Tell us your name and a little about yourself.
I’m Alessandra Torre, a New York Times bestselling author and the president and co-founder of Authors A.I., a tech start-up that uses artificial intelligence in fiction. I entered the world of fiction almost ten years ago and have written twenty-three novels. In addition to writing, I started an online community for authors that now includes online courses, an annual conference, and more than 10,000 authors. My history and experience of working with the author community and my own novel writing helped tremendously in my work with the Authors 9A.I. Team to develop our lineup of tools for authors.
What exactly does your company do?
Authors A.I. help authors write better books with the help of artificial intelligence named Marlowe. Marlowe reads an author’s manuscript and then analyzes the story’s plot structure, story beats, pacing, characters, subject matter and more — delivering a 25-page critique with helpful tips and actionable feedback. Our goal is to use the power of A.I. to help authors modernize their self-editing process at an affordable price.
What were the biggest challenges you have faced, and how did you overcome them?
One of my biggest challenges personally was finding my voice and trusting that voice. I entered this industry as an introverted bookworm with no leadership experience or skills. With each additional step I’ve taken, I’ve gained experience and knowledge — and it took several years to trust my voice and opinion and learn how to lead from a place of confidence and a spirit of collaboration.
As a company, our biggest challenge has been to prioritize and focus. Our possibilities are huge, and it is so exciting to see what we can accomplish with the data, technology, and talent that we have on our team. There’s a temptation to do everything at once. We are overcoming this challenge with a solid business roadmap and short- and long-term action items that will allow us to improve steadily, deliver new products to our customers, and not lose sight of our long-term goals.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
Take your time in developing a quality product — don’t rush to release until it’s ready. It is great advice in publishing, but also in business. I wish someone had told me at the beginning to take my time, don’t be afraid to ask questions of others, and continually educate myself on ways to improve my product and process.
Who are your biggest influences and people you admire and why?
Creatively, my biggest influences are Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, and Karin Slaughter. They’re all exceptional storytellers who have mastered their craft. On the business end of things, Gary Vaynerchuk and Seth Godin have helped me look at marketing and customer engagement in new ways. And on the leadership front, Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group and Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe, have taught me about resilience and modelling good behaviour.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful toward who helped get you to where you are?
Gosh, this is hard to pinpoint down to one person. My husband is who I would have to shift that spotlight too. In my early years of business, he was a constant motivator who had the confidence in me before I had it in myself. There were a lot of moments when he pushed me past my comfort zone, and those scary leaps were what took me to the next level in business, but also in personal growth.
What do you see as your greatest success in life?
My body of work. I am immensely proud of my novels, and of Marlowe, our artificial intelligence. While I can’t take credit for her brilliance, I can affect her reach and impact on our industry — and that, the work we do at Authors A.I., will be my greatest success. It’s beginning to happen, and I’m so excited at what is ahead as it unfolds.
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