Page 6. And I had a headache before I started.
Books generally print according to cycles, mostly geared toward big conventions. Publishers speak of their spring and fall seasons. Spring means books are coming out in March, printed in January-February . . . which means indexing in December. My schedule presently shows indexes for seven books (some are mercifully short) for December. Yet another reason that Christmas is most certainly not the most wonderful time of the year.
I've said it before: If you're a publisher who happens to be reading this and you must have some copyediting or proofreading work done this month, the lines are now open. There'll be someone here around the clock waiting to answer your email.
Received an email today from one of my favorite presses. The press has a proofing job for me, with a twist. Proofing marks are to be made electronically on a PDF of the book. They wanted to know my take on the matter. My response below:
1. It's something I can do because I have the full version of Adobe Acrobat. Proofreaders who just have Reader would need to spend the money to buy Acrobat to have this tool.
2. Regardless of the final product (a marked-up PDF), personally I would still print out the pages, mark them up, and then transfer changes to the electronic version. I realize that's my problem and not yours, but -- and this is just for me -- the quality of my proofreading would go through the floor if I did it all on screen. I can proof or edit a very short document on screen and suffer no loss of quality, but a lengthy, academic tome . . . I don't think I'd keep many clients doing it on screen only. Again, that's my problem.
3. Even if I were confident of proofing on-screen, marking up a PDF is definitely far more time consuming than marking up hard copy. An hourly paid invoice would necessarily reflect that.
4. Something for your consideration: What's the ultimate intent here? Is it to stop shuffling paper around? Stop hard-copy merging of people's comments? Perhaps one PDF can be passed onto another person? I proofread a book for an Australian professor who was doing a postdoc in Sweden, and he found me on the Internet. I proofed his book, then found it would cost about $150 to send the pages to Europe via UPS, and even then, it would take about 8 days to arrive -- both of which were unacceptable. What I did instead was take my marked-up proofs to Office Depot, where they scanned them in and saved the file as a PDF. I then sent the author the PDF of the marked-up pages. Far as I know, everything worked out fine. Personally, I'd far, far rather do that than electronically mark up a PDF. But you guys are signing the paychecks.
I'm willing to try just about anything, especially in the interests of keeping a very good client happy and dragging myself a little more into the 21st century. I'll take the job, and I'm sure you've considered on your end the reasons for doing this. If I can otherwise help with this conversation at all, let me know.
What do you think, folks? Proofreading a 200-plus page book on the screen and marking up the PDF?
And for what it's worth, it doesn't sound like the kind of title that's destined to keep one's eyelids from drooping anyway. Too, anytime I'm tied to the computer, it's all I can do to veer off to check emails, look at Moi's blog, read the news, check out youtube, search for people online, update the blog, and a million other things that keep the Land on Demand meter from running. Which isn't good.