I've come to the end of my budget for converting ebooks to audiobooks. The last one for the foreseeable future will be Psycho Electric because I'm over $8,000US in the hole and it doesn't look like I'll earn that back for a couple years, perhaps even longer.
At this point, my options are to not have any more audiobooks, or to use the AI Google is offering for free to provide inferior but acceptable audiobooks for a quarter to a third of the price I'd normally have to ask. The good news gets better from there since all of Google's AI Narrators will learn and improve over time, so the audiobooks I use their tool for today will get updates that correct rough parts and make them sound even more natural.
I'm also going to be offering both the audiobooks that Adam Verner read through as many channels as I can, including Audible, just to see what the results are and to make things extra convenient for everyone. The royalties range from unfair (50% at the top) to abysmal (as low as 8% after contrived expenses at Audible), but I'd rather make sure everyone has access than only work with fair dealers like Authors Direct.
If I manage to earn what I spent back, I'll be hiring talent to work on audiobooks again, but other than getting narrators for short, special projects, I don't see that happening for a while.
On the brighter side, I'm happy that I got into audiobooks because I love the process and result of it - books you can listen to narrated by great people.
Also, thanks to Google's Auto-Narration, I can put temporary versions of these books up for a small price instead of going back to the silence of only releasing ebooks. You can see the current library of these books here, and I ask that you listen to the samples before buying them.
I truly appreciate everyones patience and loyalty while I've gone on this audiobook journey.
Next up, news about the future of Spinward Fringe.