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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
There was a lengthy "Best of Jaywalking" segment, highlights of Leno asking people on the street questions about history and other topics. A sample: A woman correctly said the first man to land on the moon was Armstrong, but when asked his first name offered "Louie," not Neil.
From this blog:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
So I ask my pal, "Proofreading? I copyedited it. What's up?"
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Bill Shipp came into my life personally in the last quarter of his career, and in the early to middle stages of mine. As a freelance copyeditor and proofreader working for almost all of Atlanta’s business and political periodicals in the mid-1990s, I received a call one day in 1997 from Tim Bentley, another great and unfortunately late-too-soon Georgia political journalist, saying he’d heard Bill Shipp needed an editor, and could he pass my name along?
Me? Work for Bill Shipp? Pinch me, I’m dreaming. Having lived in Atlanta since 1977, I was more than familiar with Mr. Shipp’s work. (And I called him “Mr. Shipp” for years before he invited me to call him “Bill.” I was just raised to talk to my elders that way, especially one as esteemed as he was, yet I know he didn’t stand on formality. That’s just how it went.)
So I’m sitting in the DeKalb County Public Library near Northlake one day, and my pager went off. I found a public telephone (remember those?) and dialed the number. Bill Shipp’s number.
“Bob, I heard about you. My editor just quit, and I need someone to read my columns and newsletter. I don’t want just someone to check grammar. I need someone who will tell me when I’m off-base and tear up my writing when it needs it. Can you do that for me?”
Off we went. Via fax and e-mail. The very occasional phone conversation. For 12 years. I worked with him anywhere from two to four days a week, 15 to 60 minutes at a time. I believe I met him face to face exactly three times: twice very early on in the parking lot of Channel 5 when I was working on his book The Ape-Slayer and Other Snapshots and once with my wife Tere and his daughter Michelle about two or three years ago at a restaurant in Kennesaw.
My life for the last 12 years has been the steady drumbeat of Sundays and Thursdays, editing his columns before they were distributed to his syndicate. And Bill Shipp’s Georgia before it became Matt Towery’s property. And his columns for Georgia Trend. And the every-so-often special-occasion piece.
When I started using a laptop, I’d take it with me, mostly so I didn’t have to miss a column if I was traveling somewhere. If I didn’t get the column, I’d write to his assistants over the years, concerned that I’d missed something or, later, concerned about him.
Bill was a unique writer in that he had absolutely no fear of the editing process. Just the opposite. Some years ago, if I went for, say, 4 weeks without bleeding all over one of his columns — in some cases rewriting or trying in my own clumsy prose to say what I thought he was trying to say or even should have said — he’d call me up and give me a hard time.
“I’m not paying you just to pass over these columns. You need to tear them up more often than you have been. I know they need it.”
But they often didn’t. So what’s a poor editor to do, given good material?
Bill’s political leanings were hardly concealed. And in the days after the Republicans took over Georgia, his voice became more noticeable. Every once in a while, he’d pen some piece that seemed a little too moderate, too conciliatory. I’d email him and ask what was up? His response: “I’ve got to write one of those every so often so my newspaper editors don’t think I’m a communist.”
Then the email hits my account today that Bill is hanging it up. Effective immediately.
I want closure, a different kind anyway. I want a farewell column. I want the dean of Georgia’s journalists to give one last wave to the first rumblings of integration in Athens while he was a student, Billy Graham, Zell Miller, his dear departed son Ernie and wife Reny, Jimmy Carter, Ernest Vandiver, Tom Watson Brown, Lester Maddox, Romeo Richardson, the AJC, the Talmadges, Roy Barnes, Mike Bowers, Tom Murphy and a hundred others. Even Sonny Perdue. I want the perspective of history. I live in Virginia now, but Georgia still feels very much like home, and a big reason for that is Bill Shipp.
I’d have worked for him for free (although I don’t think I ever offered), but now I’m feeling a far greater loss than the monthly, promptly delivered check. He was no doubt my smallest regular client measured by dollars, but dollars are an entirely insufficient measure of the last 12 years.
Mr. Shipp — Bill — thanks for taking me along for the ride.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I visited a Unity church today. Very, very interesting. And I will leave it at that.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 2:27 PM
I was pleased to stumble upon your blog. After earning an M.A. in English in 1999 and being a stay-at-home mother for the last 10 years, I am contemplating taking courses through Berkeley Extension in order to become an editor. I have no prior editing experience. Do you think I'll be wasting my money ($2000 for a four-course certificate) given how difficult it seems to be to get employment in this field?
Thanks for reading the blog. I hope you found something in there worthwhile.
I'm not sure that it's impossible to get employment in this field, although times are tough all over. But with improvements in self-publishing and the huge amount of website content that companies must have written, I'd say a lot more is being written and published these days than 10 years ago. It's a matter of finding people and companies that recognize the value of editing.
With an M.A. in English, you presumably have pretty good editorial skills already (which I can also see from your email). I'd be curious about the course content. Would they be reviewing style manuals, editing for different types of publications, marketing . . . or just reinforcing what you already know about where the commas go and when you should use semicolons?
Here's a question to ask yourself: Do you think potential employers would be any more likely to hire you seeing that you've taken an extension course in editing? There are a lot of laid-off editors out there with experience. And $2000 is a lot of money.
Not knowing any more about your background than what you've told me here, and not knowing what part of the country you're in -- particularly whether you're near a big city, where the need for editors is always greater -- my guess would be that if you spent the time you'd take in completing the course in trying to develop contacts for whom you could apply your editing skills, you'd probably end up with clients quicker just by putting your thinking cap on and being really creative in considering who you can hawk your skills to than by taking the course.
Because even after you've spent that $2000, you still have to find the clients. It's Step One in either case. The course would be a prelim.
Have I answered your question? And remember this is just one person's opinion. I'm sure you're not going to make the decision based on my input. Check around. Ideally you can find some people who have been through the course and see if it helped them.
Best of luck. Let me know how things turn out.
Agree or disagree? Talk amongst yourselves.