What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor, indexer, and proofreader. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Meet the proprietor in a rare moment of dozing, with four-month-old Franny:


Slavery made many free white Jamaicans very rich; by the middle of the eighteenth century, Jamaicans would be the wealthiest Britons outside of Britain. As historian Trevor Burnard has shown, the average white man in Jamaica was more than thirty-six times wealthier than the average white man in the thirteen mainland colonies. Only four men in all of New England and the middle colonies had wealth that exceeded the wealth of the average white Jamaican. (emphasis added)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Today's Great Customer Comment

One of my publishers asks me to bid on a large novelization of some ancient stories. Large, like 800-900 manuscript pages, and you can look at my rate sheet and do the math yourself.

The author responds, "I already spent a lot of money with a content editor. Why should I spend more on a copyeditor?"

Very reasonable question, to which I can usually, through a page or two of sample editing, offer quite damning evidence of why a copyeditor provides essential value.

The managing editor for the press asks if I can do a sample edit to show the author what he'll get for his money. In perhaps the first time in -- well -- forever, I tell a client that, indeed, the manuscript is in such good shape that the $4K or so spent on copyediting would be misused funds . . . and it would be such easy money. Through a sampling of different parts of the document, I can find virtually nothing I would change.

The publisher is presently recovering from a serious operation (N.B., DB: not a lobotomy). The managing editor passed along that the publisher thought she'd taken too much Oxycontin before reading my email.

What was that old image I used? Maybe those days are behind me.

But don't count on it.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Oh, Those Wacky Academics

Even though the topics may change over time, much of my labor still involves pressing my nose to the trappings of supposedly informed discourse: footnotes (or author/date citations) and bibliographies. Nothing like editing 12 hours of such documentation to the exclusion of any running text. But I guess that's a production decision.

Such citations are important, one is given to understand. My grad-school son and girlfriend were at the house during finals period in the spring and had me giving their APA documentation in a semester-end paper the once-over.

One of my esteemed publishers -- esteemed because they send me paychecks, albeit a bit sluggishly -- has me edit the text and then deal with the author's review of my copyedit. In other words, I get to see what edits they override, what mistakes I overlooked (he writes, mea culpingly), and what they choose to ignore.

I'm presently reviewing a manuscript that I sent back to the publisher in October 2014, for chrissakes, and the author just managed to get around to reviewing the text. That cutting edge dulls a bit with time, buddy.

Routine queries involve places in which the author/date citations don't match up with the bibliography or where the author should be citing a particular fact.

Author for this book has simply deleted many of the queries where the information disagreed -- and deleted the citation itself as well. Simply too busy to do the legwork, I guess. So now what appears? Either what seems like an unsubstantiated fact or a wee bit of something that smacks of, uh, violation of fair use -- or perhaps lack of intellectual integrity. Is there a nicer word for that?

A representation of a null set, so the site sez

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Today's Word Is

In Rome, the mentally handicapped could not inherit an estate or participate in “legal activity.” Some who escaped tardocide (the killing of those considered to be “idiots”) became “objects of display and amusement for the rich.” They were “lacking understanding, similar to children,” with no “legal capacity.”

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Drawing That Line in the Sand

But thanks to this work, people from all over learned about the repression [in Nicaragua]. I was told the bloody dictator of Uganda, Idi Amín, was compared to Somoza and he became furious and said he could eat the liver of his enemies but he did not bomb his own people like Somoza.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Peace on You

Scroll down for a refreshing golden shower update.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

That's What This Blog Is All About, Charlie Brown

This blog serves, as the header above states, as my business's website. Thanks to the Google for the cyberrealestate. I've attracted over time clients from Kuwait and Australia, not to mention Oxford University Press, based on people who've found this work diary. That was back in the day when the Google's algorithms were a variation on the old Stalin line: "Paper tolerates anything written on it."

Tangent: You know the line attributed to Stalin, "To make an omelette you have to break a few eggs"? Seems that he cribbed that from my notorious cousin Lazar Kaganovich, although Lazar probably picked it up from somewhere else. For all of his, uh, charms, I don't think that original thought was high on Iron Lazar's list.

Anyway, even in spite of the Google's algorithm changes, a year or so ago, the author of a nascent Fred Neil biography found a posting I'd done about one of the few surviving video clips of the late, great Fred Neil. Alas, in the interim we've met and hit it off quite nicely, and tomorrow I'll receive the complete manuscript.

The notion that I'll have a heavy hand in a Fred Neil biography is one of the things that makes my crazy work life worthwhile. That, and nailing a friend's father years back for telling me he taught ethics at the School of the Americas with the line, "How interesting. A good friend of mine did the original English translation of Gutierrez's A Theology of Liberation." Perhaps my greatest party moment ever -- well, at least in my mind. You could just about see the steam coming out of this man's ears. No telling how many times he'd gotten away with that line.

Not as dumb as I look,

I remain,

Yr. humble and obedient servant,

[drum roll]

Geo. Washington

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Put Out That Candle, Diogenes

I've said before somewhere on this blog that when I mention to a press that I think a book's got problems, the press is usually aware of it already.

New indexing client, and I was so bold as to offer this slightly edited in-progress report:

"The index is presently running about 26 double-spaced pages, short of the allotted 34. I didn't try to hold back on length when indexing. As any of my clients can tell you, if anything I'm usually trying to cut my original data drastically to make the text fit. I think the length is more a factor of the book's organization. The author is fond of the 'say what you'll say, say it, say what you've said' approach -- not only within chapters but through the whole book. Too, the same ground sometimes seems to be covered in two or three places (at least), and as an indexer I'm not fond of sending readers to multiple pages only to find the same information. I hope my approach is okay. I've also tried to follow the press guidelines on not trying to outline the book or capture every detail. Having said all that, I don't feel that someone looking at the index would conclude that I'd cut any corners."

Response (slightly edited)

"Thanks for this update, Bob. Your approach to indexing this book sounds right. You don't need to hit the max no. of pages. This author's dissertation advisor should have steered him away from this topic, which sounds good but is almost impossible to pull off and still do justice to all the issues involved. So I'm not surprised at the vacuity you have encountered. We rejected the ms at one point, but a 'friend of the Press' thought we should reconsider."


"Vacuity." That's some harsh stuff.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Learn Something New Every Day in This Line of Work: Golden Shower Update

I posted the following back on June 11, thinking I was clever. If you've read this post already, please revisit.


Man, and I thought the New Testament was whack. . . .

Don’t you remember the myth, Justin, how Zeus in the form of a golden shower descends upon the virgin daughter of King Argos, Danaë, from whom Perseus then subsequently issues forth?


A "golden shower"? Wow.

Thanks to Messrs. Merriam and Webster for capturing for posterity what most folks, except maybe this author, seem to know:

Main Entry:golden shower

 : the act of urinating on another person usually as part of a sex act


The proofs I worked on arrived at the press on June 17, and the following email exchange ensued, with the title, "Zeus & Danaë, per Klimt."

Managing Editor: Interpret as you will. /D

LandonDemand: Huh. When I checked some references, they all referred to a shower of gold, which this could depict. However, that's different from a golden shower. If, indeed, this is showing a golden shower, then Zeus must have consumed a godlike amount of Nepenthe before delivering it.

Managing Editor: hey, he’s a god; his capacities are infinite, including his capacity for perversion (ask Leda & Io, to name just a couple)

LandonDemand: But I'm keeping an open mind.

Managing Editor: always important when dealing w/ a deity

LandonDemand: So, ultimately, the phrase "golden shower" and its present-day connotation was entirely willful and intentional on the author's part? Was the "shower of gold" I read numerous references to just an obfuscation / G-rated version of the original text?

Managing Editor: let it go, Bob; you’ve done your job, and I appreciate it. Google results for “golden shower” (in quotation marks) + Danae: 41K hits; for “shower of gold” + Danae, 29K hits. Moreover, most readers of this book—probably the vast majority of readers of this book—will be blissfully ignorant of any naughty meaning. And if you change it to “of gold,” you have two “of” phrases in rapid succession, and it’s simply not reworking further to protect a reader from naughtiness. In fact, I applaud a little subversive naughtiness.

LandonDemand: Thanks. I'm just trying to fill in the education I missed all along the way.

Managing Editor: as are we all—or should be anyway. I just learned that New Hampshire and Vermont are so topographically different because each is from a different continent, which smushed together and then split again, leaving a different landmass mix.

LandonDemand: That might explain the Manchester Union-Leader in one state and Bernie Sanders next door.

Managing Editor: That’s what one of my fellow managing editors said, only in less polite terms.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Hoping This Doesn't Become Regular

A few days ago, another friend of the family suffered what will end up being a fatal heart attack, if the next few days play out as the doctors expect. Woman around 60 without prior heart problems, husband had just retired, and they'd planned all the things they'd be doing in their leisure.

If these things happen in threes and I'm number three, well, it's been -- uh -- it's hard exactly to classify what it's been, whatever "it" is.

I guess working in my favor is that I do indeed have some heart health issues and have been warned. My father, from what the doctors say, shouldn't be sucking air at all at this point because of heart problems, but he looks and feels pretty good.

No sense.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Bill Leonard, RIP

Just another week (actually, this all kinda came together on the same day, if I remember correctly [questionable]):

Three-day stomach virus concomitant with panic attack? Check.

Home water heater ceases to function? Check.

First friend made out of college dies unexpectedly out of nowhere? Fifty-eight years old and no apparent prior health issues? Check.

Bill Leonard, whom I first came to know while proofreading airline timetables and lottery tickets in Atlanta in 1981-1982, had a heart attack while hiking with his dogs in Asheville, NC. I went to the celebration of his life yesterday and saw a lot of folks with incredible memories whom I hadn't seen in 30-plus years. Plenty of stories that I'd heard and not heard. The fleeting incidents that managed to stick in their heads for all of this time blew me away. I'm lucky if I can remember the manuscript I was working on earlier in the day.

This commercial printing joint where I met Bill did, however, spawn three people who ended up writing or editing for a living -- the third remains one of my dearest friends in the world -- so there's something to be said for slave labor right out of college, although it helps that it's in one's desired field.

Bill leaves behind a wife and two daughters, both of whom are far too young to have their very devoted father taken away from them.

Bill was a witty, brilliant, talented communicator who had deep knowledge and love of many issues and activities -- and he was perfectly happy to remind you in detail of any of those at the drop of a hat. He was a life-lover in the extreme. And if whatever you brought up didn't measure up with his standards, he'd tell you that, too. Imagine how special a person . . . who could proudly live up to that description -- and still have legions of admirers.

Once, at a mutual friend's wedding reception, the czarina mentioned that we were in Bristol now, and Bill and his family should come up and visit. Bill's response? "Why would I do that? Asheville's better." Classic Bill.

Sad day . . . and throwing off plenty of harmonic echoes in my own world. The drive back from Asheville and some of the hours since have been some of the more introspective and psychically disruptive of my life.

Going to a Reiki session tomorrow -- my first. The timing cannot be coincidental.

See ya, Bill. It ain't right. Your life was honored well, but you know that.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Another Author Bites Back

Fiction author for whom I've edited five or six books has a character in the most recent tome who shape-shifts into a venomous snake -- evil's right hand. The character's cover story? Freelance copyeditor.

Thanks, boss.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Just a Brutal Sentence

African liberative theologies will persevere and be fruitful through the consistent appropriation of Christian faith made possible by the inculturation that draws out meanings in African cultural values in the light of the changes and transformations these cultural values have undergone in response to various agents of social transformation on account of modernity and multifaceted globalizing trends.

Another Happy Customer

Oh, that they were all this easy to please:

I just love all your periods and commas! Gives such a feeling of security!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Author Fights Back

I love this. One of my publishers has produced about a dozen of this particular author's works. Every six months he comes out with another little book of religious writings (about 80 m/s pages). If I had to classify the genre, and for as long as the Google lets this video sit here, please enjoy:

So his current manuscript comes in with this section in the Preface. Fight the power!

Special Note to My Publisher and Editor, as Well as to All Readers
            It may not be politically correct to adopt such a change in policy. But this is to serve notice that, from hence forth, I plan to capitalize not only nouns but all pronouns that refer to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. By way of further example, since Jesus is the “light of the world,” I will capitalize the word Light when it refers to Jesus as being the Light. The same with the Lord as being Provider, Guide, and Companion—also the Light of His Presence.
            Enough said! Hopefully you get the idea. I may miss a word here and there, but at least you get the drift of my intentions. That’s one good thing about self-publishing: the author has the last word! 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Bibliographic Entry of the Day

Been good to know ya.

So, R. J. and Long, H. (2013). Network Analysis and the Sociology of Modernism. Boundary 2, 40(2): 147–82, doi:10.1215/01903659-2151839.


The Google, maybe in cahoots with the evil Facebook, has apparently seen fit to remove the photo of John Cale, the czarina, and me that used to appear at this posting. That kinda sucks.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Stick Around Long Enough

If you read a few million words a month, every month, rain or shine, sooner or later you come across a gem.

From the current project:

While the president decried Kristallnacht, he announced there would be no change in America’s harsh immigration laws. Strict numeric quotas would remain in place, effectively closing the nation’s doors to the large number of Jews seeking refuge in the United States. But some courageous American leaders pressed for increased immigration. Following Kristallnacht, in February 1939, Senator Wagner and Representative Edith Nourse Rogers (1881–1960), a Massachusetts Republican, cosponsored a bill permitting twenty thousand German Jewish children, a modest number, to enter the United States as nonquota immigrants. Eleanor Roosevelt unsuccessfully urged her husband to support the bipartisan Wagner-Rogers bill. Anti-Semites and isolationists attacked the legislation, as did the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the bill died in committee.

FDR’s cousin, Laura Delano Houghteling (1893–1978), whose husband was the US commissioner for immigration and naturalization, opposed the Wagner-Rogers legislation, declaring, “Twenty thousand charming children would all too soon grow into 20,000 ugly adults.”[i]

[i] Richard Cohen, “Muffling the Drums of War with Iran,” Washington Post, October 1, 2012.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I'll say . . .

McCracken, G. (1988). The Long Interview. Vol. 13. SAGE, Newbury Park, CA.