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.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Head Family

(l-r) Chuckle- (Zooey) and Knuckle- (Franny).

Zooey, the Rorschach dog, and Franny, miniature Basset par excellence and Land on Demand mascot.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

This Is More Like It

Two sports books delivered yesterday. For proofreading. One I've already copyedited. The other . . . uhhh . . . buddy, if you're going to bother putting together an incomplete style sheet, have the common courtesy to at least alphabetize it?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Completely Out of My Element

Bears repeating that indexing is sometimes a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey.

I'm working on a book now that is so far beyond my ken that I'm crafting an index based on more than a modicum of intuition, because the text itself is meaningless to me.

There might even be a musicality to this type of indexing, where mellifluous phrases substitute for substance.

The battling tendencies are (a) to overindex -- trying to capture details that hopefully are important -- or (b) to succumb to the MEGO effect and grasp at a catchy clause now and then.

This work is neither easy nor simple. But it'll all be worth it. Sales of this book should hit the dozens.


My namesake

With all due respect to the author:

It would be disastrous if the formalist were forced by this admission to the metamathematical conclusion that there is no fact of the matter whether ZFC is consistent. But Kitcher is not quite forced to this conclusion. The metamathematical, combinatorial claim that there is no proof of “0 = 1” in ZFC is, for all Kitcher says, a fully contentful claim whose truth does not consist in its derivability. That claim might therefore be true, in the ordinary sense, even if the number- theoretic statement Con(ZFC) is neither derivable nor refutable, hence neither true nor false in the only sense appropriate to it. The difficulty is that this severs the link, essential to foundational research in mathematics, between metamathematical claims of consistency and derivability, on the one hand, and the ground- level mathematical claims that we normally take to formalize or code them. This part of mathematics is predicated on the assumption that we can convert modal or combinatorial claims about the consistency of formal systems into mathematical claims— claims about the existence of models or about the existence of (numbers coding) formal derivations. The objection is that Kitcher-style formalism would call this aspect of mathematical practice into question. Understood as a modal/ combinatorial question, the consistency of ZFC appears to be a factual question with an answer— albeit a question we cannot answer within established mathematics. By contrast the mathematical question whether there exists a number that codes a proof of “0 = 1” in ZFC, or the question whether there exists a model of the ZFC axioms, must be understood as a question that has no answer at all, since the candidate answers are underivable in every authorized game and hence untrue in the
only sense pertinent to such claims.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Authors! Listen Up!

1. Using Roman numerals for chapter numbers does not give your manuscript more weight. If you need any reminders, keep this picture in mind:


2. The more italics you use, the less they mean.

3. Don't invent your own citation style. It won't help.

4. Speaking of citation styles, don't use what would appear in a law journal unless you're writing for a law journal. If you're a lawyer writing on a different topic, get over it. No one wants to read citations full of emphasis on the wrong information.

5. If you plan on compiling your own table of contents, write it after the rest of the book is finished to ensure that the text matches up.

6. Punctuation helps, and using it properly is crucial. The marks guide your reader through your thought process. Without punctuation, you have no structure. And without structure you have


Glasses don't work for you either, dearie.

I got my issues with Democrats, too.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Just Because


One of my favorite spots at Gethsemani . . .


On the sculpture garden walk

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Unintended Consequences?

The most entertaining detail of the Joanna [Pope Joan] legend, however, is the chaise percĂ©e, a red porphyry seat which is said to have been used to ensure that subsequent Popes could not practice the same deception. According to Felix Haemerlein’s De Noblitatis et Rusticitata Dialogus (c. 1490), before the election could be confirmed, a junior cleric was deputed to grasp the pontifical testicles through the hole in the chair.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

No Surprise

I'm indexing a book that basically says, as the Firesign Theater once noted, "Everything you know is wrong."

Indexing negatives ain't easy, either.

Snowing here.

UPDATE 1/21/2016: The book, while not a classic, is rather entertaining. It's eviscerating a lot of horseshit scholarship.

Monday, January 18, 2016

My MLK Day Story

I find it hard to believe I've had this blog going for eight or nine years and have never told the Martin Luther King Jr. Day story -- a true tale of America's workplace.

Atlanta, GA, 1981/82: I am working at Dittler Brothers, proofreading airline timetables and lottery tickets about 60 to 70 hours a week with a great cast of characters. It being Georgia, the idea of an MLK holiday was a little ahead of the national curve; the commemoration did not achieve national status until 1983. But in the meantime, some Georgia employers were treating MLK Day as a holiday and closing up shop.

Not only do you not really "close up shop" on a printing plant that operates 24/7/365, but some things don't get left to the bosses when they don't want to piss off the workers. My guess is that the Dittler brothers (Jews), or whatever their name actually was, were part of the long-gone breed of Americans known as liberal Republicans.

Most of this large printing plant comprised unionized printing types: compositors, platemakers, press guys, etc. Everyone in the joint was union except for management, sales (equally loathsome), and the proofreaders. And most of the union guys were unapologetic South Atlanta rednecks.

Getting close to MLK Day, plant buzz begins that we might get off for the MLK Day celebration.

Eh, not so fast.

The question goes to the employees for a vote: Take off a day to commemorate MLK Day . . . or take off a day to commemorate Confederate Memorial Day?

And thus it was that this nice Jewish boy from New York was paid for eight hours of doing nothing on Confederate Memorial Day. Or, knowing this employer, I was probably brought in anyway just to sit there, at time and a half, in case one of the presses magically started printing something on its own.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

An Interesting and (So Far) Relatively Easy Index

The letters between the Berrigan brothers, Daniel and Philip. Covers a lot of the history I lived through while coming to political and social consciousness in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Quite a few mentions of Merton (well, before, uh, dzzzzzt), and some interesting poetry from Daniel Berrigan that's not awful to read, which is rare in my checkbook. And it's only a names index -- charging less, but not as taxing on the brain. Providing subentries for the two brothers, though.

Anyway, the point is that much of their writing in these letters is informal shorthand that would pass very easily for texting or messaging today.

As regular readers know, I rarely shill for my clients, but if you're interested in this kind of stuff, buy a copy. Support an indexer.

UPDATE (1/19): The index has proven to be less than a romp.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Unexpected Sentence of the Day

But what would you expect from a book titled Hitler's Compromises?

Of course, the [brownshirts] would remain the party's strong-arm squad as well, although Hitler preferred that it learn tactics of wit rather than those of brute frontal assault.


One of the most influential movies of my childhood. Between about 1971 and 1976, anywhere The Producers, Horse Feathers, Monkey Business, or Yellow Submarine was playing in Manhattan on a Sunday afternoon, you'd likely find my father and me there.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Twice a Year, for Eight or Nine Years: 150,000 Words of This

Well, in fairness, not all of it:

“This thou art”; a thou who responds to the calling of the I that constitutes it as a thou, who in turn “allows” the I to be I. 



Thursday, January 7, 2016

I Am So Avoiding Work

Epigraph of the day:

In the end, only politics can rescue you from bad politics.
--David Runciman (2014)

Sooo, I'm indexing this rather horrid monograph that was and is so painful that I interrupted the index to proofread a book from the same publisher by a world-renowned philosopher whose name I've see in a hundred bibliographies. That good book come and gone, I'm down to the last 50 or so pages of the horrid one, and every five I go, another 10 seem to add on. Like eating vegetables as a kid. And, of course, there was the typical lattice of coincidence, as the topic of the book for indexing wove in and out of the book for proofing.


The difference in scholarship between the two is like a line from Philip Wylie's Finnley Wren about a hot 40-something, what today might be called a MILF, if I'm using the term correctly. From her 20-year-old daughter: "People look at me like I'm a raisin and at my mother like she's plum pudding."

I've not done the calculations, but I suspect that as a percentage of income I'm now more of an indexer than a proofreader or certainly a copyeditor, which has its pros and cons -- one of the cons being that of the three things I do, proofing and copyediting are more or less enjoyable, yet every index is a chore.


How you say . . . beggars/choosers?






Monday, January 4, 2016

Getting a Bit Pungent in Here

First new book of the new year. I'm 28 pages into it (arabic numerals), and the author is still telling me what the book is going to be about. Given that the Methodological Notes begin on 211, I'm in for an epic round of wheel-spinning over the next 180 or so pages, stuck in horseshit. And why do I get these books for indexing? If I was proofreading it, I really couldn't care.

Happy new year.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Nice New Year's Note


Bob, I realize you have read a lot since working with me in 2012–2013 on my first two books, and may not recall the books at all. But I just happened to be thinking about the books, all the work you did, and the best guidance and proofing a person could have received through your efforts.

I will always appreciate the excellent guidance and work you did for me on the two books we did. It was a great supplemental education for me, one that cannot be learned in college or any graduate school.

In any event, I wish you a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Today's Mystery of the Universe

If I never have cash in my wallet, why is there always change in my pocket?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Index Entry of the Day

John XXIII, xviii 


Monday, December 7, 2015

After 35 Years at This, Maybe I Know What I'm Doing

An author with whom I've been working pretty closely just received a rejection letter from a writers' agency. Agent really liked the book but feels it's not sufficiently marketable.

The manuscript was in essentially OK shape when I first saw it, yet it needed a thorough albeit not difficult copyedit. Here's the agent's assessment after the Land on Demand touch:

I may as well get right to it: I’m going to pass on this. But believe me when I say I’m passing with many regrets, as I think that you’re an excellent writer with a superb grasp of both language and the type of style, tone, and pacing that makes for a good biography. I’m a big fan of biography and read a fair amount of it, and in terms of composition and content, this manuscript is on par with anything else that’s out there. 

Well, thanks. And, well, I guess I do know the person's name. But check out the lefty bass player and about three seconds of a seriously hammered Judy Garland at the beginning: