For many years, the copyright page has served niche functions for a very niche audience. Basically, a copyright page is there for 8 reasons that hardly anyone cares about:
1) To assure your ex that the character who resembles them in every single detail is due to a series of very unlikely coincidences.
2) To answer questions about reading order in the event that the publisher is sadistic enough to not include this on the freaking spine of the book.
3) To stop a lawsuit that isn’t going to ever happen anyway.
4) To depress a book collector by revealing that this is, in fact, a second edition.
5) To take and/or give credit for the hard work of turning a mangy rough draft into an actual book instead of writing a proper acknowledgment like anyone not raised in a barn should, unless of course you’re worried that this breaks immersion for the reader, in which case slap it here where nobody will notice, sadly.
6) Because libraries?
7) Where to go to find awesome blog posts by the really cool and handsome dude who wrote the book you are holding.
Other than number 7, none of these are important. But wait! Before you think I’m against copyright pages, I’m here to tell you that copyright pages have been waiting hundreds of years to discover their purpose, and their purpose is now!
All future editions of my works will include an AI disclaimer on the copyright page. That disclaimer will let the reader know if AI was used in any way for the writing of or creation of the book they are holding.
I’ll give examples below, but first: my AI pledge.
My AI Pledge
I have never used AI for a single piece of my writing. None. Zilch. Zero. I have no plans to ever use AI for any of the contents of my stories. Not even to get rid of typos. I love my typos.
Does this mean I don’t believe that AI will one day be better than me at writing stories? Heck no. It’s gonna trounce me the way it trounces me at chess. It’ll even learn to write just like me and use words like “gonna” and “trounce.” Fine. Bring it on.
The only thing I have to offer readers (and it ain’t much) is that I’m me. I’m the analog thing. The scratchy vinyl record. The old sock with the hole in the heel. There’s humanity to my imperfections, and that’s all I’ve got to barter with. Many readers will go find perfect books written by brilliant AI in the centuries to come, but there will only be one place to find stories written by the meat me.
This is why I make my AI pledge. Not because I think I’m better than AI will ever become, but because my authenticity will be all that I have that it can never have. If you like reading my works, which are a product of my pains, joys, fears, ambitions, scars, life experiences, then you know where to come find those stories. That’s what I have to offer.
HOWEVER. There may be a future work where I write about AI, or a fourth-wall-breaking satirical AI is part of a story, or I want to mock AI, or include blocks of AI for some unforeseen reason (I currently have no plans for any of this, but it all sounds like fun!), I will make sure the reader knows that this is AI.
It may never happen, but if it does, the copyright page is a perfect place to put this. It will also be where my AI Pledge goes in every single book, so readers can tell at a glance that I swear upon my life and at risk of perjury that the entire book they are holding is told by meat.
If there are exceptions, the pages will be listed and context will be given. The AI text will be italicized or in some way made obvious. I will never try to pass off someone else’s writing as my own. Ever. Take that to the bank and put it in there with all your crypto.
“But wait!” I hear some of you saying. “You said there were already 8 reasons for a copyright page, and your sample one above only included 7!”
8 The other niche use of copyright pages is to sometimes list the imprint of the publishing house who made the book, even though no reader cares who published the dang thing, only if it’s any good, but publishers can’t believe this is true and they even think that someone out there cares what imprint within the publishing house made the book even though there’s only 37 people in the entire publishing industry who care what imprint a book belongs to, and three of them are pedants who also steal your food out of the break room fridge (and none of these 37 people are what we would even generously call “a reader”).