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.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sage Words in a Scribbled Hand

My older son is an actor getting ready to graduate college. I can hear him thinking while growing up, Yeah, when it comes to job uncertainty, I want to put to shame being a freelance editor like my dad. 

Mission accomplished.

Imagine the audition process that he will have gone through half a dozen times by the end of this school year: ninety seconds to show your stuff (60 sec. acting, 30 sec. singing). Ninety seconds of your job performance -- on demand, in front of scores of strangers -- to determine your future employment. And I've heard people say that casting directors know within the first ten seconds if they want you.

You've got your ninety seconds, and within fifteen seconds, some of the people watching you start checking their emails or scoping out other people in the room. And you have to maintain. Can you imagine?

A few weeks back, my son asked me to scan a few audition reports for him that he wanted to show to one of his professors. As I was doing so, I noticed the comment scrawled on one of them,

What do you want? Who are you talking to?

And I thought those would be good words for authors to keep in mind.

I work on so many books in which the author doesn't seem to know where to go or what to do with the reader. When I'm on page 200 of a manuscript, I don't want to read about what this book is going to do. If it's not doing it already, spare me the anticipation.

When I'm reading, unless I knew your name when I picked up the book, I don't necessarily want to have forty-five pages of front matter telling me your life story and what brought you to write this book. A few pages are fine. I think that front matter like this probably comes screaming in at the last minute, and the in-house editor and writer are probably so tired of the process by that point that the path of least resistance comes into play.

I guess what I'm saying is that I like books that are nonintrusive. As actors learn, don't tell me page by page what you're going to do and who you are. Show me by the content. I'll take it from there. 

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