Speechify: My experience so far

For a long time I wondered if there was an app that would read my ebooks to me without having to buy the audiobook that accompanies them. Turns out Speechify can do that.

I hadn’t heard of it until Sanderson talked about it in one of his recent videos. Apparently the founder of the platform said he invented it to help with his dyslexia; you upload documents to the app, and it reads them back to you while highlighting the words that it’s playing. There are, naturally, other applications for this, but that was its inception.

The technology is still kind of new and rough, but I paid for a whole year up front because I want it to refine and succeed. Funding and feedback are the ways to make that happen.

So, here’s a list of things I’ve noticed as I’ve used the service so far.

  1. It can read ebooks to you, but you have to upload them into your library on your account. It will accept PDFs and DOCX documents, but not the direct AZW format, which is what the Kindle uses. In order to convert those you’ll need some kind of third-party software like Calibre.
  2. That’s been fine, except that some of my ebooks have DRM enabled and Calibre doesn’t automatically break that. I’ve had trouble figuring out how to make that happen.
  3. The voices are computer-generated, and somewhat generic based on their sex or nationality, which you can select from a list of options. They also have two celebrity voices right now, and those are Snoop Dogg and Gwyneth Paltrow. Kind of cool.
  4. One of the downsides is that it’s hard to just listen for long periods of time, because the app doesn’t integrate natural inflection into its playback. You can tell you’re listening to a computer reading something to you. I assume this feature will improve over time, and with modification.
  5. Sometimes the playback doesn’t read numbers correctly. In the same document I’ve noticed it reads fractions as “five and a half” and “five one slash two.” I’m not sure what triggers the difference.
  6. You can take a picture of a page of text from a book and it will read it to you. If the text includes footnote references, it’ll also say the letter of the footnote, exactly where it appears in the text. Uploading a tidy document is critical.
  7. Since the app performs real-time dictation, it needs a steady Internet connection to read whatever you’re giving it. If you’ve got spotty cell service you can expect a lot of interruptions during playback. I haven’t listened for any extended periods of time while at work, which is kind what I was looking forward to. I’ll keep trying this in different parts of town to see how it works.

For the most part though, I like it and I hope it keeps ironing out the kinks.

State of the Dread: January 8-14

He’s a cool dude.


It pleases me to announce that I will finish draft 2 of HOWLING WILDERNESS this week. Once it is done I will contact beta readers for feedback, and I won’t touch it for six weeks.

While it is down, I will publish at least one paperback edition of an old project.


Last week I read GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE, HOGS IN THE SAND, and INTO THE LIGHT. There is a review pending on that last one at UpstreamReviews.com.

This week I have HELL AND BACK, TRESS OF THE EMERALD SEA, and AN HONEST PRESIDENT on deck. If I blast them all out, MAGNIFICENT NINE will probably happen too.

That’s a Longmire book, a Sanderson KickstarterX4 book, a bio of Grover Cleveland, and a Firefly novel.


Toying with new Radcracker art.


The GI Joe thing is fun and cool, but I think there is still something weird going on with Radcracker. My most recent episode hit 5100 plays in 3 days. Then it stopped. The episode right before that was just about as fast. I’m entering a beta phase with Anchor on ads, so I’m not making any money off the listens. I’ll have to find another way to earn money off it.


Channel link here. Didn’t do one last week. I’d like to this week, I just don’t know what about. Then again it’s about as simple as grabbing a book off my shelf, sitting down in the shop, and flapping my lips about it. Y’all know I can do that for a solid twenty minutes.


I did 500 pushups at work, which is less than it sounds because it was 100 per day, in sets of 20. It was cool though. Follow on Twitter, hashtag #PectoCracker

This week I want to do a few more iso sessions in Fortress Fatphobia. I only did one, I’m aiming for three now.

Happy New Year. Buy something from me.

Hi guys.

I’ve been blogging and publishing and making videos for years. Every year I try to have some success at it but it usually just costs me money.

Pretty tired of not being good enough at this to sell anything. Not sure exactly how to change that so I am trying this.

WordPress costs me about 75 bucks per year. If I can sell 100 bucks worth of books off this site (profit, not gross) I will continue it into 2024. It just renewed in December of 2022 so I’ve got a full year to try this out.

I also started a substack, it’s crackerstack.substack.com. It replaces my Patreon for now. Nothing is really set up yet but I’m just letting you know.

I’m at that point. Let’s ride.

Kill The Beast https://a.co/d/0pDDN9k

Old Time Christmas Radio

With my budding love for old time radio productions and vintage music, YouTube keeps throwing things at me to feed the addiction.

I found this playlist of old time Christmas radio programs. I’ll listen to them over the next two weeks (!!!). Jump in if you like.

Christmas Books I’m Gonna Check Out

Aiight so by the time this posts I will probably have read one of these, but I don’t care and neither do yoooooooooooou

The Wizard of Oz guy takes a crack at Santa’s origins. Interesting. Looks like he wrote sequels but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Started this once, but never finished it. I may yet, despite its publisher, because Simon Vance is one of my stealth favorite narrators. We’ll see. This book is a backstory for Marley from A Christmas Carol. Why do people think they can just write a tie-in to a seasonal classic and get away with it?

I did the audio and this one was actually pretty heartwarming.

I remember almost nothing about this book. Remember how I worked in Park City in December? I spent all of January trying to forget that, it was freaking Hell Month.

Should probably re-read it. My review on GR said it was fun.

Christmas books I’ve read…

I bought the nice HC edition and I read a handful of them to my kids every year.

Great little production with a full-cast narration. Would listen again.

I’ve read a few in this series and I skipped ahead to read the Christmas one. It’s fine, if you’re into culinary mysteries then this one will scratch the itch for you. It’s a change of pace from my normal procedural reading because the protagonist is a mid-fifties woman, but she reads like a real person.

There was another book I suddenly can’t think of…they made us promote it back when I worked at Deseret Book, it was basically a Salt Lake City version of A Christmas Story, only the kid wanted to go sledding or something, instead of getting a BB gun. I dunno, it was all right, it wasn’t great, and Deseret Book is run by a bunch of cultural Marxists these days anyway, so eh.

Oh and there was this:

I’ll put a review up at Upstream, but it’s really cool. A zombie story on Christmas Eve, and Nate’s a good writer.

Read any of these, I don’t care. We’re in December, BABY!

Chances are good I’ll hit 75 books…

…by the end of November.

I’m at 74 right now and I’m partway through 75, so come on, really. Haha.

I was sorting through my to-read list for December. Only one Christmas book so far, but then I saw this Hallmarkian Christmas Romance and thought what the hell, I can throw on some plaid and review that in my shop.

I’ve also got an L. Frank Baum/Santa Claus thing to read, provided it doesn’t suck.

Gotta finish strong. I didn’t put the dent in my list that I wanted to this year, so next year is going to be an all-out blitz. Haha. If I start up a machine where I feed in audiobooks and spit out videos, that’s fine. It increases the odds of me actually making money off this stuff, lol.

Anyway, here’s what I’m listening to that’ll round out November. I assume the publisher ruled out Lockley’s original title of “Ninja WHAAAAAT?”