Why AI Audiobooks?

Why AI Audiobooks?

Today I want to chat about something a little controversial to some: my choice to produce AI-narrated audiobooks and why I recently changed all of the voices from British to American ones. 

Before we dive in, I need to make something extra clear. For some people this is a black and white, one or the other situation. I'm not one of those people.

Why do you produce AI Audiobooks?

If you've been following my journey, you know how much I value accessibility in storytelling.

My mother and sister are huge audiobook fans, between Audible and Alexa, they consume probably a thousand books a year between the two of them. However, they haven't always read. In fact, until they discovered audiobooks, my sister a year or more before my mother, they couldn't read books (not through a lack of trying).

Audiobooks and text-to-speech gave them the means to get lost in a story the way most of us take for granted. They've really shown me how crucial this format can be for those who find traditional reading a challenge.

When I first published, they pushed themselves to read in the traditional sense and struggled. Then they tried Alexa and gritted their teeth through the robotic voice.

They're used to Alexa now but if they can get their hands on something better, they prefer it. 

All authors dream of having audiobooks. It's like a publishing bucketlist item, right along side a custom cover where you get to chose the models.

But here's the rub: traditional audiobook production is a pricey affair, often costing more than a pretty penny (we’re talking thousands!). And breaking even takes years.

Given that my books are still finding their tribe, shelling out that kind of cash isn’t feasible just yet.

Enter AI audiobooks.

When Google first gave us the ability to create AI audiobooks, they didn't sound great. It was basically Alexa and I couldn't wrap my head around charging someone for that.

Now, the options are so much better.

They still have flaws. They can't act, they mispronounce words if I don't catch it in the proofing stage and the range of good voices is pretty limited. 

But they give me the ability to put my books in audio, to enable people who need it or want something better than Alexa reading to them. They’re my way of bridging that gap without breaking the bank, making sure no one has to wait to dive into the worlds I create.

I'm fully aware that this option will not appeal to readers who live for the narration. AI can't act. I don't want it to honestly. It's totally okay if you don't want to buy AI-narrated audiobooks, if you want to wait.

Why did you change all the voices to American ones?

Like I said above, AI has flaws. One of those is that not all voices are equal in quality.

On my first four books, I was using a British female voice that made me grit my teeth just to listen to a chapter. I hated that it wasn't a Welsh voice, that though it didn't sound like Alexa, there was still this robotic quality to it.

Then I started playing with Google's voices again and decided to test outside of the very limited British options. I discovered a couple that actually sounded good. Not actor good but they didn't set my teeth on edge to listen to. 

All of those voices were American.

So it all comes down to clarity and current tech. The American accents available through Google just sound cleaner and more polished right now, making them easier on the ears for a wider audience. It’s all about ensuring that everyone can get the full experience of the story without straining to understand the words.

But don’t worry, this is not the endgame.

Does this mean you'll never do human-narrated audiobooks?

I can't wait for the day when I can comfortably hire a human-narrator and not care if it takes ten years for the audiobook to break even. 

As my reader family grows and the book sales with it, I'm dreaming of producing those lush, fully voiced audiobooks with accents that match each character’s heritage. In fact, I'm kind of desperate to hear someone give voice to Finn McCarthy.

This phase with AI Audiobooks is just a stepping stone. I see AI-narrated audiobooks as a launchpad, the first chapter in the larger audiobook saga.

My goal is for the ai-narrated audiobooks to fund my ability to hire Welsh, Scottish, Irish, English and Canadian actors who will do my characters justice.

I just can't afford to do that yet.

Why do you use Google AI, but no others (outside Apple)?

Two reasons:

1) Google Play Books have been quoted explaining that they hired narrators to create their voices. Listen to it here. They did not sample from existing audiobooks or use backdoor deals that we don't know about.

2) It's the only AI audio that Findaway Voices currently accepts. They haven't explained why but I think it's because of my answer in part 1.

Why is the Apple Books voice different and why are there less books?

Apple Books produces their own AI Audiobooks and don't allow outside productions to be sold on Apple Books. 

Currently, only my single POV books are available. This is because Apple Books doesn't give us the ability to use two voices and I really don't want to produce an audiobook where the male chapters are read by a female voice. 

So, to conclude this massive essay (sorry!).

I’m all about making my books accessible to everyone, right here, right now. Using AI is a practical choice—it’s me planting the seeds for the future I envision, one where my stories can be heard in just the way I imagine them, accents and all.

Thanks for joining me on this journey, for every step we take together makes these dreams a little more possible. And who knows? Maybe sooner rather than later, we’ll be enjoying those perfect audiobooks, complete with all the regional flavours we love.

Morgana x

Current Audiobooks Available

(I'll update this section as links and books become available)

True Platinum Series

Chasing Alys - Direct | Apple Books | Google Play Books | Kobo | Spotify | Bookbeat | Storytel | Everand | Barnes & Noble | Audiobooks.com

Charming Daphne Direct | Apple Books | Google Play Books | Kobo | Spotify | Bookbeat | Storytel | Everand | Barnes & Noble | Audiobooks.com

Winning Nia Direct | Apple Books | Google Play Books | Kobo | Spotify | Bookbeat | Storytel | Everand | Barnes & Noble | Audiobooks.com

Enticing Mel Direct | Apple Books | Google Play Books | Kobo | Spotify | Bookbeat | Storytel | Everand | Barnes & Noble | Audiobooks.com

Defying Ella Direct | Apple Books | Google Play Books | Kobo | Spotify | Bookbeat | Storytel | Everand | Barnes & Noble | Audiobooks.com

Needing Emily Direct | Apple Books | Google Play Books | Kobo | Spotify | Bookbeat | Storytel | Everand | Barnes & Noble | Audiobooks.com


Kings of Screen Series

Between Takes - Direct | Apple Books | Google Play Books | Kobo | Spotify | Bookbeat | Storytel | Everand | Barnes & Noble

Fashionably Fake - Direct | Google Play Books | Kobo | Spotify | Bookbeat | Storytel | Everand

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Morgana Bevan British celebrity romance author

Meet Morgana

Morgana Bevan is a sucker for a rock star romance, particularly if it involves a soul-destroying breakup or strangers waking up in Vegas. She’s a contemporary romance author based in Wales. When Morgana’s not writing steamy celebrity romances with gorgeous British rock stars and movie stars, she’s travelling the world, searching for inspiration.

She enjoys travelling, attending gigs, and trying out the extreme activities she forces on her characters