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.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Sample Response to Author for Indexing Query

Just sent this letter to an author looking for an indexer. I'd asked for a few sample manuscript chapters since the pages weren't ready yet. I'm also printing it here so that I can use it as boilerplate, not that I'll remember it. I'm so geeked up about going to Denver tomorrow, I'm still working on what should have been finished seven hours ago. Gonna be the usual long night before travel. "Live and don't learn, that's us" (Watterson). I wonder if AAR has ever done a Calvin and Hobbes session. The question should be, "How many?"

Thanks very much, J——. Even though I'm a known quantity to —— Press, I understand their and your stance perfectly.

As far as the prospectus, my first reaction as an indexer is, If I had this before starting any book, my life would be immeasurably easier. I'm just sitting here shaking my head at the thought. I might ask authors or presses for it in the future, and if that's the case, I've gotten my money's worth out of this correspondence already. 

All that notwithstanding, your material has made it with room to spare under my psychic limbo bar. If the job were to come my way and came with the usual 6x9" or 6x9.25" trim size, the rate would be $5 per indexable page, which is generally from the first page of the introduction through the end of the last chapter, inclusive. Add on to that pages for any indexable front matter (maybe a preface, not foreword or acknowledgments) and back matter (notes, not bibliography or appendices [except in the most general of fashion]). For a book around 90K words, maybe 230 pages or so? Of that, usually about 210-15 would be indexable.

So if it's the usual academic trim size, entirely depending on the final page count of indexable material, probably in the $1075 range, give or take. If you're associated with an institution that might be paying for the work, I'd ask to start any necessary payment paperwork (registering as a vendor, submitting a W9) at the beginning of the job. I've found that being a first-time payee can take an inordinately long time, and I like to grease the skids. If paying on your own, I accept checks or—for the more adventuresome or 21st-century, which isn't me—PayPal.

Let me know whatever you decide. I'd like to work with you and will add you to my schedule if that's your call.


And if you're wondering about that rather formal head, I'm putting some knowledge to work

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Bob Land Better Stay Offa My Lawn

Pastors get no slack.

Bob Land Gets It Wrong

The Exigencies of Morality

We have a friend staying with us for a few days. She needed a new cord for her iPhone charger. I was going up to Le Petit Office Depot (it's Bristol, baby) to drop off something for FedEx Ground, and she came into the store to look for cords. Of course, they were about twice as expensive as she was expecting . . . and Sam Walton's baby was right across the street.

So, naturally, we drive over to Walmart. Our friend has never entered a Walmart. So our friend maintains her illusion of cleanliness and I go in and buy the cord for her. Good thing I went in, though, because in my essential 1974 way, I needed a longer handset cord for my landline phone anyway—because without extenders, rerouters, and physical contortion, my 2017 cell phone barely gets service thirty feet from the wireless router in my home because of brick walls built almost ninety years ago.

Never See This Cited Too Much Either

Now, I wonder what would happen if an LGBTQIA individual went up to, say, the folks at Oakland Avenue Baptist Church of Johnson City, TN, who want to "Make Sunday School Great Again," and brandished this verse:

King James Bible, Matthew 19:12
For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Not Often Heard from the Pulpit

Deuteronomy 25:11–12 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

If men get into a fight with one another, and the wife of one intervenes to rescue her husband from the grip of his opponent by reaching out and seizing his genitals, you shall cut off her hand; show no pity.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Changing the Joint Up

I could just turn space into the equivalent of a Twitter feed, with a 280-thought limit. That gets the diversion monkey off my back and feeds the content monkey at the same time. Hell, if I tripled my readership, I could hit double digits.


In advance of said convention, though, I did an incognito search for Bob Land edits (with no quotes). I was pleased with the result, especially with what I am learning about SEO from what in some ways is my best "client."

I was hesitant to put this blog URL on a business card, mostly because every other time I have purchased the usual allotment of 500 cards, something happens to cause them to go out of date after I've distributed about 40 of them—and I never know when the blog might go dormant for another nine months or I just want to pull the plug on the whole thing.

This time, I kept the business card to the essentials, and I left off indexing: name, d/b/a (unofficial), services, email, phone number. And, lordy, the folks running the Minuteman Press on the Tennessee side are a window into the local culture. Cash and checks only. Woman who runs the place gives you a look that pierces right through your eyes to the back of your head, while chortling in a manner than only four-pack-a-day smokers can do. Her husband, I presume, has big ol' muttonchops and some other beardy thing going on. And a grandkid or two and a beagle. I walked in there about 4.10p on Monday, and I think I caught them as they were getting ready to leave, well in advance of closing time at 5p.

Editing Tips

This blog provides editing tips in a more, eh, anecdotal manner. Over the years, though, I've printed more than enough pieces of sample correspondence to use if you want to establish with people you barely know that you're a seething malcontent.

Proofreading Tips

(1) Pick up a copy of Highlights for Children. Go to the page to find differences between the two images. Find them all. (2) When venturing to impress an object of sexual desire, pointing out errors on menus only goes so far.

Indexing Tips

Run. Now.

The Kind of Stuff That Blows the Top of One's Head Off

"As Paul suggests, the manner in which everyone will be resurrected is patterned after the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus is recognized by his wounds, then should we not imagine that the resurrection of everyone else will similarly preserve premortem marks, and by extension, all kinds of infirmities?"


Today I Give Thanks

For a client that admittedly has given me some fits in the past. It's a university with a crucial piece of punctuation named after it.

How nice of them to think that I could copyedit a book of Sanskrit linguistics. And how nice of them, after I saw their feedback on my sample chapter, to thank me for telling them that this one was way out of my wheelhouse, and please find someone else to do it.

Fifty-eight years old and admitting limitations. Damn, what a concept.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

This Just In

Study Finds Only 20 Percent of Seminary Graduates Go on to Become God


Going to Denver, AAR-SBL 2018, this weekend. 

I was in contact with the folks at one of my publishers today about the confab, one of whom has started his own press that I’m also working for, and he offered to give me a badge for the conference. Just call him when I got there. 

So, no housing costs (staying with son and daughter-in-law, one mile from convention), no registration, and my wife remembered we had points on some card that got me enough airfare to fly out there. She says I was meant to go. I wonder if she’ll keep that thought in mind if I get run over by a bus.

If you had told me thirty years ago, or especially thirty-five years ago, that one day I would be traveling halfway across the country for a forty-eight-hour period to attend the annual conference of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature, and that I was really looking forward to it, I would have laughed in your face.

Then again, although there were extenuating circumstances, my first presidential vote was cast for the ticket of Ron Paul and one of the Koch brothers. 

And the irony of both are not unconnected. 

Seven days, no news. I really just can’t recommend this enough. I’m going to have a hard time in the Atlanta airport, trying to avoid televisions. Might be time for the earplugs and finding the nearest airport chapel.

I think it was in Atlanta one time when I was traveling through that I stopped off in the chapel for some peace and quiet. Muslim guy comes in, puts his rug down, does his thing, and gets up to go. I said, “Please don’t take offense, but how do you know which way is east?” He said, “I saw some other guy do it this way.” Speaking of thirty-five years ago, that’s a question I never would have asked in my youth, before meeting the perpetually curious and sociable woman who became my wife.

Next airport chapel I went into, I noticed that they had the direction marked on the wall.

Monday, November 12, 2018

No News Is Good News

I couldn't tell you one single local, national, or international event that has taken place in the last six days. I feel pretty good about it.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

New Form of Elective Surgery?

"Mom? Dad? I've got something to tell you that will probably upset your whole lives."

"Yes, Son?"

"Well, I'm not who I am supposed to be. I think I was born with the wrong-size head."

“Are There Any Gender Differences in the Hippocampus Volume After Head-Size Correction? A Volumetric and Voxel-Based Morphometric Study,” Neuroscience Letters 570 (2014): 119–23. 

As William S. Burroughs Once Wrote

"Just the thing for your friends at parties":

"Tributyltin (TBT) is the biocide chemical that disrupts the HPA axis and thyroid function, as well as regulation of fat. Somehow it’s in our tap water and seafood and is used as a preservative and disinfectant in breweries, paper and pulp mills, and leather processing facilities. Even very tiny amounts (1 ng/L in water) makes a female snail grow a penis."

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Authors and Designers: Just Stick with What Works

Letter to a managing editor, in response to an author who wants special symbols by those Bible translations that are his own. The author had suggested an "a" or an asterisk.

"Everyone's got a new wrinkle.

"An 'a' would be confusing: could be a part of a verse. I wouldn't use an asterisk, because people will be looking for what it refers to, like a note. I'd suggest a dagger, but don't you wacky Romanists use that sometimes to indicate a person is dead? 

"A symbol is fine; the more distinct the better, and preferably something people wouldn't associate with a note marker. God forbid it should just say 'author's trans.' like every other fncking book. How about a pentagram, or an uroboros?"

Another book I am working on has one of the goofiest fonts I've ever seen for the sans serif text: when a lower-case f precedes and i, l, or another f, it has a long descender. Why? Because people just can't leave sh!t alone. Everyone's gotta make their mark.

Very prominent theologian or biblical scholar or philosopher—maybe she's all three—has a very particular way she wants her indexes done. Unfortunately no one let me know this while I was dragged through the mill of four rounds of changes, with her probably thinking she was dealing with a drop-dead idiot the entire time. The next year, she has another book with the same press, and it comes to me for indexing. I asked the managing editor, "Are you sure? Does she know it's going to the same indexer?" Yes, yes.

When I knew what she wanted ahead of time, got an immediate approval. Art imitates life. Indexing still sucks.

On the matter of authors, another managing editor mentioned that a book that was coming to me for indexing (I've promised this one press they have me for indexing for five more seasons) came from the desk of her worst proofreader. I have these bighearted managing editors who want to keep sending people money for doing crappy work. They could pay me the same and, well, never mind. So, her worst proofreader turns out to be . . . an author who likes to proofread and index. 

Well, hell. That's your problem right there. Authors generally don't understand either one.

Without going into too much detail, as it's a sad story -- but it's also 4am and I'm between projects and in a holding mode and not at all tired -- we came to know a teenager a few years ago, and I asked him early on, "What kind of work would you like to do as an adult?" He said, "Psychologist." I just shook my head. Never knew a psychologist who wasn't crazy. Ever been to an optometrist who had 20/20 vision?

Two-three years later, poor kid is dead. Born into truly unimaginable (for me) wealth and privilege, off-the-charts intelligent, and never given a chance to develop a single tool to deal. Sooner or later, that's gonna catch up with you.

Is there any point here? Eh, not really. Let me know if you figure one out. 

"Between the idea and the reality / falls the shadow"? That always works.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Yeah, I'd Be Anxious Too

"For instance, normal lab mice that have their microbiota removed and then receive fecal transplants from mice bred to be anxious become anxious mice."


You know what? Don't come to me with a job on a hellish schedule and ask for a sample of what I'm doing, especially when it's proofing and copyediting. "You're an unknown; you came from a recommendation."

"Look, I don't know the author either. I might be unknown to her, but if she wants references at Oxford, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Westminster John Knox, I'm happy to provide."

Love dropping names. Authors, frankly, don't generally impress me. If Gary Dorrien called me, though, I'd probably be thrilled. Then again, I was told to leave his stuff alone. Those types of folks love proofreaders being paid not to produce.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Tubez, the News, the Blues

The suggestion has come forth that if I'm not finding enjoyment on the Internet, it's my own damn fault. Well, one way or another, everything in my life is my own damn fault, so I guess I can own up to it.

I grew up with five newspapers under my arm: New York Times, New York Post, New York Daily News, the Village Voice, and the Staten Island (NY) Advance. News and sports junkie from early on, and I learned a lot about music from the Voice and a little about life from reading its personals columns, back in the pre-AIDS days. Each publication served its purpose.

So that's my frame for entertainment or information of the visual variety. But now . . .

* The news is intolerable.
* Moving slowly down the sports food chain as far as major markets as I've aged, I've lost all interest in keeping up with sports, and it's been that way for about 20 years (accompanied by a lifetime aversion to college athletics). Bobby Thompson and I went from Staten Island to Bristol. Eventually he made it back to New York.
* Musically, I don't keep up either. Silence is preferred. Most of what I listen to, when I listen, are ad-free albums on YouTube that suit my need for background sound that's not white noise. No lyrics. And I'm finding that I no longer want to hear a lot of the music I grew up on. Just so tired of it.
* Other entertainment? If there's a hint of violence or tension, I really don't want to be there.

[We have Amazon Alexa in the house. My main request for her is, "Alexa, white noise." That, and the occasional multiplication problem when I'm not close enough to a calculator.]

On the other hand, I was at a local bakery that occasionally has live music. It usually is awful. You can't imagine that every song played by a bluegrass band sounds like "I'll Fly Away." (I've got a rant-worthy history with that tune. Someday.) But last week, the bakery had a very good bluegrass band with a delightful selection of songs (except for America, "Horse with No Name." "The heat was hot"?). One was Norman Blake's "Ginseng Sullivan," an old favorite that I'd not heard in a long time. Upon hearing that, I dropped a $2 bill in the jar.

Then I went home and listened to the original version. The result? Catharsis. The salty taste of lost youth. And now I can't get the song out of my head, but far worse songs have held that position. But the ear bug, or whatever it's called, is heavy laden.

The suggestion has also come forth that there's something wrong with me. Good lord, has there ever been a doubt?

Gotta get to work. Signed an NDA, so no specifics. Yet.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

I Might Have Had It

Other than sending a few neat clients my way over the years, "free" music, and an easy way to check references and facts, the Internet is holding little interest for me. No website seems alluring. I have about half a dozen sites bookmarked, and all I have the stomach for is the weather and email, and sometimes even the latter is iffy.

Two solutions: about:blank and basset hound pictures. But the less time I spend looking at any screen, the better.

Don't want no news, no sports, no entertainment, no input. I'm ready to start living closer to my license plate: MONKISH. All the information I need, I'm paid to read. Maybe I'll learn about what I'm about to live through in some retrospective written nine months from now.

Might be that more of my time is spent here, posting rants about any damn thing. I'm at the point of my career, if that's what you can call this form of wage slavery, that my opinion couldn't matter much to any potential clients. To hell with it.


I finished an index today I never should have accepted and "celebrated" by getting my increasingly scrawny white ass out of the house to Sam's Club and Walmart. It's Bristol, baby. That's how we roll.

Sam's Club: I'm pondering what huge blocks of cheese to buy, having bypassed a four-pound container of instant hot chocolate, my drink of choice these mornings. I see a woman speaking into a device on her wrist. At the time, I happened to be speaking with my wife, and I said, "Some woman is talking into a wrist phone. It's fncking Dick Tracy. I never thought I'd live this long."

Thursday, February 22, 2018

My God, Would It Just Kill Ya?

Throw a head in there somewhere. And when you do, make it accurate. Why should a head have the word "oligarchy" in it when the word appears once on the next seven pages?

I'm not going to worry about this stuff too much once I start easing some of these indexes off the schedule. Turning into a mess. I never (well, very rarely) get bored proofreading or copyediting. Indexing . . . takes about 15 pages.

75 degrees here today. First post of the year: Washington's (real) Birthday. And I'm working on a book that harps on some of the current woes.

Ah, woe.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Where's That 3D Printer When I Need It?

Because I'd like to take this author's attitude, copy it, and embed it in the mind of all the authors out there who think they know what belongs in an index, all the evidence to the contrary.

I'd also like to send him flowers, even though the first line of his email scared the living hell out of me.


Hi Bob,

I hired you because I figured you know how to do an index. The last one I did took too much time.

So I am just going with the index you produced.