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 12, 2012

Tales of Brave Ulysses and Matters Mystic

The title of the post is for the Paisan, but the post is all about me. I mean, this is a work blog, right? My work blog?

And the point of the blog was originally to serve as a site to hawk my wares. Evidence over time shows that the approach has worked. I’m presently editing a nifty and utterly fascinating book on the history of hypertext. The author came referred to me from an Australian professor who found the blog and me and whose book I worked on a few years back. Now he’s spreading the love around the world to his peers. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.

Occasionally my readers might not be authors but managing editors who have sent work my way. It’s all good.

Those of you keeping score may remember that I’ve been proofreading since 1974. First for my high school newspaper (perpetual gold-medal winner at the Columbia Scholastic Press Association), and then beginning in 1981 with a now-lengthy series of paying gigs (in addition to and wrapped around editing, etc.). It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that I’ve forgotten more companies that I’ve proofread for than I remember.

The only time in the last 38 years that I’ve not been involved in some way with printing or publishing was during my three-plus years as an English major in college -- time during which I avoided publishing . . . and the classics. Don’t ask why. I can’t say I always make the best or most appropriate decisions.

During those college years, I met a friend with whom I’ve recently reconnected over the last few years. He’s always had one foot firmly planted in matters mystic. In a recent email from him, he warned, “Be careful about what you invite into your life.” I think the point was that if you want a door to open, you’d better be ready to handle whatever’s behind that door. It might be way more than you bargained for.

And a few posts back, I pondered . . . How would I handle it if Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans were to come in over the transom these days? And what if it required a read against the manuscript, which is rarely done anymore? Nine hundred pages of one of the English language’s most unreadable novels . . . that I would have to read under deadline pressure . . . and where mistakes carry consequences.

I thought the 900-page family history that came into my life which I edited, and which I may soon be indexing, was the universe’s little giggle on my behalf.

Be careful what you invite into your life.

Even unknowingly.

I give you a moment from last week’s Land on Demand inbox:

* *

Dear Bob:

[OUR] press is publishing an e-book edition of Ulysses based on [OUR] World Classics print edition. We are going to create this e-book edition by optical character recognition (OCR) scanning of the print book. We need to get it proofread because this kind of technology is, of course, imperfect and we want to avoid the introduction of the kinds of errors one often sees in quickly made e-books.

I am sure I don’t need to tell you that this particular book is going to be a challenge to proofread. Joyce was not a conventional speller or punctuator. There are existing typos and other errors in the book that have to be retained for historical reasons, so this will be a careful check against the original. What you would read are Word files containing the output of the OCR process. Only errors introduced during OCR will be fixed.

Anyway, I thought of you immediately. We should have the files around the 23rd of March and were hoping to have them back a month later. I don’t know exactly how many pages it will be in Word terms, but the print edition is 980 typeset pages.

* *

As an English major, a lifetime proofreader, and one whose business relies on the graces of scholarly presses, I can think of no greater capstone than to be “thought of immediately” when [OUR] Press wants to republish its definitive version of Ulysses in an in-demand format for a new millennium.

Here's lookin' at you, kid.


moi said...

I go away for a while and see what happens? You write three posts. THREE!

Big congrats on now being thought of immediately by Oxford U's press. That's quite the accomplishment.

However, I'm still mentally upchucking at the thought of ever having to proofread Joyce—hell, READ Joyce—for any reason.

But that's why you are the King of All Copy Editing.

czar said...

@Moi: Don't make it a habit.

I fear the blog posting is a bit too braggy, but who's going to do it, if not me?