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, November 17, 2008


According to the Dashboard, this is the 100th post to my blog. Maybe someone's learned something along the way. Maybe I've gotten a dollar or two out of it (questionable). I've certainly spent/wasted/passed enough time fooling with the thing. And feedjit is a hoot. Might as well continue.

I just wrapped up an index and sent it to the author, which happens maybe one out of ten times. Usually my indexes are sent to the publisher or the book designer, and what happens from there is not my concern. Sometimes, as I believe I've said before, the publisher doesn't even run them by the author before they are printed. I guess the author was probably given the opportunity to write it perself, and passing on that opportunity also gives up the right to any input.

When I send an index to the author, there's about a 1- to 2-day breath-holding period. The responses vary from (paraphrasing) "Looks good" (i.e., "Looks like an index") to "Needs some work" to "Let me try to make connections in the index that I neglected to make in the book."

Of course, I love response 1, which means the index is sent to the publisher and the author gets the invoice. Response 2 generally comes with suggestions for changes, which I implement pretty much thoughtlessly, and then continue on. If the changes aren't specific enough, I go back to the author. Presumably I've already taken my best shot at writing the index I thought was appropriate for the book, so if the author thinks changes need to be made, per needs to tell me what they are. Response 3, I just shrug my shoulders and do as I'm told.

When I was writing textbooks for a living -- part of the inevitable and not-so-fascinating descent into my basement/garage -- we would always have a peer as an editor. A quickly established rule was that one could not just circle a sentence and write "Fix this" in the margin. I take the same approach to indexes that are reviewed by another. I've already done what I thought was my best work. If author wants to see something different, per had best tell me what that is.

I think the fastest response I ever received on an index was about 10 minutes. It was a book about nuclear nonproliferation treaties -- sorta difficult text, multiauthor book, one of the co-editors was my contact. Sent him the index, got back a "Looks good." I think he was so over the process at that point that as long as whatever I sent him had tabs and was alphabetized, it was going to look good to him.

I know the feeling, and I hope it's one shared by my current client.

On to 101.

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