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.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Split decision

I've got to watch it here, because I'm trying to circulate knowledge of this blog through, if nothing else, including it on my email signature. Maybe someone other than Moi will read it. If you're out there, anybody, throw me a bone, willya?

Today's thought comes from a book designer that Moi and I work with: "Lack of planning on your part does not create an emergency on my end." Good thing to remember, but then there's the customer service side of the business which recognizes that things happen. But imagine this.

I heard a few weeks ago from a freelance book packager/editor who used to call me occasionally on behalf of a particular Well-Known Publisher for whom she labored. I say "well-known" not to boast, because it's really nothing to boast about, but if you've looked at my client list, let's just say that the names are not ones that readers in nonacademic fields have heard of.

(Side note: my wife looked at my client list on a little marketing piece I had created recently and said, "Industrial Hydro-Blast?")

So, anyway, now this book packager is an off-site full-time employee of this same publisher, and she emails with a possible job. The publisher has a 2000-page book/manual on psychology that's coming in for proofreading. They have 2 weeks to get it all read and ready. In order to get the work done, they are splitting up the work among 4 different proofreaders, 500 pages per head.

The only way a 2000-page book must be read in 2 weeks is that someone up the line fell down on the job -- author, in-house editor, etc. Certainly no publisher plans for that. And the later you get in the production cycle, the more someone's going to have to step up and bail someone else's butt out of hot water.

Or in this case, four people.

And naturally, I feel that this is an unfortunate maneuver. Splitting up a function like this isn't as bad as splitting up a copyediting job among two or more people, because hopefully all the proofreaders are of a similar skill set and will be catching the same types of errors. Not too many judgment calls at the proofreading stage. But still. And I fear that such a job will be accompanied by style sheets galore. I have discussed in earlier posts my disdain for style sheets.

And imagine yourself as the typesetter, dealing with four sets of handwriting, proofing symbols (standardized, of course, but everyone's got their own quirky way of doing things), and style.

Another curiosity is that the job is being paid by the hour. Would be interesting to see on the back end if there is a wide variety of hours submitted, and also correlating that to quality of work done.

At least it should be interesting, being about psychology. At least it's not theology . . . not that there's anything wrong with that.

Well, dear reader(s), it's time to go to bed. It's almost Wednesday. So far this week, beginning Sunday morning, I slept from 12 noon to 2pm Monday and from 12:30am to 6:30am today. Which means I've gotten 7 hours of sleep in the last 67; is that math right? I'm amazed I'm still at it. I've done an index on St. Francis of Assisi, copyedited most of a book on being a Buff Dad (don't even ask), mowed the lawn, and maybe done one or two other productive things.

Going to Connecticut next week to see our younger son, and thence to Vermont for a few days. I'm trying to line up some work to take, to kill time in airports and also to read while on break, because then we come back and after a day or two go to Chattanooga to watch our older son play the lead in The Man Who Came to Dinner. Neither son has expressed an interest in entering the family business. For that matter, neither did I, but that was when the family business was being a car dealer.

Fading fast.

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