“April” audio book available

Since I’m deaf I’d really appreciate feedback on the quality of the AI voice. Sorry dead link is best I can do.


40 Responses to “April” audio book available

  1. mike February 19, 2024 at 12:02 pm #

    Your link is self referential, just opens the same page!

    • Aghast February 19, 2024 at 5:09 pm #

      @mike has it right. The actual text “https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CSPKF81M” if pasted into a browser will go to an Amazon page, but the link on this page that appears to be to Amazon is actually to “https://mackeychandler.com/april-audio-book-available/”. You can probably hover over the link with your mouse and see it pop up, if you use a mouse and have that set up correctly. (It’s the default for me in Firefox.)

      Alternatively, right-click and “Copy Link” then paste that someplace to see where it points.

      • Mac February 19, 2024 at 6:36 pm #

        I’ll try to fix that. The WordPress form is very confusing.

  2. Stewart February 19, 2024 at 2:22 pm #

    Visited directly (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CSPKF81M) and got to the page. It clearly is understandable and has inflection and pauses correct. But compared to a human narrator who would add a bit more life into reading…it isn’t so. The artificial female voice was reasonable I guess but no where close to what I like from audiobooks I’ve been listening to.

    Those include Nathan Lowell reading his books (his voice just sucks me in – although current narrator is grating to me) or Emily Rankin read this one (https://www.amazon.com/Sapphire-Flames-Ilona-Andrews-audiobook/dp/B07PHMJK1L) where she will vary voices.

    But that is style preferences – if someone was sight impaired, this would completely convey the novel well.

    • Mac February 19, 2024 at 6:37 pm #

      Thanks for reviewing it.

    • Zebulon Dakota February 19, 2024 at 9:21 pm #

      Nathan’s narrations are really good. My favorite is the narration of the Aubrey/Maturin books by the great Patrick Tull. Just amazing work that, like you said, just sucks you in 🙂

  3. Sarah February 19, 2024 at 9:18 pm #

    For a computer voice over, I would consider it pretty good. When compared to a real narrator I would say it is fairly stiff and a little awkward. If the AI voiceover if considerably cheaper than a live narrator, it is probably worth it. I know a lot of smaller time authors have trouble with the audio books paying for themselves, and you have the added difficulty of not being able to assess the narrators yourself. So I would call this an okay compromise, especially since it only costs me $1.99 with whisper sync (as I already own the ebook version).

    • Mac February 20, 2024 at 7:15 am #

      I hadn’t thought about existing owners going back and getting it.

      • Mike Morrow February 20, 2024 at 9:22 pm #

        I’m definitely going to. I own all your books. I prefer audio books, the April series is like an old friend, I love to reread or relisten to over and over. Thank you for the audio release!

        The computerized voice is actually quite well done. I usually use Voice Dream to do text to speech reading, this is much better quality.

      • Sarah February 21, 2024 at 6:57 pm #

        I am about 4 hours into it (just listening my commute to/from work), and I have no major complaints. The only things that really threw me off were some odd pauses and the fact that USNA is pronounced at “yous nuh”.
        I will post a review on audible when I finish it.

      • Jeff Harris February 21, 2024 at 11:43 pm #

        I’m just going to echo Mike’s statement I own all of your books and love to reread them but I can do that more often with audio books and will repurchase all of them as an audio book. The AI voice isn’t bad and well worth it if it makes it easier for you to offer the audio version.

  4. Zebulon Dakota February 19, 2024 at 9:26 pm #

    The AI narration isn’t bad – it’s actually much better than I expected. As reported, it’s a bit flatter than a human, but probably better than some human narrators I’ve run across. The sample didn’t include any parts where several people were speaking, so I don’t know how well they would be differentiated by the AI voice – that’s one of the things that can bring a narration to life.

    If cost or hassle are factors, I wouldn’t feel bad about going that way. Definitely worth a try and see what kind of response you get.

  5. michele February 20, 2024 at 12:10 am #

    The voice is clear and the pacing is fine. The AI turned the USNA into a word. I fine audio books to be hard to follow so will decline to express an opinion as to the listening quality.
    Thanks for asking for input.
    Hope you are recovering from the surgery.

  6. Moritz February 20, 2024 at 2:31 am #

    I could only listen to the sample since the Audiobook is not available in my country jet. For an AI voice it is a good Quality and I would by it for a lower end wisper sync price (1.99 / 2.99).

    if you want a female Narrator, I can recommend Andrea Parsneau , sample can be heard here https://www.amazon.com/-/de/dp/B07X3MVKQ7 , she has a wide variety of voices witch makes differentiating characters in conversations easy.

  7. Emmy Wells February 20, 2024 at 5:30 am #

    My partner and I actually listen to all of Mackie’s April series over and over and over using Kindle assisted reader. We’ve gotten used to the voice and it really calms us and puts us to sleep. It seems kind of odd to say that. However the new audiobook is just I don’t know. I don’t really like it. It sounds like she’s speaking to children rather than narrating a book. It’s just I think maybe I just am used to the other narrator. And since I’m almost blind now it’s the only way I can really read the books. However I am getting surgery soon so who knows?

  8. Jørgen February 20, 2024 at 8:13 am #

    Not perfect, but by far the best computer generated voice I have heard so far, as for the reading quality it’s not bad. A few natural pauses are perhaps a hair too long and there are some missing inflections or misplaced, but that goes back to the voice. All in all, it’s good enough to listen too, but not among the best read books by normal standards, thuogh it is better than a few normal audiobooks I do own, so it certainly have potential.

    I think that one issue is the wait between a , . and end of sentence, thouse pauses should be of different length and that’s not the case most of the time I think.

  9. Todd February 20, 2024 at 3:23 pm #

    The A.I. voice is a little better than straight up Alexa reading the book to you. As an example for you personally mac, it’s about the same as someone on a TV show holding and reading a script instead of acting. Quality narration is really voice acting.
    Moritz above pointed out Andrea Parsneau. She is outstanding and what your April series deserves. I would buy the whole series again in audio if you got someone of her caliber. I was really sad when one of my other favorite series ended up with so so talent for their audio release. I hope your recovery goes super well!

  10. Stefan February 20, 2024 at 5:26 pm #

    it does not seem to be available outside the US shop. I am not sure if you need to take any action. I will buy it once it is available on the german site. switching audible/amazon Accounts between regions is just not viable. did that once for UK and had to re-download everything once switching back.

    The sample is little better than the available text to speech native to Android but that one is getting good enough that i tested it on some web fiction since your announcement.

    • Stefan February 20, 2024 at 5:34 pm #

      forgot that one:
      If you can release audio and book at the same time it would be great for future books until a human narrator can do the actual audiobook.

      still hoping amazon improves their product and might test in my 2 weeks vacation early April If i can do better using ChatGPT. It should not be hard to Tell ChatGPT to flag all Dialog with the correct character and then use an API to a Text To Speech Provider what voices to use. It might even be possible to figure out the sentiment/ mood of the characters. Some TTS can do stuff like angry scared and whispering

      • Mac February 22, 2024 at 2:19 pm #

        That would be interesting.

  11. Ricardo Venegas February 21, 2024 at 9:00 pm #

    I’m in chapter 23 right now, and the voice is good enough. As someone mentioned before, I had listened to worst human voice actors. Other than the USNA pronunciation, I don’t see any problem.

    I plan to get the audiobook for all the books, any idea when the second will be released?

    • Mac February 22, 2024 at 2:18 pm #

      I’ll ask my voice editor to change it to U.S.N.A.

      • Ricardo Venegas February 22, 2024 at 3:52 pm #

        I’m now in chapter 34.
        Another feedback is in how Muños is being pronounced (n instead of ñ)

    • Mac March 7, 2024 at 7:19 pm #

      Waiting on post edit processing for “Down to Earth”.

  12. NopiSoul February 28, 2024 at 3:18 pm #

    I would like to get it, but it does not seem to be available outside the US shop. hopefully I can buy it soon. after all, I got every book and audiobook from your stories.

    • Mac February 28, 2024 at 3:42 pm #

      Yeah it’s just started and in Beta. Can’t believe they won’t expand it later. Glad you like them.

  13. Mic Siegfried February 29, 2024 at 9:28 am #

    My overall impression is: It isn’t bad, it lies somewhere in quality between Alexa text-to-speech and a full live read. The long pauses brought on by line breaks and commas can interrupt the flow, but overall it certainly is listenable. I really only have one nitpick, and that is the pronunciation of “sats” being said as sots. The images that brings to mind are funny, but not, I think Mac’s intended meaning there. Hope your surgery and recovery go well Mac, focus on that, we’ll be ok waiting.


    • Mac February 29, 2024 at 11:41 am #

      Sotallites….well yeah.

  14. Glen Fletcher March 1, 2024 at 1:23 am #

    I was going to try this, but it’s not available in Australia currently.
    Not sure how the AI narration will go, but it’s worth trying, as I prefer audio books to ebooks, most of the time especially for relistening/rereading, as I can be doing tedious tasks while listening a 2x speed as a distraction.

  15. Adam March 4, 2024 at 11:23 am #

    Just listened to the sample so far. Amazon virtual narrators are a lot better then the traditional voice to speech narrators, which I’ve listened to a few books that way.

    I’m in Canada, so the book doesn’t show up on the Canada website, but I had a US account before they created the Canadian website, so it shows up fine there. Also, since I have a Audible subscription, it’s showing that April can be added to my library for free to stream, or $4.99 to purchase.

    • Mac March 4, 2024 at 12:04 pm #

      Thanks I appreciate the reports.

  16. Brian March 6, 2024 at 8:09 pm #

    It’s actually pretty good for just straight narration. It skips words occasionally and pronounces words phonetically that are not pronounced that way for example “does” is pronounced like female deers. I would definitely get the rest of the books narrated this way.

    • Mic Siegfried March 7, 2024 at 3:42 pm #

      I agree, I’d get the rest too.

  17. Steve March 7, 2024 at 6:48 pm #

    The mispronounced abbreviations were odd, but probably correctable. There were a few timing issues, and obviously a top performer would be better, but I have listened to some readers that were much worse. Are you going to continue with the rest of the April series?

    • Mac March 7, 2024 at 7:15 pm #

      That depends on how much income April generates. I have to pay to have it edited since I am deaf. We agreed on $500/ book. He’s corrected several errors you folks kindly pointed out. So far it has made $15.20. If it will earn it’s editing in a year I’ll continue. Right now “Down to Earth” has not finished post upload processing for some reason. I got ahead of it and fixed the issues we knew would be in it from “April”. I may have to ask them to see why in order to do it next.

  18. Philip March 16, 2024 at 1:43 pm #

    Hey Mack,

    Hope you’re doing well and recovering smoothly from your shoulder surgery. As a big fan of your books, I was a little worried when I heard about it. Sending you all the good vibes for a quick recovery!

    I recently bought the audiobook option for April. I totally get that using AI narration can be a smart move financially, and I wanted to share my thoughts on it.

    Honestly, while the AI voice was far more human sounding than traditional options, it didn’t give me that extra something I look for in an audiobook. You know, the way a really good human narrator can bring the characters to life. It still felt a bit like the Kindle’s built-in voice, just more human, not a ton but more. I’ve used the Read to Me feature in my Kindles for over a decade when I didn’t have time to sit and read the printed page, but wanted to continue listening to the story. It’s not as good as human narration, but I’ll be honest with you I’ve gotten used to it.

    Amazon bought a product called Libre Voice which started a revolution in artificial voice narration by targeting specific and more common words and adding inflections, like always having it pronounce the word Crime as if there was an exclamation point right after it. For 95% of the time expressing the word Crime this way worked to trick your brain but the 5% of the time that saying Crime! Instead of Crime, does sound unnatural or more to the point odd and out of place. The narration you are using comes across as a more robust version of that.

    At $1 to $5 (I’m in the US and the price for me was $1.99) I’ll buy the narration to support a small list of my favorite authors, like yourself, whose work I’m incredibly fond of and want to see more of. I’m genuinely curious to know if Amazon offers more robust options in regards to digital narration like multiple voices and even stock music.

    I’m already looking forward to your next book.

    All my best for a quick recovery.



    • Mac March 16, 2024 at 4:42 pm #

      This narration tool is still in beta. I’d be surprised if they don’t improve it but I’d not expect it quickly.

  19. Adam March 26, 2024 at 10:17 am #

    Finished listening to the audiobook. While it’s not as good as narrators who can create different voices for each character, or add inflections on how certain words are pronounced, I’d say it’s as good if not better then most narrators who just read the book out loud. And I agree it’s definitely a way to get audiobooks produced, and hope more authors do it for older books that don’t have audiobooks produced of their works.

    Couple of things that I noticed and remembered.

    1) Like someone said, i think there was one instance of ‘does’ that was pronounced ‘doze’, but I don’t remember hear it more then once.
    2) There was a couple instances of ‘Dr.’ that was pronounced as ‘drive’.
    3) There was several instances of ‘Colt .45’. I don’t know guns, so I don’t know if the period/point are silent or pronounced, but the narrator would treat the period before the 45 as a new sentence, so there would be a pause before the 45.
    4) But for me the most annoying one was ‘sats.’ Every time it was pronounced as ‘sots’, and it took me a bit to recognize it meant satellites, not some British term. One example is: Eddie declared. “Okay then, it’s unanimous to attack the sats, that’s the main thing that we wanted to know.” I know that sats is short for satellites, but ‘sots’ was confusing then annoying.

    I still would be interested in getting more April books narrated by virtual voice, if that’s the way you go.

    • Mac March 26, 2024 at 11:19 am #

      Thanks. I’ll have my hearing able nephew apply those.

  20. Vera March 27, 2024 at 3:25 pm #

    It’s pretty good! I was very surprised. If I didn’t know it was AI, I wouldn’t have guessed. Better than some human narrators, a pleasant voice. Thank you.

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