Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Starting the read

At this point the book changed our lives in a couple of different ways.
1. The way that we interacted with what we ate.

I would challenge you to read this book. Pay close attention to the chapter "Million Mile Chicken". Just to TRY to bring you some meat from an animal that lived close to you (think about the gas used for transport, refrigeration, it really does add up quickly), the farmer has to fight, argue, fill out paperwork, spend time that could have been used doing more productive things than negotiating with buyers, etc. You may begin to question the label "Fresh" on the product you buy at the grocery store.

2. I moved to making any spare time that I had into reading time. After getting the book and the microphone in the mail, I started recording. Here are some lessons learned:
- Make sure that the version of Audacity you are using is the most current version. I realized, after recording the first two chapters several times, and each time when attempting to save the whole program shutting down, I found that I didn't have the most updated version. This created a lot of anger and frustration with the whole project. About three weeks were wasted here, with lots of technical intervention from Vince. I don't have much patience for details once I start to get frustrated!

In the meantime, I got a response from Joel!
--- Beginning of message ---

from Joel Salatin
to Theresa Lyons
date Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 9:54 PM
subject Re: Everything I Want to Do is Illegal

Apr 21

Hi Theresa--

Oh, of course read it with gusto--great drama and verve.

This sounds great. I'm in no rush--just go at your pace and let me know
how you get along.

Many thanks.


Sunday, September 26, 2010


As an audio book presenter, you may spend time trying to figure out how to present the author's work in their own likeness. Go ahead, Google Joel Salatin, you'll understand then how many things we have in common physically.

I set out online to try to hear his voice. Not necessarily to imitate it, but to at least familiarize myself with the way he talks. My Mom and Dad would always tell me "Make sure you don't put the emphasis on the wrong sill-laab-bull."

I figured my best bet would be to ask him how he would like this book read. It's a VERY different genre than what I was used to hearing as an audio book, so I figured ANY guidance would be good!

--- Beginning of email ---

Theresa Lyons
to Joel Salatin
date Sat, Apr 17, 2010 at 8:52 AM
subject Re: Everything I Want to Do is Illegal

Hi Joel,
I just wanted to write a follow up email. Certain things have fallen
through, and other things have turned out positively! I've ordered
your book from Amazon so I can return the library copy and not mark it
up. I've also purchased a microphone online, and recording software is
easy to come by. Both of those should come in the mail this week.

My goal is to have the book read in 3 months. If there's a reason you
would like it to be done sooner, simply communicate that to me, and
I'll ramp up my time working on it. (Also, see Proverbs 16:9, because
God knows about schedules more than I do).

My question for you is, do you have any comments on how you would like
for me to read the book? Like "with gusto", or "just read it
straight", or "whatever". I've never heard you talk before, except
for an excerpt in "Food Inc.", so I'm going to listen to whatever I
can find on youtube to get an idea about what your voice sounds like.
I'm sure this request about how to read the book may sound weird, but
as my dad says "Don't put the accent on the wrong se labble".

Thanks for your input, and I'm excited to do this! I've already talked
to several folks about this, who are interested in hearing the
information, which makes it even better.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

space and equipment

Two more topics to digress on for this post!

Space: I am lucky, no I am blessed, to have a very strange neighbor. The house next to ours is the house where his parents lived, and he grew up. He actually lives across the street from us, and owns the house next to us. I haven't been in the house next door, but evidently, it's the same as it was when his parents died. This means that the house is quiet, except for when Fred sets off fireworks. He likes to do this, but I like him anyway because we're the same temperment.

Anyway, it was MOSTLY quiet in a our back bedroom, since that's the room furthest from the road and closest to the "no one lives here" house. Sometimes, Fred's friend Jason, uses the that driveway to move stuff around with big machines, but generally not until after he starts drinking (around 9am).

Well, back to the space. I decided on the back bedroom as the place to record, knowing that was the best option. In general the quieter, the better. You can't do anything about ghetto-copters (learned that too).

Something else you never think about is the fact that the microphone needs to be close to your mouth, and the laptop. Close but not too close, the water to drink close but not close enough to spill all over yourself, the book and the laptop.

Eventually, I'll add a picture of the set up to this page.

Now let's think about equipment. I'm used to recording in VERY expensive sound studios, where all you do is saunter up to the microphone to speak.

I asked some friends if they had a microphone to spare, but no one did. We saved up some money, and I bought this wonderful microphone:


I think the best part about it is that it's multi use. It has a switch for multi or single directional, so it's good for podcasting or single reading.

In addition, the price was VERY reasonable--- only $80.00 on Amazon.

Next, I needed a copy of the book that wasn't the library's. That was pretty cheap too $15.00.

Finally, the laptop. We have two of them, A Dell Inspiron that I use that we've had to replace the hard drive twice on (Runs Linux only because of it's unreliability), and Vince has a HP TX 1300.

Finally, software is what I needed. I found a version of Audacity online, and downloaded it onto my computer.

You'll hear more about troubleshooting all of the problems on another post. Suffice it to say, that's all we needed!

Monday, September 20, 2010


Well, I hope the last post was helpful as to defining the details involved with voicing an audio book. Let's move along!

Moving along (Star Wars reference) , lets look at time:

- Time
Let's see here. My husband and I both work full time jobs, with a 35 minute drive each way. In addition, we attend about 3 bible studies a week. And we have our own business. This made figuring out when to record . . . challenging. I thought about using a studio, but after looking through how expensive it was to rent time, I decided I'd rather record in my pj's, when I wanted to.

This ended up being time consuming. Firstly, I wanted to record only when I had enough time to get into a groove. Stopping in the middle of a chapter changed the tone and rhythm of the read, and led to general frustration. My personality shows that I'm a senguine (easily distracted), so when I tried to read and then come back to it after doing a chore, I had completely lost my concentration.

The lesson here- Make sure you have at least an hour to read. The phone should be in the other room, don't try cooking dinner while you read, and bring some water or tea in with you to avoid getting up and down.

Total time to read the whole book- April 15th- July 20th.

Did I mention that we have no working television? That helps!

Monday, September 6, 2010

How to begin

Dear reader,
Working in the broadcasting field is like this. You show up to a studio where someone has already bought all of the equipment. As stated earlier, you just play the "dumb voice". Here were some preliminary things I needed to figure out:

- Space

- Equipment

- Time

- Help
I'll start this post with Help. Typically, when an audio book is read, there are several parts to play. Editor, producer, director, script writer, and vocal talent. I asked Vince if he would be willing to edit the audio book as we go. He pointed out that if he made ANY noise in the room while I was recording, I would have his head. He was right. In addition, he pointed out that, like most things, we do things differently. What I would think is important to edit out he may keep in, causing greater conflict. Without knowing it, I became editor, producer, director, script writer, and vocal talent.

You may think that none of these things are actually needed. Trust me, they are! I wasn't about to go out and find people to do that, but I knew I needed to mark up the book for proper reading. In addition, translation was needed. It's actually difficult to translate a book from reading into listening.Also, Joel Salatin is REALLY smart. If you read one of his books, or browse his bookshelf, you realize that most of his life is well thought out. Just in the section before chapter one, I had to figure out how to pronounce the following words, having never spoken to the author:

Names: Jeff Ishee, Nathan Vergin, Matt Rales, Robin Leist, Talleyrand, Stuyvesant, Milo Minderbender.

Online dictionaries, with pronounciation tools, will become your friend. I just kept a window open on my laptop for the following website:


It has a nifty tool that will read the word for you out loud.

I'll cover the next three in my next post.

Still startled!

At this point, I'm still shocked that he even responded to my email. If you read his books, you wonder if you can even get internet service out where he lives. A visit to the farm clarified this. He only has internet by satellite use. He's only allowed to download a certain number of bytes per month.

Evidently, on a saturday morning, we were both online at the same time:

-- beginning of message --

date Sat, Apr 10, 2010 at 8:42 AM
subject Re: Everything I Want to Do is Illegal

Hi Theresa--

Thank you for the insightful email. One of my other books, HOLY COWS AND HOG HEAVEN,
was read by a fan and I have the CD but have not pursued it. Your offer makes me want to go
ahead and pursue this. I have a couple of gals here who would be happy to pursue some leads.

I'd say if you're willing to do this, we'll pursue the duplication and marketing, evening if it's just
on our website, which gets thousands of hits. Meanwhile, the right avenue will show up and
it will be just fine.

You're extremely generous and kind to offer and initiate the process. Let us know how things
progress. I think all we need is a CD, and we'll find out about duplication.

I can't imagine working at a job that is so brainless you could actually listen to audio tapes
and do your work. But what a wonderful opportunity you have to turn it into something positive.

Do come and visit. Many thanks and best regards,

Joel Salatin
Polyface Farm

-- end of message --