"Life is full of surprises, especially when you're on a journey to take your dreams by the horns," Stu Duncan muses. A self-published author with a burning desire to translate his digital novels into audiobooks, Stu found himself standing at the precipice of a daunting mountain: steep costs and intricate technicalities.
The first shockwave came when Stu obtained a quote for his audiobook production. The figures were a slap in the face. "The costs were astronomical, far beyond the reach of my humble writer's budget," he recalls. Yet, his second nature, a vigorous DIY spirit, refused to be silenced. Instead, it spurred him on a quest to seek alternative paths. He became his own beacon of hope.
Stu was confident about navigating the complex labyrinth of recording hardware. His optimism, however, hit a brick wall when confronted with the mammoth task of audio editing. He was well acquainted with the intricacies from previous editing ventures, and knew that perfecting it was no easy feat. "Imagine having a grueling monster in front of you that people spend years studying in universities to conquer. That was audio editing for me," says Stu.
In the midst of his herculean battle, Stu stumbled upon an unexpected solution in the guise of computer voices. Driven by a blend of curiosity and research-fatigue, he decided to experiment. "I was skeptical at first," he admits. "Yet, when I clicked on the demo button, I was stunned. The voices were nearly human. They had come a long way from the robotic monotones I was used to."
His initial excitement was quickly smothered by a harsh reality check. Quality often came at a steep price. Commercial usage rights? Even more expensive. Stu felt himself being dragged back into a frustrating deadlock.
Then, like a shaft of light piercing through the gloom, an online discussion led him to 'Kukarella'. With a rich variety of lifelike voices, affordable pricing, and inclusive commercial rights, it seemed tailor-made for his needs. As a litmus test, Stu played a Kukarella-voiced sample for his wife. He framed it as a prospective 'narrator' he was considering hiring. Her approval solidified his decision. "The moment she said 'go for it', I knew I'd struck gold," he says, the memory still bringing a spark to his eyes.
But the narrative doesn’t end there. His first foray into creating an audiobook using Kukarella brought about another startling realization. "Why have a single narrator when each character could have their voice?" he asked himself. It was an epiphany. The result? Stu restarted his entire project, but the outcome was well worth it. His novels took on a new life, each character distinctively voiced.
The road was fraught with challenges, but each setback only fuelled his resolve. Reflecting on his transformative journey, Stu observes, "It's fascinating how adversity propels us to push boundaries and discover possibilities we never knew existed."
Having converted three novels into audiobooks, Stu now stands tall, looking back at the path he's tread. His adventures started with a simple desire to tell stories, a host of obstacles, and an accidental revelation. You can sample Stu’s work at Stu Duncan's Books.
For authors considering a similar journey, Stu advises, "Embrace the hurdles, they make your victory all the more sweet. And remember, the best destinations often lie along the most unexpected routes. Kukarella was that route for me."
With a glint in his eye, Stu adds, "You're never too old to set out on a new journey. Mine was more thrilling than I could have ever imagined."
You can listen to samples from Stu Dunkan's books on his website https://duncansoftware.com