Google Play currently offers authors auto-narration for free, generated from ebooks you sell (or provide a preview of) in their store. While Google does not recommend auto-narration by A.I. for fiction, I decided to give it a try for my novel Little Sister Song. This post isn’t a “how to create” auto-narration, or even a “why use” auto-narration, but addresses some problems and solutions as you edit and fine-tune your auto-narrated audiobook.
There are many voice options, although only one that was suitable for my book (I needed a youngish American woman) – I chose “Michelle”, sped up to x1.20 because at normal speed the dialogue, in particular, seemed to drag. And while Michelle can’t give me whispering, screaming, sobbing, and other high emotion, the tone and inflection of the voice isn’t bad at all, and the audio quality is high.
But a few fixes were needed before I was satisfied that a listener would have a great experience with the audiobook.
I’ve been wanting to write some prequels to the Wynter Wild series for years. The Fairn brothers – Caleb, Indio, and Jesse – talked (or thought) about their childhoods throughout the books, giving me a good framework upon which to build some short stories set in the late 90s and 2000s.
The Waiting is a short story ebook (11K words) and the first Fairn Boys story, set in 1997 Anaconda right after Miriam takes her daughter Joy and leaves her sons with their father. You can read it as a standalone story, but if you’ve read the Wynter Wild books it will take on a slightly different flavor. It’s only 99c on Amazon, or free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. UPDATE: This story is now a free exclusive for subscribers.
Caleb is nine years old when Momma leaves him and his brothers at their estranged father’s house for the summer. Dad doesn’t have a clue how to care for three boys, and nor is he motivated to try. Navigating his moods and covering for his neglect are more than any child should have to face, but as the oldest brother, Caleb knows it’s his responsibility to step up and grow up.
With his mother gone, taking his twin sister with her, Indio is battling anger and grief as well as the nagging guilt it’s all his fault. Resisting Caleb’s newfound authority, struggling to keep little Jesse out of trouble, he never gives up hope. Momma will be home for his seventh birthday, won’t she? All he has to do is wait it out.
Ever wondered which character from the Wynter Wild series is the most like you? Maybe you already have a good idea. I used 16personalities.com to find the personality types of the main and secondary characters, and if you take the free test (no account necessary) to get your type you can look up which character matches you.
The test gives a similiar result to the Myers-Briggs 16 personality types – four letters relating to your personality. Of course we are all on a sliding scale for each facet – this just labels your preference:
I’m writing some short stories about the Fairn brothers when they were little – it’s quite a challenge writing from childrens’ perspectives, starting with Caleb and Indio when they’re 9 and 7 respectively. Even more of a challenge is thinking up book titles! The Wynter Wild series titles more or less suggested themselves once I decided on a musical theme.
The first “Fairn Boys” story (as yet untitled) takes place the summer their mother leaves with Joy, and they have to deal with living with their father Harry for the first time. And, of course, Harry has to figure out how to deal with them. Caleb is learning how much, or how little, he can rely on his father. Indio is missing his mother and his twin, living on hope that they’ll be back soon. And little Jesse (age 3) has his own unique perspective on life and isn’t afraid to talk about it!
Exclusive: read chapter 1
My newsletter subscribers have access to chapter 1 of this first story – sign up here if you haven’t already. And please be sure to check your spam folder if you didn’t receive the latest issue (sent April 1st). Mark the newsletter as “not spam” and add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contact list in order to train your email program not to discard future issues.
The complete story will be available on Amazon soon – stay tuned.
I’ve put all ten Wynter Wild ebooks into a box set, available for a limited time for US$9.99. Now’s your chance to own the entire series for only a dollar per book. (You can also read the books for free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.)