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, September 29, 2008

when it's fun

I've got to admit to a little sadistic pleasure that comes with this work.

Half my life ago, when I was either proofreading full-time or doing it a good bit on the side, I used to say I had one of the greatest jobs in the world. I'd get to tell people they were wrong for eight hours and they'd love me for it. Actually, the people I was telling were typesetters, and it was a joint effort in making them and our company look good. The sales and customer service people weren't always as pleased. But to the extent I was appreciated for pointing out other people's mistakes, that was nice.

Now the appreciation isn't always so obvious. The main feedback I get is repeat business -- not that there's anything wrong with that.

But occasionally I like to be the anonymous proofreader or editor who bursts some blowhard author's bubble.

Case in point: I'm proofreading a book on sales by a Big Real Estate Agent, or so he's promoted to be. I have no reason to doubt the bio.

So in one of the first chapters he coins the word sticktoitivity, as to be distinguished from stick-to-it-iveness. Whoop-de-do. He hopes to find his little pet word in the dictionary some day, as inelegant as it is. Let's just say it's not truthiness.

So, a few chapters later, I come across this sentence:

Both negativity and positivity (yes, I made up that word) are contagious.

"Positivity"? Mr. Real Estate Gazillionaire is a budding Shakespeare as well?

I think not.

A 5-second bit of research into my trusty Merriam-Webster's 11th shows that the word "positivity" first appeared in the English language a few years ago -- in, um, 1659.

OK, class. This book was "written with" someone else, that is, ghost-written. Don't you think a professional writer would know better? Shouldn't a copyeditor/in-house editor have checked this out? Am I gloating more than a little bit? Do I hope the author feels kinda foolish, if he even finds out about this?


Positivity? Come on, folks. Step up your game. Oh, I just made that phrase up.

1 comment:

moi said...

Maybe it's the synesthesia in Moi rearing its head, but I have a physical aversion to certain words. Positivity is one of them. Although, we're gonna need a boat load of it real soon, so I may have to get over that. And your brother and his cronies? Can we get them to lock our congress up in the bathroom?