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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Surprised? Insulted?

Just received an email from a client that decided to go with a different type of page numbering system. Instead of numbering each book sequentially from 1 to the end, the publisher has decided to number within each chapter. Thus, 1.1-end, 2.1-end. Kind of a tail-wagging-the-dog issue here, but the publisher has a reason for doing so.

Email reads:

Hi Bob,
I know we ran the idea of changing the page numbering system by you, and we wanted to let you know we have decided to use the approach described in the e-mail below. A week or so ago Jane asked me to ask you if your indexing/copyediting software could handle this type of numbering system, but we put contacting you about this on hold until the final decision was made to change the page numbering system. Now that the decision has been made, can your indexing/copyediting software handle this?

Let us know.

Longtime readers know where this one is going. Cue the snarky email response in 3, 2, 1:

Not sure what you mean by "software."

If you ever run into an indexer who touts his or her software, I'd run in the other direction.

And I guess I use the same copyediting software that your authors use writing software. Your authors let all the software do the mental work of writing and researching and editing and keeping review panels happy, right?



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Haiku Monday: The Long and Short of It

Good Tuesday or later, folks.

We ended up with a nice bit of variety, although it was interesting how many haiku focused on food and beverage. Maybe that’s just a sign of where everyone’s head is. When I first thought of the theme, the denotation of the word that intrigued me was selling short -- profiting through loss, betting on a move to the downside. If I had to offer up a haiku this week, I’d have tried to do something with that. But as the definitions showed, many possibilities were available, and judging from the quality of the entries, I’m glad I was on the sidelines this week.

I do intend to keep this short, by the way. Every entry was quality. As I saw them come in, I thought, There’s a winner, there’s a winner. But when one in particular showed up, I knew where the blue ribbon was going, and subsequent entries didn’t move me off that dime.

The entries:

Karl 1: Gets a prize for working “glyexab” into the verse. There’s poetry in word verification.

Fishy 1–3: “Short bus” is always a metaphor and a euphemism that’s well worth mining. The “short ribs” entry made me wish I was invited to the party.

Karl 2: The long and short of the haiku process made me want to dance the hokey-pokey. Liked the rhythm.

Moi: Glad you found your knight in shining armor. I wish I’d have been there when you were thirteen. Alas, I was ensconced in a boys’ school, years away from thinking any female would ever even cough in my direction. (I’m still amazed when they do.) Eh, I’d have ended up on the trash heap, too. Moi at thirteen. Any of us at thirteen. The mind reels.

Chickory: In full disclosure and true to my profession, I should have given credit where it’s due and noted that the definitions were from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition). There, that feels better. Somewhere back in my blog archives, I have an entry about whether “50 Cent” in an index should be alphabetized under “Fifty” or “Fiddy.” I get, obviously, the Randy Nouvel Homme reference, and I guess Gaga is “born this way.” I don’t know where the Fiddy comes in. When I saw “go, go, go shorty,” I thought a little further back -- to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Glad you’re over the plague. We need you plugging away in the many art realms.

Troll 1: Thanks for giving me a chance to ask my son to translate. I think it sounds better in the original.

Kym 1: Being short might be hard, but I think your stature will result in a longer life. I have always thought that life expectancy was related more to height than gender. Women are shorter; live longer. To wit, Muggsy Bogues has already outlasted Manute Bol. The human body’s not designed for excessive height. There’s a reason you hear “little old man,” and you don’t see a lot of six-foot-three nonagenarians stumbling around.

Troll 2: Thanks again for another gift: a visit to the Thomas Hobbes Liquor Emporium. Only at Haiku Monday.

Kym 2: Nice play on “short.” And I am a Waffle House devotee. Lived for 10 years in Avondale Estates, GA, home of the first and the 1,000th WH. From spending literally hundreds (it may even be thousands) of hours patronizing this fine institution, I can attest that the lives of most of the cooks seem scattered, smothered, and covered indeed. And I have the greatest of admiration for those folks. It takes an amazing mind to do that job correctly -- one that I do not possess.

Foam: Good thing about pints and pint-sized folks. If there’s too many of the former, the descent is much quicker, and likely not as painful.

Fleur: We need to get you out more. Or less. We could rename this one “Fleur and the Angry Inch.” How did you ascertain his exact height? Were you toting your Mickey Rooney cardboard cutout for comparison?

Fishy 4: Nice job on the timely and topical. Blago is that dumb. And corrupt. And arrogant.

Uncle 1–2: In my part of the world, two types of wimmen wear short shorts: Girls who are too young for me to be looking at, and women who damn near take up an aisle by themselves at the Walmart. Both are unfortunate in their own way.

Aunty 1–3: I don’t think I set up any rules this time around, nor did I dangle a prize, now that I think of it. Thanks for getting these in. All are great. Shameless pandering is a time-tested way to a man’s heart (see also Fishy 2, “Short ribs”). I love “six short pants and a PUSH!” And between “myopia” this week and “presbyopia” last week, I’m having a hard time seeing straight. All most clever.

And now, having made a short story long, I’ll bring this review up short with a haiku summation:

Wide-ranging short verse.
To Kymical Reactions
Go this week’s honors . . .

for the Waffle House homage.

As I said, no prize forthcoming from here. You don’t need one. As the father of two sons whom I adore, I can say -- as you already know -- your gift awaits you. Sounds like you’re already enjoying it.

Had a great time, folks. Thanks to Troll et al. for entrusting me with this institution for a week. Back to meet a deadline on which I’ve left myself woefully short on time.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Haiku Monday: Short

Take it any way you want.
Haiku on "short" in 5-7-5 format.
Post in comments field below.

Main Entry: short
Etymology:Middle English, from Old English sceort; akin to Old High German scurz short, Old Norse skortr lack
Date:before 12th century

1 a : having little length  b : not tall or high  : LOW
2 a : not extended in time  : BRIEF  *a short vacation*  b : not retentive  *a short memory*  c : EXPEDITIOUS, QUICK  *made short work of the problem*  d : seeming to pass quickly  *made great progress in just a few short years*
3 a of a speech sound   : having a relatively short duration  b : being the member of a pair of similarly spelled vowel or vowel-containing sounds that is descended from a vowel that was short in duration but is no longer so and that does not necessarily have duration as its chief distinguishing feature  *short i in sin*  c of a syllable in prosody    (1) : of relatively brief duration  (2) : UNSTRESSED
4 : limited in distance  *a short trip*
5 a : not coming up to a measure or requirement  : INSUFFICIENT  *in short supply*  b : not reaching far enough  *the throw to first was short*  c : enduring privation  d : insufficiently supplied  *short of cash*  *short on brains*
6 a : ABRUPT, CURT  *I'm sorry I was short with you*  b : quickly provoked  *a short temper*
7 : CHOPPY 2
8 : payable at an early date  *a short loan*
9 a : containing or cooked with shortening;  also   : FLAKY  *short pastry*  b of metal   : brittle under certain conditions
10 a : not lengthy or drawn out  *a short speech*  b : made briefer  : ABBREVIATED
11 a : not having goods or property that one has sold in anticipation of a fall in prices  b : consisting of, relating to, or engaging in the sale of securities or commodities that the seller does not possess or has not contracted for at the time of the sale  *short sale*  *a short seller*
12 : near the end of a tour of duty
  –short£ish \*sh*r-tish\  adjective 
  –short£ness \*sh*rt-n*s\  noun 
  –in short order : with dispatch  : QUICKLY

Main Entry: short
Date:circa 1586

1 : the sum and substance  : UPSHOT
2 a : a short syllable  b : a short sound or signal
3 plural    a : a by-product of wheat milling that includes the germ, fine bran, and some flour  b : refuse, clippings, or trimmings discarded in various manufacturing processes
4 a : knee-length or less than knee-length trousers —  usually used in plural  b plural   : short drawers  c : a size in clothing for short men
5 a : one who operates on the short side of the market  b plural   : short-term bonds
6 plural   : DEFICIENCIES
9 a : SHORT SUBJECT  b : a brief story or article (as in a newspaper)
  –for short : as an abbreviation  *named Katherine or Kate for short*
  –in short : by way of summary  : BRIEFLY

Main Entry: short
Function:transitive verb

3 : to sell (a security) short in expectation of a fall in prices

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Need Your Wisdom, Blog Homies: And/Or

An editor I work with once made a pretty solid argument that, in most cases, the "and/or" construction is clunky, useless, and repetitive. Most of the time, "or" implies "and," and that "and/or" should generally not appear.

I can never remember his argument as well as he stated it, but I'd like to hear the opinions of people I trust.

What do you think? Get rid of "and/or"? Why? Or why not?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Form and Formlessness

Revelation time.

Most poetry I am exposed to these days does nothing for me, not that I come across much of it. Generally it’s what appears in the New Yorker, or what Garrison Keillor reads in his daily poetry minutes on NPR—although now that I think of it, I think the local NPR affiliate has done away with Keillor’s segment.

New Yorker’s poetry often leaves me with two takeaway notions.

1. If I submitted this poem instead of the person whose name I recognize at the end of the verse, it would have gone straight into the trash.

2. This poem is nothing but middling prose with line breaks.

But I came across a New Yorker poem a few weeks back titled “Facebook Sonnet.” I loved it. I’m sure I’m violating eight or seven commandments right now—especially for someone in the publishing industry—but here it is:

Welcome to the endless high-school
Reunion. Welcome to past friends
And lovers, however kind or cruel.
Let’s undervalue and unmend

The present. Why can’t we pretend
Every stage of life is the same?
Let’s exhume, resume and extend
Childhood. Let’s all play the games

That occupy the young. Let fame
And shame intertwine. Let one’s search
For God become public domain.
Let church.com become our church.

Let’s sign up, sign in, and confess
Here at the altar of loneliness.

—Sherman Alexie

And it struck me: I like structure. Free verse, not so much. And that explains my enjoyment, too, of Haiku Monday. If it were Free Verse Friday, I’m not sure what would be worse: writing entries or reading those from other people.

So, I prefer form. Poetry within certain parameters, which offers a certain obvious challenge.
Then, revelation two: Why people don’t like certain types of jazz.

Just guessing, but maybe it's the seeming lack of structure. My wife, for example, can listen to Kenny Burrell or Bill Evans or Jimmy Smith or Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, but Coltrane’s A Love Supreme? Nope. “My Favorite Things”? Long enough while he’s holding the melody, but not past it. Ornette Coleman? I wouldn’t even try.

I was talking to Tere about this and she said, “But I like abstract art—visual art.”

I responded, “Yeah, but there’s an end to it. You don’t have to go beyond the canvas. You know where it begins and ends. Unlike a Coltrane song, which you never know how long it’s going to go on, or when it will return to the theme. There’s an uncertainty there that leaves you uncomfortable.”

Well, to be fair, I would admit to some share of shrieking and bleating in Coltrane and Coleman that aren't for everyone . . . not that there's anything wrong with that.

For me, I don’t mind the aural discomfort. But the structureless void, and occasional blathering, of much free verse? Prose and hard returns. Blah.

So, that’s my one thought for 2011.



PS: I am not on Facebook. 
PPS: Haiku Monday at Chez Fleur. The theme is memory.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shameless Plug for a Great Small Press

Vineyard Stories is a wonderful press that produces beautifully written and often visually stunning books on a variety of topics. While much of the subject matter seems at first glance like local interest, the books' links to Martha's Vineyard belie their universal appeal. Shipbuilding, local farming, fishing, memoirs, politics/culture, the passage of time, and more -- Vineyard Stories offers an excellent product. And unlike many of the more academic books I work on, you could proudly give these books as gifts and actually feel comfortable showing up to those people's houses at a later date.

I'm proud of my association with Jan Pogue and Vineyard Stories. Check 'em out.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Perhaps It's Bad Blogging Form

But through feedjit I see that I have what I presume is one person who regularly checks in from the Russian Federation. I'd love to know who you are and what brought you here and what brings you back. If you don't feel comfortable leaving a comment -- even anonymously -- feel free to email me at the address in the righthand column.

But most important, the last thing I want to do is scare you away. I know that I've stopped patronizing restaurants in the past as soon as I was pegged as a regular and my orders became predictable. Some people strive for such recognition. I'd often rather just be one of the crowd. Don't point out that you know I'm there.

And I think I've mentioned it in the past. I am of half-Russian heritage. Even linked with a somewhat notorious figure in Russian history. For all I know, it's a long-lost cousin keeping tabs on me.

So . . . my Russian friend, or my expat buddy. What's up?