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, June 2, 2009

On Second Thought

For one of my copyediting clients, I edit the manuscript, using the Track Changes feature in Word, and then send the redlined printout to the author to review the changes. The author does per's review, answers my queries (in a perfect world), and returns the document to me. Then I make the author's changes, accept all the changes in Word, and send the marked-up, redlined proofs back to the press along with the cleaned-up files.

Sounds easy enough. The press pays me three-quarters of the fee when I send the document to the author, and the final 25 percent upon delivery of the final manuscript.

I just finished working on a book for this press, and the author made a whole lot more changes than is typically done -- line edits, reworking some material, adding and deleting sources . . . and the most puzzling: changing material in prose extracts. A prose extract, for you newbies, would be long sections of material quoted from other books.

In the parlance of the times, WTF?

One of at least two things happened here, none of which offer particularly satisfactory explanations.

1. The author misquoted material the first time around, which makes an editor worry and scratch one's head. Presumably the author is just keying in the material from the source.

2. The author was quoting dozens of sources from memory across multiple genres, and only later went back to check per's work.

Both seem most unlikely.

Why would an author be changing quoted material? Why, after the book has already been copyedited, would an author even go back to the source material to see if it was properly quoted?

More questions than answers were raised in my mind by this particular episode. And we are not talking about obscure works or works in translation, where the author might have found a passage phrased better by another translator. For the most part, these were all recognizable works of fiction or nonfiction or published screenplays.

I am puzzled.

Remember what Eliot wrote? "We are the hollow men, we are the stuffed men," or maybe that was, "We're empty inside, we are filled with goo."

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