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, July 30, 2015

Must Have Been Interesting in the Green Room

It was an unusual display of star power considering that [the Erie Benedictine Sisters], which soon disbanded and was never heard from again, shared the stage that evening with Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, singer Petula Clark, comedian Alan King, and the Muppets in their first TV appearance.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just Finished Proofing a Book by Her and Now Indexing Her Biography

Everything that is written about us is written without us. The only input that the [Catholic] church takes on the women’s issue is what we do on the steps outside your closed doors. After you issue your bulletins defining us as lower and lesser kinds of human beings, we react to them. Dissent is the only ministry a woman has in the church. And when we react, you call us radical feminists and heretics.

--Joan Chittister

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Meet the proprietor in a rare moment of dozing, with four-month-old Franny:


Slavery made many free white Jamaicans very rich; by the middle of the eighteenth century, Jamaicans would be the wealthiest Britons outside of Britain. As historian Trevor Burnard has shown, the average white man in Jamaica was more than thirty-six times wealthier than the average white man in the thirteen mainland colonies. Only four men in all of New England and the middle colonies had wealth that exceeded the wealth of the average white Jamaican. (emphasis added)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Today's Great Customer Comment

One of my publishers asks me to bid on a large novelization of some ancient stories. Large, like 800-900 manuscript pages, and you can look at my rate sheet and do the math yourself.

The author responds, "I already spent a lot of money with a content editor. Why should I spend more on a copyeditor?"

Very reasonable question, to which I can usually, through a page or two of sample editing, offer quite damning evidence of why a copyeditor provides essential value.

The managing editor for the press asks if I can do a sample edit to show the author what he'll get for his money. In perhaps the first time in -- well -- forever, I tell a client that, indeed, the manuscript is in such good shape that the $4K or so spent on copyediting would be misused funds . . . and it would be such easy money. Through a sampling of different parts of the document, I can find virtually nothing I would change.

The publisher is presently recovering from a serious operation (N.B., DB: not a lobotomy). The managing editor passed along that the publisher thought she'd taken too much Oxycontin before reading my email.

What was that old image I used? Maybe those days are behind me.

But don't count on it.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Oh, Those Wacky Academics

Even though the topics may change over time, much of my labor still involves pressing my nose to the trappings of supposedly informed discourse: footnotes (or author/date citations) and bibliographies. Nothing like editing 12 hours of such documentation to the exclusion of any running text. But I guess that's a production decision.

Such citations are important, one is given to understand. My grad-school son and girlfriend were at the house during finals period in the spring and had me giving their APA documentation in a semester-end paper the once-over.

One of my esteemed publishers -- esteemed because they send me paychecks, albeit a bit sluggishly -- has me edit the text and then deal with the author's review of my copyedit. In other words, I get to see what edits they override, what mistakes I overlooked (he writes, mea culpingly), and what they choose to ignore.

I'm presently reviewing a manuscript that I sent back to the publisher in October 2014, for chrissakes, and the author just managed to get around to reviewing the text. That cutting edge dulls a bit with time, buddy.

Routine queries involve places in which the author/date citations don't match up with the bibliography or where the author should be citing a particular fact.

Author for this book has simply deleted many of the queries where the information disagreed -- and deleted the citation itself as well. Simply too busy to do the legwork, I guess. So now what appears? Either what seems like an unsubstantiated fact or a wee bit of something that smacks of, uh, violation of fair use -- or perhaps lack of intellectual integrity. Is there a nicer word for that?

A representation of a null set, so the site sez

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Today's Word Is

In Rome, the mentally handicapped could not inherit an estate or participate in “legal activity.” Some who escaped tardocide (the killing of those considered to be “idiots”) became “objects of display and amusement for the rich.” They were “lacking understanding, similar to children,” with no “legal capacity.”

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Drawing That Line in the Sand

But thanks to this work, people from all over learned about the repression [in Nicaragua]. I was told the bloody dictator of Uganda, Idi Amín, was compared to Somoza and he became furious and said he could eat the liver of his enemies but he did not bomb his own people like Somoza.