Text To Speech As An Editing Aid For Indie Authors And Writers
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Text to speech as an editing aid is something fairly new to me. I recently purchased some Text To Speech software to increase the accessibility of my website. I had always had the aim to have each of my book product pages rendered in audio to assist access to the content. Audio is a good option for dyslexia, vision impairment as well as other accessibility use cases.
Audio options like podcasts, audiobooks etc are now mainstream and listening to a page is perfect for those who love to multi-task. Hence why I went looking for a comprehensive, realistic and affordable Text To Speech tool. After trying out a number of different tools I landed upon Blakify.
Now like most folks in today’s modern world I multi-task, continuously jumping between different projects. On the night I purchased Blakify I was editing chapter seven of my current work in progress, The Silence In The Song. A monstrous 150 K epic fantasy novel with science fiction elements. My developmental editor had made extensive notes on this chapter and it was slow going for me. Changing the P O V, and other challenges had me grinding to a halt multiple times, when this happens I usually take a break and distract myself before diving back in headfirst.
After purchasing Blakify, one of the first tests I ran with its text to speech software was seeing how it would pronounce my fantasy characters names. I had already sampled the output and was impressed with the human voice so I thought it would be interesting to see how the A I pronounced the names of my fantasy characters. Would they be similar to how I pronounce them in my head? So I took the complete chapter I had been working on and plugged it straight into Blakify. As the A I began to read out loud what I had written, I began to smile. It was joyous, hearing an American voice (I’m Scottish), reading my ideas, bringing what I had written to life. And it felt good. After the initial delight, I started to notice spelling and grammatical mistakes as well as phrasing issues, after all the A I just reads aloud what you have written. As it delivered my work back to me, I saw paragraphs I had written, rewritten and read a thousand times with a new light. Just hearing the material read out loud, and not in my mind was such a breath of fresh air.
I think Reader blindness is real, well to an extent. I have been working on this book for over a decade and I have read every line a hundred times, and sometimes my brain just fills in what’s on the page. I stop seeing things. I then spent the rest of the evening using Blakify to assist in editing the chapter. I plugged the whole chapter in and it read it out loud. I would then pause when I heard the mistakes, correct them in my document and continue. Text to speech as an editing aid brought clarity to my work, brought a renewed sense of accomplishment and a fresh set of eyes. I really can’t express how excited I was in realising that this tool that I had purchased for one application had instantly become a super tool in another.
So what is Text To Speech Software?
Using the power of A I (Artificial intelligence) Blakify.com produces from your words life like, or human-like narration of any text. When I was searching for a review to purchase, I heard it described as a poor man’s voice artist. However, upon testing the tools available the quality of the A I voices blew me away.
Example of the voices generated by Text To Speech.
A review of my SEO Book.
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How can Text to speech software improve your writing skills?
So far for me, it has worked as an aid. Like my own personal voice artist that reads over my work out loud and allows me to hear the words, written as they actually are, not as my brain perceives them to be. Allowing me another tool to refine my work. My current workflow now includes Pro Writing Aid and Blakify, these two tools have, I believe improved my writing skill and writing accuracy. In turn, allowing me to finish drafts to a higher standard before submitting to beta readers and then the final edit.
Text to speech as an editing aid.
This software can help you identify proper spelling and spelling errors and is therefore good for anyone with a difficulty with spelling. There are many challenges in editing, and a lot of indie authors use specific tools designed as editing aid for writers, like Grammarly, Pro Writing Aid to assist in their editing process and editing sessions. Adding another tool, to improve your prose is for me the very ethos of DIY, self-publishing.
Quality of the human voices.
Below I have linked another example, as you can hear for yourself, the voice options are really impressive. And the best thing is they will only improve with time.
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Text To Speech Audio Books?
Yes, I have been thinking that as well. First off I do not think the technology in its current evolution will replace fiction audiobooks. As the skill, a great voice artist brings is still beyond the reach of A I and tech to speech technologies. However, I believe that this software is good enough for simple Non-fiction titles and I plan to road test this on my shortest book, “80 ideas to market your business” stay tuned to see how this goes. Another key factor here is price, Text to speech audiobook narration is far cheaper and far more accessible than a voice artist!
The other ways in which an Indie author could use a Text to Speech tool.
Book Launches, book promotions and book marketing require lots of content, using a tool like Blakify to generate audio reviews, small read through snippets, book summaries and more. Perfect content for your website, newsletter and social media channels.
For the self-publishing author, I think this tool could be extremely valuable and a worthy investment as a part of your author business. From edit assistance to various promotional use cases, to audiobook drafts on the cheap.
Check it out here. (Not affiliated)
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Note: “Read Aloud” is a function integrated into Microsoft Word. The quality of the voice is not as good as those generated via AI but as an editing aid directly integrated into word, it is invaluable.