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A.I. Audiobooks as Accessibility Tools

It has always been my intention to start releasing my stories in audiobook format but I didn’t think I would get around to it as soon as I have done. Originally, I was thinking it would be when I started releasing the new books that I am working from, and that the older titles would not be converted over.

As you might know I am currently doing re-releases of all my back catalog titles. I publish direct to Kindle, but use Draft2Digital to get my titles on the other stores. I like D2D because I can upload everything once and they handle all the distribution and that makes it a lot easier. They are also really good at trialling new services.

When I was loading up the new version of Unhallowed Ground I got a pop-up suggesting I start an audiobook version. As well as the Findaway Voices option, there was a new option to create an audiobook on Apple Books using A.I. voice generation.

The process couldn’t have been more straightforward and I set everything up. But I did feel conflicted about it.

As a writer, I am keeping an eye on the A.I. business, because one of the things it does is write. There have been whole books created using ChatGPT. So I was worried that I was contributing to the problem by using A.I. rather than a human narrator.

A few months ago, I remember reading about a guy who used A.I. to create the images for a children’s book and there was a lot of backlash about that because he was taking work away from an actual artist. Which I can sympathise with. I didn’t want to go down that route, not only because I didn’t want to deal with the hate, but because I respect the art of audiobook narration.

I was close to pulling the title from audio, but then I had a conversation with Tamzin and she helped me realise that I’m not taking work away from a human narrator by doing this. First of all, I had no intention of creating audiobooks for these stories. So this wasn’t a case of choosing an A.I. narrator over a human one, it was choosing an A.I. narrator over no narrator at all.

Secondly, and this is something that rarely gets spoken about, there is a whole group of people who enjoy reading, but because of vision problems, can’t. When you think about it like that, creating audiobooks is creating an accessibility tool.

Thinking about it that way helped and I have created a couple more audiobooks the same way.

Once I start releasing new stories, I fully intend to use human narrators. However, having done a couple of audiobooks this way now, I’ve got to say, I’m really impressed by the quality of them. There are some rough edges that you wouldn’t get with a person, but for what they are, they’re really good. Certainly something you could comfortably listen to.

If you’re interested in checking them out you can find my current releases here:

Visible Monsters Cover

The remastered edition of The Ghouls is now called Visible Monsters. Got the cover back last week.

Unhallowed Ground: Remastered

I have spent the past few months re-editing this book and I am proud to say that it is available to purchase today. For the next week it is on sale for just $0.99 in Ebook format and I hope you will take a look

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Apple | B&N | Scribd | Elsewhere

When darkness descends, who will survive the unthinkable?

In the brooding shadows of Odamere’s vicarage, Peter Gatgewood seeks refuge from the haunting specters of his past. What he and his family discover is a malevolence far beyond the ghosts of memory. As they settle into their new home, they quickly realize that the vicarage holds secrets darker and more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

Innocent fears turn to bone-chilling dread as Zoe, Peter’s daughter, begins to exhibit erratic and unsettling behavior. Convinced that something otherworldly lurks within the ancient walls, Peter is thrust into a terrifying race against time. His daughter’s revelation defies the laws of reality and forces him to confront the unthinkable: the existence of an abhorrent monster.

As the line between the tangible and the eldritch blurs, Peter Gatgewood must grapple with a choice that will haunt him for eternity. Will he save his cherished family from the encroaching darkness, or will he protect the sanctity of his beloved church?

In a Lovecraftian tale of cosmic horror, Unhallowed Ground, invites readers to venture beyond the realm of reason and into a nightmarish abyss of unspeakable terror.

New Cover Reveal: Unhallowed Ground

For the last few months, I have been working on ‘remastering’ some of my old titles and as part of that I have been re-considering the titles and book covers. The first remaster that I am launching is called Unhallowed Ground. I originally launched the book with the title Abomination.

The cover for the new edition came back over the weekend. Here it is:

This was the second version of the cover for this book. I made a mistake with the first one and chose an image that wasn’t suitable. I am thrilled with this one.

Let me know what you think of it.

Stephen King Made Me An Author

I have been writing stories since I was a kid. I can still remember lying on the floor in front of the TV with my new Ghostbusters notebook and pencil and writing a story about how Slimer became a Ghostbuster. That would have been when I was around seven years old.

It was all just for fun, but that was all it needed to be.

Many years later, I was still writing, although school and socializing meant I didn’t have as much time for it as I used to. I wasn’t reading so much either. Honestly, if things had carried on the way they were, I probably would have given up on the whole writing business.

Then I read The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition.

If you’ve read it, you know it’s a big book. Certainly the biggest I’d read up to that point. I went through the whole thing in a single weekend, and I was hooked.

From that point on, I read every Stephen King book I could get my hands on. There were a lot. I raced through them all. Some I loved more than others, but every one of them had something special about it. I started reading interviews, and then tracking down the books that he loved, and reading them as well.

And a funny thing happened along the way. It wasn’t just a love of reading that returned; it was writing as well. Suddenly, I was taking the idea of becoming a professional writer seriously.

After that I was buying the writers digest, submitting stories to magazines and following King’s advice from On Writing. I was on the journey that would lead me to where I am today and wherever I will be in the future. None of it would have happened if it wasn’t for Stephen King.

Long days, and pleasant nights to you all