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 and proofreader, and occasional indexer. 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.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fourth-Generation Edit

I am reminded of a great Saturday Night Live skit, which incidentally had Sean Penn doing a wonderful DeNiro impersonation, that featured Jon Lovitz as a lounge singer doing a version of "The Way We Were" as translated into French and then back into English. The transcription here is to the best of my recollection.

In the corners of my eyes
Misty autumn-colored memories
In a way we were

Scattered pictures
Scattered all around the room
It's too messy to remember
In a way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every time?
And if we had the chance to smash into the wall again
Tell me, did we?
Will we?

May be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We send the Jews to forget. . . .

I am working on a book now that came about as follows: A Polish gentleman related elements of his life story in Italian to a ghostwriter. For some reason, the ghostwriter decided to write the book in third-person instead of first. The book was then translated into English, and the folks who will be trying to get the book published in English (first, probably, among at least a few other languages) decided the book would be better as a first-person account. That task has fallen to me. Not only am I copyediting the book, I am changing biography into autobiography, based on an Italian-to-English translation from a man whose first language is Polish. Here's a frustrating element. As for a while the man lived and did business in Great Britain, I suspect his English isn't too bad. The whole thing probably could have been done in first-person English to begin with, although his English is likely not as good as his Italian, or of course his Polish. Just a guess.

Very interesting book by the way, and it comes to me via a few relative giants in the publishing world -- one in religious publishing, one in the newspaper field. Kind of another case where I'm pinching myself that these people have found me and actually respect my opinion. I'm not at all trying to blow my own horn, but it's as I tell my sons (ages 19 and 16): one of these days I'm going to wake up and realize that I'm an adult -- something I guess they've grown up knowing. And given that today happens to be the anniversary of my birth, one that leaves me a year shy of the half-century mark, adulthood might actually be just around the corner.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Author testimonial

"I am doing the final editing that Bob sent me today and I think he is just super in the way he treats my work." --from a romance novelist publishing her twelfth book, reporting to the designer/project manager

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm baaaack, and the case of the Flying Negroes

Thanks to my five or four regular readers for allowing me this little hiatus, and for occasionally checking in to see if the test pattern was still up. I can't say that it won't go up again soon, but there's been a little activity that calls for an update.

Big question among freelancers is "How's business?" One of my fellow freelancers, a book designer and typesetter, is staying busy because he has learned how to lay out books for Kindle and such. Smart guy.

Another one who mines similar fields as I do, I've not gotten a real good feel for how things are for him. His client list is by design a little smaller than mine, but it used to be that a lot of my work came from him, and if his clients are sending him work and he has time or the need to do it, he might very well be busy, and it keeps work from coming to me. No hard feelings there. I would do the same thing.

I wrote to a few of my publishers last week. One, which has a printshop in the basement (a big one), just laid off 35 people on the pressroom floor and in the art department. Not a good thing.

Another one, a production company that kept me very busy over the last year and a half, says that business has slowed tremendously, and if it keeps up, they don't know what they are going to do. I think much of their work revolved around the textbook market, and it might be that the publisher who was their main client has decided that new editions every two years are not necessary. As the parent of a college student, I can't say this hurts my feelings that much.

So I've been beating the bushes a little the last couple of days. One or two things might turn out. Maybe. I'm going to go along as if nothing will happen, because that's often when something does. But a cratering economy causes people to put on their thinking caps, and that's what I did. We'll see.

So, what's with the Flying Negroes? Probably one of my earliest posts dealt with the phenomenon that I'll go my entire life without hearing of a concept, and then I'll read about it in consecutive unrelated books. This last weekend I was working on a book of essays about Phillis Wheatley, the first African American woman to be published in the United States (late 1700s, from New England). The book mentioned the Flying Negroes, a myth from that time about slaves in America who sprouted wings and flew back to Africa. Interesting stuff. The book went back to the publisher Sunday night.

Today I'm reading a book of essays about the Gullah-Geechee culture in the barrier islands of Georgia. And here again come the Flying Negroes. This time there was a little hint of the whirling dervish thrown into the mix.

Anyway, the test pattern is gone for now. If you're reading this, I'm glad you're here. And I hope the feeling is mutual. Let me know what's been going on in your world since I've been gone.