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: email@example.com.
Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Monday, December 7, 2015
The manuscript was in essentially OK shape when I first saw it, yet it needed a thorough albeit not difficult copyedit. Here's the agent's assessment after the Land on Demand touch:
I may as well get right to it: I’m going to pass on this. But believe me when I say I’m passing with many regrets, as I think that you’re an excellent writer with a superb grasp of both language and the type of style, tone, and pacing that makes for a good biography. I’m a big fan of biography and read a fair amount of it, and in terms of composition and content, this manuscript is on par with anything else that’s out there.
Friday, November 20, 2015
By counting, one may determine the number of seeds in an apple, thereby obtaining factual information, but by determining the number of apples in a seed, one obtains knowledge of greater moment.
Friday, November 13, 2015
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Inflected Form:re£lumed ; re£lum£ing
Etymology:irregular from Late Latin reluminare, from Latin re- + luminare to light up — more at ILLUMINATE
archaic : to light or light up again : REKINDLE
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
These pointyheads better get it right. Unfortunately I'm proofreading, so any unsolicited comments about content I might make at an earlier stage would be out of place, particularly since the proofs are going back to Bangalore.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
As the Washington Evening Star put it, “It must be viewed as one of the ironies of history that the Confederacy, which was never able to capture Washington during the course of that war, now holds it as a helpless pawn."
Saturday, October 17, 2015
I wonder, How is he still alive?
Headline, LandonDemand News Service:
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Friday, September 11, 2015
Monday, September 7, 2015
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Sunday, August 23, 2015
"I think down-sizing is the way to go. However, it's really, really hard! We all want simpler lives, yet the complications of getting to that point leave one's mind boggling!"
Monday, August 17, 2015
Monday, August 10, 2015
Saturday, August 8, 2015
The authors whose books I read for theological and university presses are supposed to be experts in their fields. Said authors didn't get that way, one presumes, by watching Wheel of Fortune while pounding Cheetos and Mountain Dew.
They've read books and scholarly articles. Lots of them.
So, when writing their own, why do they flaunt the most basic of grammatical standards?
I'm working on a book now in which the author routinely puts punctuation inside close parentheses that should appear outside of it. A few examples follow, with some words changed to protect the guilty:
Some institutions prefix a letter or two to denote the type of image, and some have a code number unique to the donor (especially if they are repeat donors.)
A private lender was anxious about placing his historic firearms in the museum for a required six-month period (the usual display time for firearms is no more than three months.)
Always leave a note in it’s [sic] place stating: 1) what it is; 2) the date it was removed; 3) the reason it was removed (e.g. for a loan, photography, conservation;) and 4) the approximate date of return. Imagine seeing a note that simply states “Object Taken” (as has been seen.)
Make sure your doors have weather-stripping, sweeps and thresholds (gaskets,) and block all other small areas of possible insect entry.
Do these examples suffice? Imagine 142 pages of this style. Thankfully the volume is short.
The point of the post is that I don't understand how multiple-degreed, professional people who are highly respected in their fields can write sentences as if they're unfamiliar with the concept.
Another example, which I see frequently enough to drive me to distraction -- and a form of which also resides buried somewhere in this blog -- is
"Where did my car go," Jim wondered?
My question has always been, "Has this author ever seen another publication present punctuation in this way? How can this even look correct, even from a visual standpoint?"
I guess that's the case if someone has spent a lot of time reading. There are other ways to make it in the world.
. . . Not that I'm familiar with them. I'd say I'm open to suggestions, but at this point I'm pretty untrainable, and you don't want me in your workplace. Not if anyone there likes microwave popcorn.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
The author responds, "I already spent a lot of money with a content editor. Why should I spend more on a copyeditor?"
Very reasonable question, to which I can usually, through a page or two of sample editing, offer quite damning evidence of why a copyeditor provides essential value.
The managing editor for the press asks if I can do a sample edit to show the author what he'll get for his money. In perhaps the first time in -- well -- forever, I tell a client that, indeed, the manuscript is in such good shape that the $4K or so spent on copyediting would be misused funds . . . and it would be such easy money. Through a sampling of different parts of the document, I can find virtually nothing I would change.
The publisher is presently recovering from a serious operation (N.B., DB: not a lobotomy). The managing editor passed along that the publisher thought she'd taken too much Oxycontin before reading my email.
What was that old image I used? Maybe those days are behind me.
But don't count on it.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Such citations are important, one is given to understand. My grad-school son and girlfriend were at the house during finals period in the spring and had me giving their APA documentation in a semester-end paper the once-over.
One of my esteemed publishers -- esteemed because they send me paychecks, albeit a bit sluggishly -- has me edit the text and then deal with the author's review of my copyedit. In other words, I get to see what edits they override, what mistakes I overlooked (he writes, mea culpingly), and what they choose to ignore.
I'm presently reviewing a manuscript that I sent back to the publisher in October 2014, for chrissakes, and the author just managed to get around to reviewing the text. That cutting edge dulls a bit with time, buddy.
Routine queries involve places in which the author/date citations don't match up with the bibliography or where the author should be citing a particular fact.
Author for this book has simply deleted many of the queries where the information disagreed -- and deleted the citation itself as well. Simply too busy to do the legwork, I guess. So now what appears? Either what seems like an unsubstantiated fact or a wee bit of something that smacks of, uh, violation of fair use -- or perhaps lack of intellectual integrity. Is there a nicer word for that?
|A representation of a null set, so the site sez|
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Sunday, June 14, 2015
Tangent: You know the line attributed to Stalin, "To make an omelette you have to break a few eggs"? Seems that he cribbed that from my notorious cousin Lazar Kaganovich, although Lazar probably picked it up from somewhere else. For all of his, uh, charms, I don't think that original thought was high on Iron Lazar's list.
Anyway, even in spite of the Google's algorithm changes, a year or so ago, the author of a nascent Fred Neil biography found a posting I'd done about one of the few surviving video clips of the late, great Fred Neil. Alas, in the interim we've met and hit it off quite nicely, and tomorrow I'll receive the complete manuscript.
The notion that I'll have a heavy hand in a Fred Neil biography is one of the things that makes my crazy work life worthwhile. That, and nailing a friend's father years back for telling me he taught ethics at the School of the Americas with the line, "How interesting. A good friend of mine did the original English translation of Gutierrez's A Theology of Liberation." Perhaps my greatest party moment ever -- well, at least in my mind. You could just about see the steam coming out of this man's ears. No telling how many times he'd gotten away with that line.
Not as dumb as I look,
Yr. humble and obedient servant,
Saturday, June 13, 2015
New indexing client, and I was so bold as to offer this slightly edited in-progress report:
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Man, and I thought the New Testament was whack. . . .
Don’t you remember the myth, Justin, how Zeus in the form of a golden shower descends upon the virgin daughter of King Argos, Danaë, from whom Perseus then subsequently issues forth?
A "golden shower"? Wow.
Thanks to Messrs. Merriam and Webster for capturing for posterity what most folks, except maybe this author, seem to know:
Main Entry:golden shower
: the act of urinating on another person usually as part of a sex act
The proofs I worked on arrived at the press on June 17, and the following email exchange ensued, with the title, "Zeus & Danaë, per Klimt."
Friday, June 5, 2015
If these things happen in threes and I'm number three, well, it's been -- uh -- it's hard exactly to classify what it's been, whatever "it" is.
I guess working in my favor is that I do indeed have some heart health issues and have been warned. My father, from what the doctors say, shouldn't be sucking air at all at this point because of heart problems, but he looks and feels pretty good.
Monday, June 1, 2015
Three-day stomach virus concomitant with panic attack? Check.
Home water heater ceases to function? Check.
First friend made out of college dies unexpectedly out of nowhere? Fifty-eight years old and no apparent prior health issues? Check.
Bill Leonard, whom I first came to know while proofreading airline timetables and lottery tickets in Atlanta in 1981-1982, had a heart attack while hiking with his dogs in Asheville, NC. I went to the celebration of his life yesterday and saw a lot of folks with incredible memories whom I hadn't seen in 30-plus years. Plenty of stories that I'd heard and not heard. The fleeting incidents that managed to stick in their heads for all of this time blew me away. I'm lucky if I can remember the manuscript I was working on earlier in the day.
This commercial printing joint where I met Bill did, however, spawn three people who ended up writing or editing for a living -- the third remains one of my dearest friends in the world -- so there's something to be said for slave labor right out of college, although it helps that it's in one's desired field.
Bill leaves behind a wife and two daughters, both of whom are far too young to have their very devoted father taken away from them.
Bill was a witty, brilliant, talented communicator who had deep knowledge and love of many issues and activities -- and he was perfectly happy to remind you in detail of any of those at the drop of a hat. He was a life-lover in the extreme. And if whatever you brought up didn't measure up with his standards, he'd tell you that, too. Imagine how special a person . . . who could proudly live up to that description -- and still have legions of admirers.
Once, at a mutual friend's wedding reception, the czarina mentioned that we were in Bristol now, and Bill and his family should come up and visit. Bill's response? "Why would I do that? Asheville's better." Classic Bill.
Sad day . . . and throwing off plenty of harmonic echoes in my own world. The drive back from Asheville and some of the hours since have been some of the more introspective and psychically disruptive of my life.
Going to a Reiki session tomorrow -- my first. The timing cannot be coincidental.
See ya, Bill. It ain't right. Your life was honored well, but you know that.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Sunday, May 3, 2015
So his current manuscript comes in with this section in the Preface. Fight the power!
Friday, April 17, 2015
Saturday, April 4, 2015
From the current project:
While the president decried Kristallnacht, he announced there would be no change in America’s harsh immigration laws. Strict numeric quotas would remain in place, effectively closing the nation’s doors to the large number of Jews seeking refuge in the United States. But some courageous American leaders pressed for increased immigration. Following Kristallnacht, in February 1939, Senator Wagner and Representative Edith Nourse Rogers (1881–1960), a Massachusetts Republican, cosponsored a bill permitting twenty thousand German Jewish children, a modest number, to enter the United States as nonquota immigrants. Eleanor Roosevelt unsuccessfully urged her husband to support the bipartisan Wagner-Rogers bill. Anti-Semites and isolationists attacked the legislation, as did the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the bill died in committee.
FDR’s cousin, Laura Delano Houghteling (1893–1978), whose husband was the US commissioner for immigration and naturalization, opposed the Wagner-Rogers legislation, declaring, “Twenty thousand charming children would all too soon grow into 20,000 ugly adults.”[i]
[i] Richard Cohen, “Muffling the Drums of War with Iran,” Washington Post, October 1, 2012.
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Monday, March 16, 2015
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Link: Facebook fraud suspect on the lam; family, dog also missing
Part of my attraction is that I've always liked the phrase "on the lam." One of my favorite movies is Petrified Forest (1930s; Bogart, Bette Davis, Leslie Howard), and one of Duke Mantee's gang tells him a few times, "C'mon, boss, let's lam on outta here." I saw the movie on TV one afternoon back in my 20s and fell in love with it. (I just looked it up on YouTube, and only one clip is available, but I did see that there was a live TV version done in the 1950s with Bogart and Henry Fonda. Don't know who plays the Bette Davis role, but the original movie is notable -- among many other reasons -- because Bette Davis plays an idealistic young goddess, not a hardened bitch.)
Oh, yeah, journalism.
If you've clicked on the link above, you perhaps noted something interesting. Here's a story about a guy who tried to pull a multibillion-dollar scam on Mark Zuckerberg, and intrepid AP journalist Larry Neumeister offers up this detail in paragraph 3:
"And the search widened Thursday: Ceglia's wife and two young sons and his family's Jack Russell terrier, Buddy, also have disappeared."
Great reporting there, sport. Too bad you didn't mention the names of the other missing humans until seven paragraphs deeper into the story.
I mean, what gives? Is the dog's name important whatsoever? And Buddy? What a pedestrian name for a dog. Now if the dog's name was Zarathustra or Moon Unit or J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, that's crucial information. But "Buddy"?
Ah, well. Time to see how Vanderbilt did against Ole Miss on October 8, 1949. I wish I was kidding. My whoredom knows no limits, although I did turn down an index the other day. Even with my tolerance (!) for obscure theological prose, this one would have pushed me right over the edge. It's nice to be in a position, ephemeral as it is, to turn away work once in a while that I really don't want to do.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
My present job, a quarterly journal for which I'm the de facto CE -- and have been for about four years now -- deals with matters Asian. While the editors (both content and in-house) do a nice job preparing these manuscripts before I see them, there's still a lot of foreign-language content to sort through. Italics or not? Name order? Translations? Which Li are we talking about? And is that a first or last name? On and on and on.
My dear, long-suffering wife asked if she could help me check the author-date citations -- something that a neophyte could occasionally do. When I showed her what this project involved, she withdrew the offer. Smart woman.
Reading all the references at once, though, uncovers certain patterns, and really that's what my whole work life comes down to: Does the text match the style sheet? Is all this handled consistently? Why didn't I become a plumber? (Well, maybe not the last one.)
A pattern I've begun to recognize is that an awful lot of these references -- not only in this journal, but in plenty of books, too -- cite the first page only of their source.
So what's going on here? Are these scholars just reading the abstracts? Can't these people be bothered to plow through some of their peers' work?* I mean, when I check thirty citations and twenty-five of them are to the first page of the cite, what's my takeaway?
(*"I mingle with my peers or no one. Having no peers, I mingle with no one." --Ignatius J. Reilly)
By the way, after five minutes of lazy research of my own, I can find no good images of a page from an English-language phonebook with a mess of Chinese names. If you can find one, send me the link. Or if you live in a town where the voting-age population is not mostly white meth freaks, morbidly obese white folks, or ancient Caucasians who can't drive more than 18 miles an hour, scan a page of Korean or Chinese names and email it to me. Hell, send me a postcard from such a place. I'm given to understand that not all of America looks like Central Appalachia.
Friday, February 13, 2015
Problem is that the articles for this journal are kinda trickling in, making it hard to get up any rhythm on the work. I worked on an article last night, or earlier this morning, or sometime since the last time I was asleep. It was a perfect storm of relative ignorance for me: MLA style, converting to UK spelling and punctuation, and a Works Cited section that featured a decent amount of -- get ready -- Estonian.
Good thing the work is interesting.
And in an entirely different field, he has 300,000 words of abstracts coming to me for editing in March for an international symposium he's hosting this summer. With any luck, I'll have a little more to grab on to there. Three hundred thousand words of mess might put me right over the edge. Been a very emotional year already.
By no means am I complaining about the work he sends me. I'm loving the relationship. And at least my intestines aren't getting ready to explode any time soon. Sometimes you take the good news where you can get it. When I think of colons, I'd rather keep it work-related, thank you very much.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Important fact learned after the fact. "Make sure you drink plenty of water with that Metamucil. Otherwise it'll turn into bricks in your stomach." Don't you think that information would be especially important for someone who is doubled over in pain because of something that feels like bricks in the stomach?
I was getting the scan done, and the radiology technician and I were talking. I figured we were about the same age, although he ended up being a little younger. After about five words came out of my mouth, he asked, "Where are you from?" Then clarified, "Where are you from originally?"
I said, "The Northeast. New York. Staten Island."
He said, "I thought so. I grew up in Nassau County" [Long Island].
He picked it right up from my voice, which I thought interesting because a friend of my wife's whom I haven't spoken with in many years and I were on the phone the other day, and he commented he could hear no trace of a New York accent. I guess it's knowing what to listen for. Not that I can explain it.
So, the doc says let him know if I continue to have problems with things moving apace through my system or if the significant pain comes back. (I was timing spasms last weekend at 10- or 14-minute intervals that might last one to three minutes. Kinda exhausting.) When I spoke with him today, he was glad to hear I had two days of antibiotics left, or based on the inflamed intestines, he might have put me on a double new dose of antibiotic.
All I want at this point is to be as regular as my dog. And he doesn't have to drink 120 oz. of water a day. Thank god.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
But I guess it's better than one of my organs exploding, which was one of the other options. Apparently my bloodwork came back "great."
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Friday, January 9, 2015
Online explanations are invariably confusing. While I think I grok it now, I can't explain it -- kind of like the Supreme Court justice said about obscenity: "I know it when I see it."
But from one of the online explanations, I've culled and massaged an example that I should keep taped to my forehead.
Pavlov rang the bell, so the dog salivated.
Pavlov rang the bell so that the dog would salivate.
Think about it. It's easier than the accompanying explanations.
Credit, sorta, to the Regent Univ. writing center. I can't imagine any other context in which I'd be giving Pat Robertson credit for anything, except a huge amount of entertainment over the years.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Which is not to say that some of these aren't damn fine books; they are. But their topic matters are so obscure that folks are often amazed when I tell them not only what I've read but, if I can remember it, the batch of books that either just left my desk or are about to arrive. The variety and scope of the obscurity is also impressive.
For years, it seemed that I worked primarily on theological tomes. Now with changes in clients, changes in amount of work from certain clients, and indeed changes at the clients themselves, the theology isn't as heavy. Seems that international relations and social sciences are creeping in more and more. One press, and it's not exactly a secret if you look at their catalog, and if you know anything about the presses listed at the right, has moved largely from the fascinating (seriously) world of the intersection of science and religion -- nuclear physics and other topics that I don't understand -- into the realm of libertarian politics and economics. Or at least that's what I'm seeing. At this point in my life, I can't say that I like the trade-off, although the latter books are generally written by popular authors, and the writing is breezy.
The idea for this blog posting comes from an idea for an email. The producing artistic director of the theatre where my wife works has always been amused at my reading list. I thought I'd compile a month-by-month list for him of my most obscure titles for the year. I've done so and listed them below. Instead, he'll get a copy of this blog posting. He doesn't read blogs anyway, but I've alerted him that I was doing a blog posting in his honor. Maybe he'll read this email, or just skip to the list.
And, please, keep in mind that I really did like some of these books. One of the authors, I have a reason for presuming, followed this blog for a while after I worked on his book. I hope he doesn't take offense at seeing his book here if he checks back in.
The titles in the 2014 Obscurity Review are also a function of what else I worked on that month. I didn't factor in corporate histories or self-published books. The books listed below are all available for sale from their publishers, which I've not listed here, but which I assume hoped for some success for these books, however that might be measured. So if you're a lucky author, none of whom I've named here, who ended up in a month in which I had more self-published books than others, your book had a much better chance of being chosen. Congratulations.
Turns out that most of these books are indexing, because I only get indexes from this particular client, which happens to publish plenty of these kinds of books, bless their hearts.
Books by month, title, and job function:
Monday, January 5, 2015
I've been involved with a particular corporate history for going on three years. Anytime a project lingers that long -- especially a corporate history, which is usually tied to some anniversary date -- you know something's gone wrong.
I copyedited a draft of the lengthy manuscript almost three years ago. The pages came for proofing in early fall of 2014. Uh-oh. And that was before things got weird.
I wrote the publisher today to find out if the book might ever make it to indexing. The response?
"I truly don’t know. They’ve put an indefinite hold on it pending some outcome on the homicide investigation."
As the label says, life in these United States.