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.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Authors and Designers: Just Stick with What Works

Letter to a managing editor, in response to an author who wants special symbols by those Bible translations that are his own. The author had suggested an "a" or an asterisk.

"Everyone's got a new wrinkle.

"An 'a' would be confusing: could be a part of a verse. I wouldn't use an asterisk, because people will be looking for what it refers to, like a note. I'd suggest a dagger, but don't you wacky Romanists use that sometimes to indicate a person is dead? 

"A symbol is fine; the more distinct the better, and preferably something people wouldn't associate with a note marker. God forbid it should just say 'author's trans.' like every other fncking book. How about a pentagram, or an uroboros?"

Another book I am working on has one of the goofiest fonts I've ever seen for the sans serif text: when a lower-case f precedes and i, l, or another f, it has a long descender. Why? Because people just can't leave sh!t alone. Everyone's gotta make their mark.

Very prominent theologian or biblical scholar or philosopher—maybe she's all three—has a very particular way she wants her indexes done. Unfortunately no one let me know this while I was dragged through the mill of four rounds of changes, with her probably thinking she was dealing with a drop-dead idiot the entire time. The next year, she has another book with the same press, and it comes to me for indexing. I asked the managing editor, "Are you sure? Does she know it's going to the same indexer?" Yes, yes.

When I knew what she wanted ahead of time, got an immediate approval. Art imitates life. Indexing still sucks.

On the matter of authors, another managing editor mentioned that a book that was coming to me for indexing (I've promised this one press they have me for indexing for five more seasons) came from the desk of her worst proofreader. I have these bighearted managing editors who want to keep sending people money for doing crappy work. They could pay me the same and, well, never mind. So, her worst proofreader turns out to be . . . an author who likes to proofread and index. 

Well, hell. That's your problem right there. Authors generally don't understand either one.

Without going into too much detail, as it's a sad story -- but it's also 4am and I'm between projects and in a holding mode and not at all tired -- we came to know a teenager a few years ago, and I asked him early on, "What kind of work would you like to do as an adult?" He said, "Psychologist." I just shook my head. Never knew a psychologist who wasn't crazy. Ever been to an optometrist who had 20/20 vision?

Two-three years later, poor kid is dead. Born into truly unimaginable (for me) wealth and privilege, off-the-charts intelligent, and never given a chance to develop a single tool to deal. Sooner or later, that's gonna catch up with you.

Is there any point here? Eh, not really. Let me know if you figure one out. 

"Between the idea and the reality / falls the shadow"? That always works.

No comments: