Today I would like to discuss audiobooks a little more, including an intriguing email I recently received from a publisher.
As most of you who follow this blog know, I have been fortunate to have been approached by an audiobook publisher called Tantor to publish some of my books in that format. My first experience did not work out well with them, for they published the audio format of In the Wilds of Derbyshire a full year after the original release of the book, and the book did not sell well enough for them to proceed with other titles. Then last year, with the success of In Default of Heirs Male they contacted me again about making that one into an audiobook. Armed with the experience I gained the first time, I knew it was likely to be a repeat, so I suggested we do future coordinated releases, expecting the sales would be more robust.
They accepted and I have currently got one scheduled for release later this summer that will be a coordinated release. In the interim, they’ve published another title, and one of my older novels will also be made into an audiobook. If you have not listened to them, they are worth it if for nothing more than the talent of the narrator. In this also I have been fortunate, as Mary Sarah, who has narrated all my titles so far, is a marvelously talented narrator. If you have the chance, I’d highly recommend giving them a go!
That has been the only facet of my audiobook efforts so far, as I have never considered the benefit of putting them out there worth the effort. That might have changed, however, which is the reason for this post today.
I recently received an email from Google with a new service they are offering. The offer is to take any books I write and convert them into audiobooks using their software and a digitally produced narrator. As you might expect, early reviews on this service suggest that while their system does a very good job producing the audiobook, the technology for the narrators still lacks that human element, not conveying the feeling a human would give to the story. Any audiobook narrated by Google’s service would not be the equal of Mary Sarah’s interpretation.
Then again, for me this would not be a huge drawback. As I have mentioned before, I find that the only way I can do any reading at all is to get eBooks and load them into a text to speech app. Sure the result is not as good as an audiobook, but the price is far more reasonable, and I find that I can interpret the emotions by listening to the synthetic voice. Not everyone would feel that way, but it works for me. And as past of this service, Google allows the publishing of the book to any other seller, as long as it is also sold on Google.
So, my question to you the audience: would you be interested in listening to an audiobook produced digitally with a digital voice? I will probably try the service out regardless, as there is no cost to use it at present. But I would like to know if anyone else would find the option intriguing, particularly when I suspect the cost of such a book would be far lower than that of a traditional audiobook.
In conjunction with this, I would like to announce two upcoming audiobooks, one of which is new version of an old favorite as I mentioned above, and one which will be a joint release of all formats. The first will be entitled A Most Attentive Mother and will be released in all formats on August 16. If you would like to read an excerpt, you can find it here.
The second release is an audiobook format of The Mistress of Longbourn, which is my most popular long novel to date. That release is scheduled for September 18.