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.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nobody's Perfect: The Other Shoe Falls

Readers of this blog will remember, maybe, that a pal and I were being called on the carpet a week or so ago for an error that made it into print. "Carpet" might be a bit severe in this case. Maybe we were called on the washcloth.

From the publisher:

Hi, XX and XX:

The proofreading question came up when I noticed that one of our reviewers had, as reviewers sometimes do, marked mistakes in the unedited ms. The mistake he noted made it all the way to final pages: a sentence ending in a comma (or a word erroneously uppercased), which tends to be the most obvious of typos. Seeing one glitch like [sic] makes one wonder about others, but if it was Bob Land, I'll assume it was a rare mistake. (See below.) Tx. XX

"As the process goes on, constant explanation of what is happening and full communication with the public would be vitally important, Steps toward unity would have to be tested and modeled among the rank-and-file faithful of all the participating denominations, and final decisions would necessarily require approval at these levels too."

Folks, here was my response to my pal upon receipt of the above memo, which my pal also viewed as ludicrous:

1. Every error is glaring when it's pointed out.

2. I appreciate the compliment from him, I guess, but this is hardly a stop-the-presses moment. If this is the worst he can come up with after the, I suspect, literally millions of words that you and I (especially you) have cranked out for him over the years, often delivering on deadlines that most people would refuse, he should keep his freaking mouth shut.

If you are a potential client reading this, please do not take offense. But please also consider an entire body of work done over the years. As I've said, I don't mind being told I'm wrong (really, I don't), but it at least should be a substantive error. I've proofed and indexed dozens of books -- probably representing tens of thousands of pages of work -- for this particular publisher over the last 5 years, and if this is the first I'm hearing, I'm not doing so bad.

A credo I live by is that when someone is trying to justify or explain something or make excuses, listen to the first thing out of their mouths, because you presume you're hearing their best shot, and everything after that is embellishment or backtracking. This is the first feedback I've heard from them, other than that they continue to use me regularly, which is the best feedback I receive.

PS: Don't write me about this kind of error when you're past 30 days on paying invoices. That doesn't help either.

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