KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Day in the Freelance Life

It ain't all naps and bonbons, being a freelancer. My days often go a lot like the way Amy, my friend and a freelance copyeditor like me, tells me today went for her. Just throw in two young children, change the husband's name, swap the dogs for cats, and her story's mine:

I'm currently juggling five projects. Three had batches that could potentially go out today: one for sure (A) that was ready to go, one for the same client (B) with a few outstanding questions, and one (C) that would be nice to get out so I didn't have to look at it anymore. But C is for the same editor as project D, which has been having a lot of back-and-forth with the publisher, and the author needs to be treated with kid gloves, and the editor is out on vacation until Thursday. I'd like to have C waiting for her when she gets back, and hopefully a few chapters of D, but it's not strictly necessary. And then there's E, whose next batch I'd like to go out tomorrow so I can devote several full days to D.

I get up this morning and finish up B, then send the questions by e-mail. Dive into C. Meanwhile my new e-mail server has gone out, and the tech on live chat assures me that it will be back up soon. Send a note to editor B asking her to copy my old account with her reply. My e-mail eventually comes back up, and editor E e-mails to ask if I can have a batch of it to her tomorrow, as the author is out of town next week. That would be no, as I have only one chapter almost ready, and the other two typemarked only. (I had the remainder of today and tomorrow scheduled for it, to have it ready to ship one day early.) Will she take one chapter tomorrow, or will all three on Thursday be sufficient? Three on Thursday is fine; good, because I don't know how I was going to get B, C, and E ready to go out today. Meanwhile, I realize that I'm still missing some stuff for C that may come today or tomorrow. I finish it as best I can and put it aside. Now editor D's substitute e-mails me with a request from the author to make sure I follow house style on one point. I e-mail back that this conflicts with the special instructions for this project, specifically negating house style, that I already had; which is right? (We've done this already once before on this project.) Dive into E. Editor B responds with answers, and I pack up A and B in the same package. Editor D's sub e-mails to tell me to disregard house style and continue as before. I wrap up the half-done first chapter of batch E and am finally looking at a clean slate.

So phew! A and B are ready, C is on hold, D is waiting for me to finish E, and I have two pristine chapters of E to finish for shipment tomorrow, easy as long as I stay on track.

I have lunch and hang out with [my husband] Boyd and the pups a little bit before he goes to work, and then decide to take a few laps with the lawn mower (after Boyd leaves for work, with my package to drop at the UPS box on the way) before the rain starts again (the weather here has been so wet the last few weeks, I've been thinking of building an ark). I finish two laps through the ankle-high lawn before the storm clouds roll in and the temperature drops. Oh well. I'd better get inside while I still have an Internet connection. As soon as I get to my desk, the connection does indeed go down, but a reboot fixes it. When I check my mail, there's a request for my résumé from a publisher I've never worked for or applied to; she says an editor I did a few jobs for way back when has recommended me. Sweet!

Substitute editor D just called. The project had been an electronic edit originally, but the author (in Japan) is having trouble with showing the tracked changes, so now it's going to be a hard-copy edit. How far along am I on further chapters? Well, I'm almost done with chapter 3; I need to take another pass to try to straighten out the notes, whose numbering system originated on Mars. He says that's great; I can just finish that electronically and send it in, and they'll ship hard copy of the remaining chapters to me tomorrow.

Ah well. I was working out quite a few kinks in my still-being-developed electronic editing procedures, but this will actually help me get the thing done a little faster, I think. I'll de-kink on the next one.

The other day, I picked up a copy of the hardcover NYT best seller that I recently copyedited.

And I have two dogs curled up at my feet under the desk.

So that's why I do it ...

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