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.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rogue indeed

Ripped from the headlines:

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Palin in book: McCain aides kept me 'bottled up'
By RICHARD T. PIENCIAK (AP) – 44 minutes ago

NEW YORK — The rumors are true, according to Sarah Palin: The McCain-Palin campaign was not a happy family. In Palin's new memoir, "Going Rogue," she confirms reports of tension between her aides and those of the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain. The vice presidential candidate confirms that she had wanted to speak on election night, but was denied the chance and says she was kept "bottled up" from reporters during the campaign.

Palin also writes harshly of CBS anchor Katie Couric, whom she describes as "badgering" and biased. Palin's series of interviews with Couric were widely regarded as disastrous, leaving the impression of an ill-informed candidate who was unsuited for the job.

The 413-page book with 16 pages of color photos but no index comes out Tuesday, Nov. 17. The Associated Press purchased a copy Thursday. "Going Rogue," with a first printing of 1.5 million copies, has been at or near the top of Amazon.com and other best-seller lists for weeks, ever since publisher HarperCollins announced that the book had been completed quickly and the release date was being moved up from next spring.


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More proof that the big publishers don't really care about quality. No publisher in the Land on Demand stable would think for a minute about putting out a book like this without an index. Why would a company publish a first-person memoir from a person of significant public interest without an index? The reasons are numerous, none of them admirable. I don't think for a minute it has to do with time or money or lack of resources. I personally believe that it's an intentional move on the part of the author and her handlers to hinder research and to keep the dreaded media from easy access to discovering what's in the book in advance of the first blitz of her media tour. I could rant, but I've tried so far to keep this blog apolitical.

What's the keyboarding equivalent of biting one's tongue?

If any readers out there want an index for this book, send me a copy and a check for $1,600 . . . a number that I hope is never again associated with this woman.

4 comments:

moi said...

I have often wondered why we waste time water boarding our enemies when all we have to do is force them to index a book. Still, the number of non-fiction tomes hitting the stacks these days without index(es?) is puzzling. Not to mention frustrating.

czar said...

Moi: Really? You see a lot of nonfiction books without indexes? I've heard that many libraries won't buy nonfiction books without indexes. Of course, the only nonfiction books I read are the ones that hit my desk, and I presume that all are being indexed -- whether by someone who knows how to do it or not (typically the author in the latter case). I can vaguely remember one job a few years back where I was lined up to do an index, and the publisher ultimately told me they'd be forgoing the index because the author didn't want to pay for it . . . and that might be the exact issue. Many presses, I am given to understand, make the authors responsible for their own indexes; if the author doesn't want to write it, then the cost comes out of their royalties. Forget the fact that indexes add value to a book. By the time it's ready for indexing, I suspect most authors are so sick even of their own work that they don't want to bother with it anymore.

moi said...

Yes, sir. Which sucks, because, basically, everything I need to know about whether or not to buy a book I can learn from the index.

czar said...

Moi: Bless you. I tell people that indexes are for two groups of people: those who have read the book and those who haven't.

What do you do, though, when an index sucks? The author could be a genius in her subject matter, but if she's been tasked with writing the index and she doesn't have that kink in her genetics or the specific personality disorder that allows her to index a book properly, you might be missing out on some good reading. I'm not saying you're doing anything wrong, but the quality of an index, unfortunately, is not always the best indicator of the quality of the book, and the reason might be the author's desire to save a few hundred bucks. It's a tough call.