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.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Torture and Bafflement

One of the most distasteful jobs that ever comes my way is updating someone else's index of an existing book. Typically, the second or another subsequent edition of a book is appearing, and the last few chapters are updated or revised. Rather than redoing the index when the press is picking up the first 280 pages of the book, the press has a shmuck like me index the last 50 pages.

In other words, I have to match the existing index style, regardless, so that the index appears as a consistent whole. At least, I think that's the appropriate approach.

I am working on a history of South Africa. The existing index has virtually no subentries for people, only for organizations. (Needless to say, this is not a LandonDemand product.) Nelson Mandela rates a grand total of four (4) subentries. Four. Four. This is a history of South Africa.

"Sheep" gets three subentries.

I'm supposed to follow this up? It's like being paid not to produce, but I still have to produce.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Nice Note from a Not-Easy-to-Please Book Designer

Thanks for the great work. Hopefully your client-base will recognize these efforts. This organization distinguishes you from the garden-variety "book reader" wannabe editors.

The "organization" to which he's referring is the use of XML style sheets. Easy to do, and book designers / typesetters love it when it's done right. It's the ever-so-rare equivalent of, as a copyeditor, getting a writer who actually knows how to punctuate. Makes life easier and projects go much more quickly.

That these labors were expended on a self-published romance novel . . . well, underlying my long-standing corporate motto, the check deposits just the same.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Going Which Hunting

Moi lamented to me recently about a book she was reading off the clock that was chock-full of "which"s that should have been "that"s. I am at the end of a 500-something-page copyediting job that was much the same. Probably 300 of them in there, and only a handful needed the comma before "which" instead.

(Entry title courtesy of Fowler, Modern English Usage, a required text for us in senior year of high school. I think we used the 1897 edition; four pages devoted to "which" and "that.")

Fowler (not an endorsement of the seller)

Interesting project, though, from two perspectives, neither of which deal with the quality of the text, unfortunately:

1. This is the first of 18 volumes by this author, translated and reprinted from one of those romance languages, that the publisher will be doing over the next decade or so. It's a name that you'd know if you followed twentieth-century theology, I think. I'd call that an annuity. I'm presuming I'll be copyediting all of them.

2. Given that this volume -- actually a reprint of three books in one volume -- has been published numerous times before, in different languages . . . and probably in English before, but this is based on a translation . . . I'm copyediting with a rather light touch. The last situation I would want to create is, "Such-and-so maintained this bit of jargon until the 2014 XZX Books version, in which he wrote. . . ." I mean, how do I know? They sent along the original-language edition, but that's not going to help much.

* * *

A website developer told me that Google eventually moves you out of its rotation if the posting becomes infrequent. Sure enough, this blog is no longer getting hits when people search "editing" or "proofreading" or "indexing." So I might begin to post more . . . and actually back to on-topic stuff. I've probably said that before, too.