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, January 3, 2009

Grab-bag: authors, Demand Studios, timely payment

I've said it before. And my new year's message is the same. What is it about authors that make them think they can just spew the most random nonsense without checking it out? And what is it about some in-house editors who either don't feel that they should challenge authors or just don't have enough sense to know A from B?

I'm copyediting a book (and "copyediting" is mostly a misnomer here -- I'll get to that in a minute) where the author makes two etymological claims in one chapter that anyone with a lick of sense would know are wrong . . . or at least the alarms should have gone off.

1. Soap operas are called soap operas because they come on from 1 to 3 in the afternoon, the time when babies are napping so moms/dads have a moment of peace to do the laundry.

2. The term "blacklisting" dates back to the 1950s.

Now, come on.

I am not going to insult the intelligence of anyone reading this blog by giving the correct information regarding the above two bouts of idiocy that this author committed to print. I will say that I didn't know when "blacklisting" actually came into being, but I felt certain enough that it didn't start with HUAC to at least spend four seconds looking it up.


Copyediting of this book -- about 800 pages worth -- was kind of sold to me under some false pretenses. I think I'm making it work financially, but barely.
The bait-and-switch? It's a two-author book, and one of the authors wrote in first person, so I need to change those chapters to third person. Actually, much of the book is written in second person (it's kind of an instructional manual and textbook of sorts), so really it's getting rid of the I's and we's and our's, not necessarily the you's. But when that's 19 chapters of excising first-person references, that's far beyond what would be considered standard copyediting, and this is indirectly for a publisher who is not known for paying the going rate -- well, not my going rate, anyway -- and that I have refused to copyedit for in the past. Dedicated readers might be able to put two and two together here. Probably the best reason for my taking this job is that it is a reasonably sized paycheck that will be timely paid. If history is any indication, the job should be finished on or about 1/8 or 9, and this company cuts checks on the 10th, God bless 'em.

Even if I'm real close to having the book done, but not quite, I think they'll go ahead and pay me anyway if I get the invoice in on time. Damn, a company with some liquidity. Maybe they can put me on the payroll.


Special report: There might be some movement on the Demand Studios front, of all things. Someone posted a note to my earlier rant giving me a plan of action. We'll see what happens. It might be a case of be careful what you wish for, but in these days, the idea of someone putting some money in my account every Friday holds some appeal.


moi said...

Shouldn't the publisher be running this stuff by oh, I dunno, an in-house EDITOR, before it reaches your hands? Or are you, in the majority of cases, "it" so to speak?

Which means, you're the only person standing between literacy and complete and total madness?


czar said...


This is one of the Nation's Biggest Publishers (caps just for you, my dear), and judging by what they pay their copyeditors (and the fact that much of their typesetting finds its way to me via Bangalore), I suspect the in-house staff is overworked and undercompensated. Strangely, they've never blinked at a proofreading invoice. Or at least I haven't heard about it from the third party providing the necessary buffer between me and these folks.

(For those of you keeping score at home, their name does not necessarily appear in my client list, because I am working for a third party, for which I have great respect.)

But you're right in that sometimes I feel like I'm the gatekeeper. Which is frightening in itself. Which leads me to an inspiration for a post . . .

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