AI spam: Magazines and e-book sites face a flood of ChatGPT content

27 Feb 2023

Image: © alvaher/

A number of online magazines claim their inboxes are being filled with AI-generated fiction, while hundreds of Amazon e-books reportedly list ChatGPT as an author.

AI-generated content has become a rising phenomenon recently, as new tools let people quickly produce creative works with the potential for profit.

Last year saw the rise of AI-generated artwork, with systems such as DALL-E, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion being used to create a wave of new art pieces, causing concern among artists.

With the rapid growth of ChatGPT, the advanced chatbot made by OpenAI, this trend is spilling into other sectors, with a wave of AI-generated stories making their way to publisher’s inboxes.

Clarkesworld, an online science fiction and fantasy magazine, has felt this impact as the number of AI-generated submissions has skyrocketed in recent months.

Until recently, the magazine let people submit their own short stories, with the potential for payment if the submission was published.

But the magazine has closed submissions due to a wave of article submissions that are AI-generated. Founder and editor Neil Clarke said the magazine used to receive a small number of submissions each month that were banned for plagiarism.

However, Clarke said the rate of “spam” submission has increased as a result of AI chatbots gaining more attention.

In January, Clarkesworld rejected more than 100 submissions, with their authors being banned from submitting again. From the start of February to 20 February, the number of rejected submissions soared to more than 500.

Clarkesworld has not set a date for when submissions will reopen. The magazine said on Twitter that it does not have a solution to this spam issue.

“I’ve reached out to several editors and the situation I’m experiencing is by no means unique,” Clarke said in a blog post. “It does appear to be hitting higher-profile “always open” markets much harder than those with limited submission windows or lower pay rates.

“This isn’t terribly surprising since the websites and channels that promote “write for money” schemes tend to focus more attention on “always open” markets with higher per-word rates.”

Sheila Williams, editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, told The Verge that she has noticed a rapid uptick in submitted stories due to the rise of AI-generated pieces.

In one example, Williams said she received more than 20 short stories with the same title, which she believes were all generated with AI tools.

The rise of these systems has also impacted the e-book market, with a rise of books on Amazon’s Kindle store being written with the help of AI.

By mid-February, more than 200 e-books on the Amazon store listed ChatGPT as an author or co-author, Reuters reports. The actual number of books could be far higher as Amazon’s policies don’t require authors to disclose that an AI was used to help generate the content.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic