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Writing Advice & Discussion > Cost to have someone read your book out loud?

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message 1: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I'm curious if anyone has paid someone to read their book out loud and record it. I've heard that it's a great way to find out portions that need massaging, but I hate the sound of my own voice (assuming I'd have the patience to read it). I know audio book conversions can run $2K, but I'm not looking for that, just someone to read through and record what's on the page.

Any ideas?

Thanks!


message 2: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah Martin (martinbeks) | 8 comments I've heard if you export it to Kindle, somehow, there's a voice to speech option that you can do to listen to it. It's not audiobook quality, but it helps.
I've also found the exporting it to READ yourself to a kindle is a great way to find things that look really, terribly wrong.


message 3: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Looks wrong, how?

I've thought about the text-to-speech converters, but I have a real problem with image compression artifacts and somehow think I'll not be able to get past the speech artifacts.


message 4: by J.R. (new)

J.R. Alycone | 5 comments There are some apps which purport to do text to speech. I've used one on my iPhone to read documents for work, and it wasn't perfect, but it was usable. You would need to convert your work into a PDF for the program I use. It did have a nominal cost (I think it was under $5). Otherwise, I'd probably look at paying a free-lancer, although depending on the length of the work, it could get expensive. Maybe read a few pages yourself to get an estimate on how long it will take to read your whole work...

You'll definitely ferret out all kinds of errors if you read your work out loud. And you'll also ferret out errors if you read your work in different formats, like Kindle or epub, as Rebekah suggests. I find my eyes skim a Word document, ePub, and a hard copy all differently so whenever I am editing something important for my job, I always look at it all three ways. (In Word on my computer, as a PDF on my iPad, and in hard copy.)


message 5: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I may try that different format and see if that helps. My book is 78K. I suppose doing a test read would give me an idea of the hours, like you say. I don't have to record myself, just time myself.

I'll look into the text-to-speech, but I feel sure I'll keep focusing on the errors in the processing (I'm a programmer) and not on the prose. I have very little control over my brain...


message 6: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah Martin (martinbeks) | 8 comments Keith wrote: "Looks wrong, how?

I've thought about the text-to-speech converters, but I have a real problem with image compression artifacts and somehow think I'll not be able to get past the speech artifacts."


Things that need editing seem to pop out in book format that just don't from the computer. Superfluous words, flow, misspellings, poor punctuation, etc.


message 7: by J.R. (new)

J.R. Alycone | 5 comments Keith wrote: "I may try that different format and see if that helps. My book is 78K. I suppose doing a test read would give me an idea of the hours, like you say. I don't have to record myself, just time myself...."

Just doing some surfing on the web, "The Secret Garden" is listed with a word count of just over 80,000, and the unabridged versions on Audible are listed as being 8 to 8.5 hours long. So I would think your novel being around 78K would take ~ 7-8 hours to read aloud.


message 8: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Hmm. Probably not going to be cheap enough to make the investment worthwhile.

Thanks!


message 9: by J.R. (new)

J.R. Alycone | 5 comments You're welcome. Good luck with your project!


message 10: by Temple (new)

Temple Williams (temple_wms) | 6 comments Take a look at ACX. Assuming your book is acceptable to them, it costs you nothing. They get half of your royalties from the audible, I believe, and they control all of the marketing of it. It's an Amazon company, so you can rely on it for both quality and also for taking a lot of your profit. It is, however, the right price: free. http://www.acx.com/


message 11: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Thanks, but I've been looking at it as a way to identify weaknesses that need addressing.


message 12: by Temple (new)

Temple Williams (temple_wms) | 6 comments You're right that reading it out loud is probably the best form of editing a writer can do. I was an editor at the Reader's Digest for many years, which published books like "Roots" and a lot of Michener's stuff. There used to be a lot of chapped lips in the editorial department. (smile)


message 13: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Arntson | 10 comments I use a text to speech program on my PC. Its called Naturally Speaking. It's a bit robotic (it's the free version but paid comes with better voices). I listen to my WIP for sentences that don't make sense, cadence, and over used words, it's been a strong tool to have on hand.


message 14: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Thanks for the nudge Jennifer. I'm on Linux, so Naturally Speaking doesn't work for me, but at your prodding I've done some research and tested one. It isn't spectacular, but has motivated me to do more research to see if I can find something better.


message 15: by Ima (new)

Ima (erthwitch) | 3 comments Some e-readers also have built in reading apps, and Adobe's PDF also has an option to read documents out loud. I love doing this to listen for mistakes, and repetitive words. Makes it a lot easier to find them when it's in a robotic voice, actually. For cadence, it probably won't work as well because they don't give inflection the way a real human would.


message 16: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments You actually think the robotic voice makes it easier? I found it quite distracting. I suppose, though, if I listened to my whole novel it might start to sound normal after a while.

I've found that reading my prose at different rates gives me different feelings for the words. Particularly helps with repetitive words that way.


message 17: by Ima (new)

Ima (erthwitch) | 3 comments When I'm listening in robotic voice, I'm not listening for story so much as for specific things like wrong words or repetitive words. But before the new Kindles did away with the voice, I did listen to other stories for pleasure and it was irritating at first, lol, but I did get used to it. I used to listen while commuting to work, but then podcasts became available and distracted me from the fiction listening.


message 18: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I've learned that I can only listen to music when I drive. Too scatter brained, I guess; I just can't focus on people's speech if anything else going on. I can only watch movies the same way; any distractions and I'll just turn it off.

Interesting web sites you have. I tried to talk my wife in going rough (I called it 'living like hippies', maybe another choice for description would have been better), but she likes the finer things in life, like reliable electricity, water and light. We did get 28 acres and built a house, but it's a conventional one that sucks electricity, so going off grid would cost well over $50K for us.


message 19: by Ima (new)

Ima (erthwitch) | 3 comments LOL, I just sent a newsletter out to the Wild Ozark followers that talked about the issue of one mate wanting that sort of lifestyle and the other not, and how it affected my own early days out here. Yeah, going "primitive" isn't nearly as inexpensive as the romantic articles make it out to be! I could do without power and the finer things (except running water-I'd like to keep that one!) but it would sure make it hard to do the marketing and publishing parts of being a writer. We live quite a ways out from town.


message 20: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments PM me (I can't PM you) if you'd like to continue this conversation offline, we seem to be drifting from the original point of this thread.


message 21: by John (new)

John Matsui (johnmatsui) | 4 comments I use MS Word's "services" feature to turn text into voice. I use it as a personal editor so I can catch errors that my eyes miss. I usually do one chapter at a time and record it at 2X normal speed so it zips through the material quickly. I can go through the entire 87,000 words in about 5 hours.
It is almost impossible to do your own editing but this is a grand alternative. It also prevents you from doing a lot of "for no good reason tinkering" on your book. You catch errors, weak phrasing, misused words, logical gaps, characters saying what should come from another character's mouth, better consistency with characters, etc. Couple that with a good online editing program such as prowritingaid.com, a better spell checker than word, and a few solid beta readers and the result is amazing.
As a professional editor for 25 years and one who has a lot of friends in the biz, I'm amazed and my friends are astounded how professional the results are.


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