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, March 5, 2012


I’m working on an institutional history—a mostly scholarly book, not a coffee-table book. What I’ve come to realize about every one of these histories regardless of format, and I’ve worked on plenty, is that each merits a lengthy subentry or entry titled “financial difficulties,” not to mention “leadership changes.” For most of the organizations, the financial difficulties occur about every two decades, following either the national economy or the fact that the organization's early years were the product of a prophet who took action without waiting to determine demand.

Anyway, an index that relates financial difficulties point by pointwhen they take place in every chapter, sometimes more than once, and overwhelm the content (not necessarily the case here)makes for a rather tedious index. Moreover, I don’t do sub-subentries . . . especially when I'm not dead solid certain that the press's designers would get it right.

The only time I've ever done sub-subentries was for a Sandy Koufax biography. The structure of the book necessitated itto me, at the time. I wish I had more sports biographies cross my desk.

Anywayhow many tangents so far?this time, I am resolved not to have an entry in this institutional history on “financial difficulties.” I might tend more toward a proper-name approach, which I do . . . never. At least not intentionally. But this book is the same story in virtually every chapter, and sometimes with the same characters. Ugh. What was that quote below? Same bed, different dreams? Does it apply? I'm still trying to get my mind around it.

[Interlude: I’ve spoken or blogged about how themes repeat in my work, and how a concept I’d never heard before often shows up in rapid succession in unrelated projects. After reading the book that included “Same bed, different dreams,” I worked on another book representing an aspect of Asian history (the famine in China, 1958 to 1962; ugh {my next quotes posting will come with a warning and a disclaimer}) that also referred to “Same bed, different dreams.”]

I also proofread this institutional history first, which helps me lay out an indexing approach before beginning the work. Yes, reading the book first helps. Folks have asked over the years if I proofread and index at the same time. I guess I could, but both jobs would be the worse for it, and it would take longer, maybe. I don’t want to test it, although it is a time for changes.

Authors or benevolent editors perform a great favor for indexers by including subheads in their books. Some days I’d rather index a tedious, out-of-my-mental-range set of proofs with a subhead every couple of pages than a more accessible work with forty-page chapters and no break . . . and no clue about where the chapter is going.

The ultimate in indexer friendliness is a client of mine that publishes self-study textbooks, with three levels of heads, key terms BF ital with alternates ital, and a list of key terms at the end of every chapter. As an indexer, that’s about as close to ooh-la-la as it gets.

Production notes: Hardly in the interest of greening the LandonDemand intergalactic corporate HQ, I’ve gone to mostly paperless indexing. Back in the old days of 2011, I’d print out the PDF and have it next to the laptop while my head would dart back and forth as if at a tennis match some distance away. Now, instead, I open the PDF and Word, set the windows next to each other, and go from there.

Benefits: Less time in glancing back and forth, and flipping pages (it adds up); can copy and paste names, particularly names of institutions. That’s huge.

Drawbacks: Paging through the book in hard copy to see how long a section is seems quicker. But that’s not a big deal.

You’d think I’d have figured this out years ago.

Gone on long enough. Avoiding work.

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