six sources with the free version vs. sixteen with the paid “copilot” enabled).

To test Perplexity AI, I used the same Ada Lovelace prompt as with the first experiment. Note that even though instructed not to use Wikipedia, Perplexity AI still did.

Here’s a video of Perplexity AI at work. Prepare to be amazed.

My New Motto

Now my motto about using ChatGPT to fact-check is the old adage: trust, but verify. While ChatGPT and Perplexity AI can reply with content that leans much farther toward Trust on the Trust-O-Meter, like any good fact-checker, it’s still important to double-check.

Key Insights & Takeaways

ChatGPT's Enhanced Capabilities:

  • When provided with specific and detailed prompts, ChatGPT can effectively pull information from reputable sources, including Encyclopedia Britannica.

  • ChatGPT did not use Wikipedia when instructed not to, indicating it can follow directions to exclude certain sources.

  • The tool provided valid and current links, demonstrating its ability to access and cite credible information from the live web.

Limitations and Issues

  • ChatGPT sometimes included dead links and had difficulty adhering to requested citation styles.

  • The AI occasionally produced “hallucinations,” or incorrect predictions, when not using the live internet browsing feature.

Perplexity AI's Performance:

  • It operates faster than ChatGPT and can provide more sources when using the paid version.

  • Perplexity AI still cited Wikipedia even when instructed not to, revealing a potential issue with source filtering.

Reliability of AI for Fact-Checking:

  • Both AI tools showed a high degree of compliance with user instructions, but they are not foolproof.

  • It’s vital to verify the information provided by AI and maintain a "trust but verify" approach.

  • The tests underscore the importance of using specific prompts and live internet features to guide AI tools towards more accurate and useful results for research and fact-checking.

Erin Servais is an editor, educator, and community builder. Committed to helping editors improve their work and lives, she serves on the board of directors for ACES: The Society for Editing, is the president of the Editors Tea Club, and offers editor coaching services. Erin has presented about editing, entrepreneurship, and Artificial Intelligence for the Professional Editors Network, Editors Canada, the Northwest Editors Guild, and ACES.

Her current focus is training editors to uplevel their skills using Artificial Intelligence. She teaches the only comprehensive ChatGPT for Editors course on the market. Erin always tells ChatGPT please and thank you, just in case.

Email Erin:

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