The Rose Guardian in audiobook

For audiobook lovers

After months of laborious recording and mastering audiofiles for distribution through ACX, I was met with further frustration when it seemed the Amazon-owned distributor had upped their technical requirements, which would mean another several weeks for me to remaster all 60 tracks of The Rose Guardian.

The Rose Guardian audio

I spent a day fussing with, and frustrated about the problem. I put a sample track through the extra mastering steps provided through the ACX workshop tutorials. The resulting quality was very tinny, and I knew would not pass vetting. All that work, for what I’d hoped was a very quality narration; truth be told I probably spent a total of a steady month recording and mastering. Then to be met with further difficulty.

And there, in the background, the very simple solution to all that bother: Google’s AI generator for audio.

A familiar platform

Google’s audio AI generator isn’t new to me. I’d used it for And the Angels Sang and was very pleased. As a content creator I can choose from a number of male or female voices, in a few accents, in a number of age ranges. The resulting recording is very listenable. It’s not the sort of radio-play, depth of voice you’re going to find with a good human narrator, but it’s perfectly fine for listening to an audiobook while on a commute, or doing chores, or on an exercise routine.

And the Angels Sang

The added benefits of Google’s AI audio

From a business perspective, the added value of Google’s audio platform is that as a creator you are free to download the files and distribute the audiobook through other channels. There’s no exclusivity clause.

At the moment, auxiliary distribution markets for audiobooks are a bit limited. Even so, in the same day the Google audiobook for The Rose Guardian was created, I was able to upload that same production to Kobo, and overnight have that vetted and accepted.

If you’re thinking you can then do that through ACX, not a chance. The platform very resolutely refuses any AI generation. Which I’m thinking may not play well for them in the future, given the scope of indie publishers working on tight to non-existent budgets. Seems a little odd, from another perspective, given the parent company, Amazon, very widely embraces indie publishing, has their own print and ebook platform which allows millions of books to reach a huge and global market. But not so much with audio. How much you want to bet that in a year or two there will be an AI offering available through Kindle Direct Publishing?

An obvious solution

So for me Google’s AI narration was an obvious solution to the pickle in which I’d found myself. In less than a day I had a fully narrated audiobook, vetted and up for sale on Google Play platform. Just like that. And as I said before, was able to upload that audiobook to Kobo, and by this morning the audiobook was live through that website.

Going forward

I’m pretty sure I’m going to pack away my narration hat for any future audiobooks. The expenditure in time and effort is disproportionate to the return I’m likely to realize from any sales. And as I said, the quality of Google’s audiobooks is pretty good.

With that in mind, you’re going to find in the coming months all the rest of my catalogue available in audiobook. I’ll have links to those marketplaces on every book page. And as the markets expand, I’ll be adding my content there as well, and keep you informed.

Gift giving

Given the season, why not support one of your local authors and gift either a print, ebook, or audiobook to those on your list? In doing so, you’ve not only given a very special gift, but given a gift to the author whose work you’ve purchased. I’d call that a win/win.