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, August 31, 2016

Gotta Get It off My Chest So That I Can Get Back to Work

I am privileged, honored, and blessed to work with a mostly great group of managing editors, production editors, editorial directors, South Asian production teams, publishers, flunkies, and other folks who feed me work -- intelligent, often funny, and typically demanding.

Every once in a while the presses screw up, as do I. I can't lay the blame for this decision at the feet of the person who sent me the work, because the mandate likely came from the author or some other, uh, authority.

This month has brought four different index update projects, which is as many as I might get in a typical year or two. I usually don't like this process, mostly because I'm having to deal with other people's indexes -- often the author's, I fear.

For the current project, the existing index is a mishmash of, in addition to about 50 percent useful entries, material in the author's head that doesn't appear on the page (very difficult to update) and the most inane type of word-search-instead-of-an-index that I've seen (very frustrating to update from an indexer's point of view, but it's not my job to eviscerate the index, because I wasn't hired to improve the content -- only update it). For example, if the phrase "heart of darkness" appeared in the book, "heart" received a citation if that word was indexed for another reason.


The previous indexer also missed obvious citations for which there were already entries, as with names. I'm adding those if I see them.

Here's the kicker: Not only is it a very demanding press (I'd get fired for submitting an index like this), but I could have written a much better index in less time than it's taking me to update the page numbers . . . and they're paying me the same price as they pay indexers now, as far as I know.

Mitigating circumstance: I would not have received a request to update this index in the first place because I don't index for this press anymore. Why? Because of the rate they pay.

But I like this press enough that, in a softhearted moment, I might have suggested that I just rewrite. I suppose I wasn't in the mood or made the discovery too late.

So . . . I'm taking too long updating an index that should be rewritten for an otherwise good book (I think) that I'm not even getting to read.


As much as I bitch about it, I do kind of like the reading part of my job.

UPDATE: Now here's something hilarious. I was looking at my blog posting history, and this year is on the way to being the most prolific yet, not that I really care. But I opened up 2013, which was the year I'd written least (only 18 postings for the year; damn). Clicked on the first link, and to what did my wondering eyes appear?

Another rant on updating indexes. Title: Torture and Bafflement

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