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.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Quality: editing and proofreading

Good books are good for a number of reasons. The writing is just one aspect of it.

If you go to a movie in which the acting is fine and the story is interesting, would you be able to ignore dialogue that two characters repeat 10 minutes apart, as if it had never happened before? What about the watch one of the charioteers is wearing in Ben-Hur? Maybe you can see the reflection of the camera in a store window. Does that not bother you?

My wife's a huge Al Green fan. He came out with an autobiography a few Christmases ago, and I bought her a copy, as did one of her friends. She could barely get through it because of all the typos. Might have been Random House that published that one . . . one of the big boys.

As a self-publishing author, you owe it to your potential audience to put out the best book you can. Editing and proofreading are essential elements of quality control. You, as an author, are hopefully a wonderful storyteller or a great researcher, or you can write about complex subject matter in a fashion that a layperson can enjoy and learn from it.

I'll be the first to say that I can do none of those things. I can't write stories at all, I have no subject I'm interested enough in to research, and I certainly have no command of any complex subject matter.

But what I can do is make your writing a lot better. You have your area of expertise, and I have mine.

One of my goals as an editor (and as a proofreader, for that matter) is to ensure that no speed bumps appear in the text. That is, the reader should never get hung up on a certain sentence, wondering what that meant or trying to determine how the sentence is supposed to read so that it makes sense. It's awfully hard to produce a page-turner if your reader is constantly saying, "Wait . . . what?" Or, as in the case of my wife, your reader is so distracted by the mistakes that enjoyment of the content is severely diminished, which is a shame.

If you are self-publishing and you want your readers to have a pleasant experience (and to buy your next book), hire an editor before the book is typeset. Hire a proofreader after the book is typeset. Employ a professional so that the book which will forever have your name on it is something you can look back at with pride.

Just a thought, and more to come.