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.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

back in hell

It took all of one index to plunge me right back into despair. Here's a slightly edited email I just wrote to my wife:


I am doing horribly. I cannot stay awake nor focused. This book is impossible to index as it is incredibly detailed, yet there is a limit on the number of lines the index can be. The book is 338 pages, and on average the indexer is limited to about 5 entries per page -- very few. I can either write an extremely terrible index that will fit or a decent index that I will have to spend hours and hours cutting at the end. I have no idea how to do the former, and no energy to do the latter.

Everyone is talked about by their first name (Catherine, Henri, Jeanne) or their last name, which may or may not be a name or a region, or by their title, which is totally vague. The chapters are long with no internal headers whatsoever to give the reader/indexer an idea of where one story stops and another starts. The chapter titles are no help, as they are quotes from obscure pieces of literature. I have indexed exactly 20 pages since arriving here, and the index MUST be with the author first thing Monday morning. I have approximately 300 pages to go and no idea of how to get there. It's a book about [insert name here] (that is the title, [name]), and he is barely mentioned in the first 60 pages as far as I can see. The rest of the first few chapters is a blow-by-blow account of the problems of the Reformation taking hold or not in France, and a bunch of Frenchfolk getting mad at each other and figuring out the territorial benefits of marrying their cousins.

The book is copyedited well, so there's that. But I can understand the medical emergency that kept the first indexer from completing his or her work. I suspect it was a suicide attempt.

Back to work. Or to sleep. Or to throw myself under the next train that passes by here. Oh, I think I hear one now. . . .

Love you,

1 comment:

moi said...

Well, when the going gets tough, the tough bring in Bob. Hang in there. The fate of yet another book on Froggie history is in your hands and one day, a grad student in some musty library will silently thank you.