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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Buh-BYE, 2011

What a year.

No year-end review this time. I'm going to let a fading memory take its course.

I'll spend the next few days wrapping up two loose work ends and then prepare for next year. Moi mentioned the word "resolve." I could use some. "Discipline" has never been a strong suit. Maybe I can win the semantic war.

Because of scheduling issues, January 2012 is already an avalanche in waiting. December 2011 was delays and time away and holidays and such.

The year 2012 I'll start out on a new leaf or leaves. I have a bunch of thoughts in my head. Resolve, resolve. And I'll have two four-hour car rides on the 30th and the 1st to get some thinking done. Sons are back to college next week. And winter will settle in at chez czar, with the czarina on 24-hour call for her theatre tour booking duties. Scheduling an educational touring group in central Appalachia during January through March isn't one of the easier hands to be dealt, and keeping or revising that schedule with snow dates . . . in many backwoods counties where roads are iffy . . . that's wintertime anxiety around here.

Anyway, this is a sign-off for the year. Everyone out there, have a great time on New Year's Eve and thereafter, wherever life places you. And if you don't hear from me at HM or on your different blogs so much in 2012, it's not because anything's wrong. Actually, it's probably just the opposite.

But I do hope to be posting more here, and more on topic.

For now, it's . . .

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Too Much to Do

Christmas Eve day, and miles to go.

New Dorp Lane, Staten Island, NY;
except for the cars, 
the view hasn't changed in at least 50 years.

Shopping is basically done, although I have to brave the grocery store sometime this morning for tomorrow's feast. Per popular acclamation at chez czar, we're giving the czarina the day off from heavy cooking and doing a far simpler low country boil just for the family. It's the kind of thing we typically only make when there's twenty or so people around, so I'm going to halve the recipe. We'll throw some newspapers on the table and make believe it's summertime. And no dishes to wash.


Many interesting projects lately, and I wish I was wrapping up one of them this morning instead of what I'm working on: an index that seems not to want to go away. I've started placing the PDF and the Word doc side by side on the screen rather than looking at paper. Every second counts. Maybe I'll become the Frederick Taylor of the editorial world. Now if I could just keep my fingers out of my mouth while editing or proofreading and keep that red pen close to the paper.


When our younger son came home from college last week, I asked him if he'd signed up for any shifts at a local drive-thru he'd been working at for some years. He said no, but I knew that he needed some holiday funds (and I had become used to the intern labor), so I asked him if he wanted to do some word processing for me. I had about nine hundred pages of manuscripts that needed editorial changes keyed in. He did an OK job, but his reactions to the work were interesting. On job one, he pondered, "There wouldn't be so much to do if authors just followed the right style to begin with." On job two, he asked, "How hard is it for them to get the reference style right?" Out of the mouths of nineteen-year-old babes . . .


When Colleen (former intern) returns for winter/spring semester, I'll be talking to her about paid work for keying in changes. In the right circumstances, it saves me enough time and is worth the money to have someone input corrections to a Word document. We were speaking about this as a family last week, and we chuckled that, unfortunately, the czarina is not the person to help me in this area -- for a number of reasons. As I put it quite simply to the czarina's laughter, "You won't do what I want you to do when I want you to do it." Working for me is probably only slightly worse than being married to me.


The two books that my younger son slaved through were both rather interesting. One was a first-person account of a South Vietnamese army/government official's experiences from the mid-1940s until his escape in the early 1980s after imprisonment by the new regime, although the author began in the Viet Minh. The author knew John Paul Vann and Daniel Ellsberg and people like that from the mid-1950s on. Having come to consciousness during the height of the Vietnam War, I found the information on French and US involvement in SE Asia, and especially the internal Vietnamese happenings, fascinating.

[Great note on this book. As the coauthor, who is my primary contact, told me, "The [Vietnamese] author is 88 and not in great health. We're hoping he holds on until the book is published." So sweet. The book has been in various stages of writing for 24 years. The coauthor, who is concerned about his colleague's age and health, is 85.]

The second book was about the Fed's operations during the credit crisis of 2008. The editor was almost apologetic when sending the book out. "It's about economics, and many copyeditors don't like books with a lot of numbers." After explaining that I used to be the lead editor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, he was relieved and I suspect a little surprised. I suspect, also, that I'll now have an inside track on copyediting any books dealing with banking or economics coming from this press. Fine by me. They pay fast.

What I didn't mention was that I'd probably still be at that job if my boss wasn't one of the most despicable human beings I've ever met in my life. Her name was . . . oh, it's Christmas. Never mind.


I've had a few other things going on, it seems, but I have to finish this index NOW. Then to the store(s), then wrapping presents, then back to work on an intense little proofing job that must go out on Monday. At least it's not indexing.


The photo above comes from my hometown. Staten Island is part of New York City yet a world of its own. When the czarina was first there in 1985 and we went down New Dorp Lane, she said, "This reminds me of small towns in the South," the point being, "I had no idea that the evil urban Northeast full of you Yankees and Jews was actually like the rest of the world." Staten Island, when it's not acting more like Alabama, can be a very nice place.


Happy holidays, folks. Glad you're out there.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Haiku Monday: Spin

Hosted this week at Fleur's Place.


My entry

with visuals.

Faster and faster
'Til enlightenment springs forth:
Whirl, dervishes, whirl!

Wintertime Jewtop
Reminds, "They tried to kill us,
We won. Now let's eat."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Most Unlikely Result -- Intern '11, 1

An intern from a local college worked with me during this last school semester — a coed, as the vernacular goes, or went. This intern, we’ll call her “Colleen,” wanted to find out about the world of editing, and she’d receive two hours of college credit for doing so: 10 to 14 hours per week for about 12 weeks, soaking up the heady Land on Demand corporate atmosphere.

Colleen is the third intern who’s worked with me over the last six or so years. What’s made this hosting-of-intern slightly different is that Nicole is between my sons’ ages. Spending this amount of time over the last few months with someone in college — while my two are as well — was interesting. I think I was well prepared.

I'll discuss the internship in more detail later. Colleen and I both were required to write summaries of the experience to complete the process (and I needed to provide a number/letter grade), so maybe I’ll mine those writings for some future postings. My contribution was more of a strengths-and-weaknesses assessment.

Another intent of a perhaps future arc (ugh) on the internship would be to try to move back to where this blog mostly started: discussions of work-desk issues. Way too much miscellania these days.

Before the internship was over, I asked Colleen to write a blog posting on her experience, which follows:


I have done the impossible (improbable at the very least) and completed an English major in two years. On top of all my regular work, I chose to register for an internship to experience the life of an editor. Along the way I have gained a huge respect for copyeditors and proofreaders. Someday I hope to call the work mine.

This semester just happened to also be the time when I am working on my senior project, a mini-thesis, if you will. Working as an editorial intern for roughly 14 hours a week added to my 18-credit-hour class load has definitely taught me how to organize my time. I will say that the organization skills for my project have been spurred forward by my work with Bob. I’ve been exposed to countless styles of writing and formatting, and have found strengths and flaws in all of them. I would like to think that these observations have shown through in my own writing, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I were stuck in my own ways as a writer—I am an 82-year-old woman stuck in a 21-year-old body, fifty cats and all.

It would be nice to be able to apply everything that I have learned to each of my assignments for class, but who am I kidding? Switching from MLA to Chicago is a challenge in itself, let alone having the added stress of Bob follow my work with his own. In the beginning, I assumed that I would get faster the more comfortable I became with the work of an editor. I stand corrected. . . . He has me always double-checking my work, and I’m right most of the time, but sometimes I remain lodged in my old ways. I will say that one of my proudest moments was when Bob commented, “I passed the ‘Colleen inspection.’” Yes. I have an inspection named after me.

Coming into this internship I knew that I wanted to do something along the same lines that Bob does, but I wasn’t quite sure yet. My first week here, I was proofing the index for a religious book. The entire index was made of biblical references and had to be re-alphabetized by hand, not with the automatic word-by-word alphabetization that Word does. Considering that the index was probably close to forty pages at this point, I thought I’d hate working here the moment the stack of papers plopped onto my table. As I got into the work, the time flew by and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was enjoying myself. Later on in the semester, I worked on a few different indexes and enjoyed each one better than the last. Call me crazy, but I think I found my destiny: indexing.

I’ve always had an eye for mistakes or confusing wording, and have enjoyed helping other people with their writing, so I chose this career path as the obvious option. While I dabble in creative writing and poetry, I really enjoy editing and indexing; I want my career to be my passion. Bob has shown me that it is possible and that I can enjoy what I do with my life. This lesson negates all else that I have learned this semester—not on my internship evaluation, of course.

In my final week of interning with Bob, I hope to keep learning and experiencing the life of an editor. Or indexer in my case.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Haiku Monday: Time

Hosted this week at the magnificent Karl's Korner.

Deadlines, mortgages:
Accordion-like squeezes,
But like trolley cars . . .

Tomorrow — flexing
Like a whore — and tomorrow.
Shakespeared; lad insane.


I don't usually do videos or any visuals for Haiku Monday or post the haiku here, but I found this -- an interesting, unbroadcast live version of a song from one of my favorite albums -- so I figured I might as well post the video. Sorry you had to sit through the haiku.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

In school, we just called him "Eye Chart"

Orobator, Agbonkhianmeghe, 147