I’ve been asked to elaborate more about audiobooks and how I plan to do them. I’ve also been asked about AI and what my thoughts are about that.
I’ll save my thoughts on AI in general for another post and only talk about its relation to audio here, as I’ve made the decision to use AI to generate audio books, with one caveat; I’ll be doing them with my own voice.
A little review.
There’s a company called 11Labs that lets you create an AI voice of YOU. You simply read a large sample of your voice into its system and it creates the AI voice from that sample. Obviously, the larger the sample the better the AI voice will be, so I’ll soon be reading a book to a computer. I hope it likes thrillers.
I know this will disappoint some of you as, like you, I feel there is nothing better than a good narrator when it comes to audiobooks. I also hate to take work away from that group as they are artists like us. But good narrators cost good money, and their time is rather limited. A backlist as large as mine would take years to produce and cost thousands of dollars. I need something faster and readily available.
AI voices have improved at a rapid rate since they first appeared on the scene. It’s to the point that it’s hard to tell the difference. While they will never be as good as a real person they are good enough for what is needed, and that is getting the book to the reader who wants it in the format they want it in.
And that’s what it all boils down to, they want the content. When I asked avid audiobook listeners what I should do the overwhelming answer was “I don’t care so much about whether it’s an AI voice or not, I just want the book”.
This, and a few other reasons were enough to convince me to go with an AI voice.
Now, I’m told I have the voice of a drunk Darth Vader, but evidently, that’s good for audio (!?) So It’ll be me as the voice of Jack Randall.
I like the idea for several reasons:
One, it’s mine and mine alone. I own the copyright to my voice and obviously no one else can do me.
Two, it’s automated. I just have to upload the manuscript, push a button, and then lightly edit the results.
Three, it’s available 24/7/365. I don’t have to wait for a narrator to have an opening in his schedule.
Four, it’s eternal. If I die my kids can make my unpublished works into audio forever. Not so with a narrator.
Five, I can monetize my voice. If other authors want to use my voice for their books they can, for a fee.
Six, it’s cheap. I can price my audio way less than I would have to for a narrated voice.
Seven, I can use it for ANYTHING. Blurbs. Blogposts. Short stories on my website. Ads. Anything that can be converted to audio is now a button.
So yeah, kinda excited about doing it. Once I have the books re-edited I can do all 10+ books with a button and have a huge audio catalog.
So, that’s the plan. Audiobooks are in the works.