Software & Hardware Reviews

Software Reviews: March - April 2023

Software and hardware reviews since 1995


March 2, 2023

How to Create an Audio Book from Your Text Novel, the Easy Way

by Howard Berenbon

After publishing Casinos in Space, my second science fiction novel inspired by my love of ocean cruises the seas, I decided I’d like to make it into a free audio book for a few reasons.  I wanted to tell my story, loosely based my college friends, centered on one friend who died of a brain tumor at the age of 47.  I basically knew how to convert the book to audio, which would require maybe 100 or more hours of reading, and that’s when I came up with the idea on how to avoid hours of reading.  The solution was to let my computer do the talking.  Great idea, and it could be done.  So I searched for an inexpensive text to audio software.  Turns out, Windows 10 had what I need for free.   OneNote for Windows would do it. All I needed was to drop each chapter into a note, and run the Immersive Reader utility, and I had the solution.  However, it wasn’t as easy as I thought.  The software had some bugs, and I had to listen to each read to catch the problems. While listening, I found errors in each chapter that needed to be corrected before recording the final audio chapter.  That slowed my progress.  In the end, it took about a year to convert the thirty one chapters in Casinos in Space.  Now, it’s error free on Amazon.

Then, in January I discovered ChatGPT, and I had an idea.   I would ask the AI for assistance in writing a report on how to create an audio book.  It would definitely be a time saver if I could get the AI guy to help me write.  Then, when done, I’d use my teleprompter to read for my Youtube video.  Watch my Youtube video below to see the outline ChatGPT created for me with advice on how to create an audio book.  It’s very cool I had some help in writing this review, and if you have something to create for work or school, you can try it too. So, my question at the prompt was “Please write an outline on how to create an audio book, right to the point, then I asked it to write a script around the outline, and it did it, in about ten seconds.  Very impressive!   So, I am about to read what the chatty guy gave me.  Now, the steps offered are very thorough and helpful, and would work, but it wasn’t exactly what I did. If you can wait a bit, I’ll talk about the differences later.

So, I asked it to write me an outline and here’s what it said.  But instead of my voice, I used the OneNote Immersive Reader to convert the text to audio. Let me know what you think in the comments.
OneNote is limited to two voices, one male and one female. In creating my audio book, I selected the female voice because it sounded a little more natural.  However, you can tell it’s not human!

Now, those steps are very important, but I stopped at step 4 because I wasn’t going to read it on my own.  You can if you want, and if you do, you’ll need to practice reading out loud, and record a few paragraphs to see how you sound.  It may help to get advice from a professional reader, like someone who works in broadcasting, preferably a radio news announcer.  In fact a childhood friend who started in broadcasting in Detroit, was an on air radio news director and he’s shared some of his techniques so I can sound better recording my Youtube videos.

Please click play below for the complete review


Casinos in Space, a free SciFi Audio Book

by Howard Berenbon

Please click this link to visit Science Fiction Theater for all 30 chapters now online, a free audio book.

A novel about a group of scientists who travel with their wives on a starship to a distant planet for gambling and relaxation. While on the ship, they spend their time in a replica of the Las Vegas Strip for gambling, and eat at Las Vegas style buffets and fine restaurants. Paul Erickson, one of the members, reluctantly goes on the vacation because he is grieving the death of his brother from brain cancer. Right from the start, Paul was acting erratic and his friends were concerned. And to their surprise, Paul went missing, nowhere to be found.

Casinos in Space Cover

Casinos in Space Chapter 30: Excerpt, Backtrack to the Boardwalk