September 19, 2006


Posted in Editing, humor, Meta at 9:59 am by India

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. You know how I was procrastinating for a while? Yeah, well, sometimes fake deadlines turn into real ones. I’ll be copyediting and typesetting interviews all this week.

In the meantime, you can develop a sympathetic editorial cramp by contributing to the e-book booty-creation process over at Distributed Proofreading, where for One! Day! Only! they are celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day in style:

Ahoy There: About This Site

Distributed Proofreaders be founded in 2000 by Cap’n Charles ‘Squirrel King’ Franks to support th’ digitisation o’ Public Domain book-booty. Originally chartered to assist Project Gut’nberg (PG), Distributed Proofateers (DP) be now th’ main source of PG e-books. In 2002, Distributed Privateers received their letter of marque from Project Gut’nberg and as such be supported by Project Gut’nberg. All our proofreaders, managers, developers, deckhands and so on be volunteers. . . .

Here be th’ Site Concept

This ‘ere site provides a web-based method o’ easin’ th’ proofreadin’ work associated wi’ th’ digitization o’ Public Domain books into Project Gut’nberg e-books. By divvying up th’ work into individual pages many fine, feisty swashbucklers can be attacking th’ same book at th’ same time. This significantly speeds up th’ proofreading/e-book booty-creation process.

My project goes to press on Friday. See you after that date.


  1. Sarah said,

    Man, India, I finally remember to look at your blog when I’m in front of a computer and you are on hiatus? Good thing you have archives. I guess.

  2. India Amos said,

    Well, if you want to take over copyediting and typesetting a book of interviews with rambly artists, I’d be happy to hand it over and resume my normal schedule of goofing off and blogging. You know how to reach me.

  3. India Amos said,

    The rambly artists aren’t all bad, though. My favorite story so far:

    The first time I ever went to Las Vegas with Harry [Belafonte], he said, “We are going to have dinner. Sidney Poitier’s in town, and we are going to promote Buck and the Preacher on NBC. Sammy Davis is also in town, and we are all going to have dinner tonight. Wear something nice.” I went to Bloomingdale’s to try to get a suit. I tried on a beautiful white linen suit and decided to get it. It cost a fortune, but I loved the fit. I got to dinner and Harry was in a T-shirt, and everybody was dressed casually. I felt like a fool. We sat down and Harry said, “Sammy, this is my new writer and producer, Peter Anthony Andrews.” I said, “It’s so nice to meet you, Mr. Davis.” He said, “Oh, please call me Sammy. Brother, you are cleaner than a Safeway chitlin. That suit is gorgeous.”

  4. Sheila Ryan said,

    Could Be You Think This Pirate Bit’s Done Got Out Of Hand. . . I said to me mates at the group blog clusterflock:

    Still, even you might smile at today’s goin’s-on aboard Distributed Proofreading, where they be proofin’ s’fierce as t’shiver th’titties on a fine figgerhead. Mind ye board afore they be a’ringin’ eight bells.

    (Thankee, India Amos of India, Ink.! Yer a rare plucked’un!)

    ‘Pon my soul . . . ye set yerself a’typin’ ‘n’ a’proofin’ like a pirate ‘n’ afore ye know, ye goes all queer in yer ‘ead ‘n’ commences t’seein’ double.

  5. Sarah said,

    Copyediting *and* typesetting? Get with Industrial Revolution already.

  6. India Amos said,

    Sorry, I’m stuck in the Desktop Publishing Revolution.

    I used to just proofread the thing, which—insofar as it was typeset at all—was typeset in XyWrite, in what I seem to recall was very large Helvetica (I know lots of people love Helvetica, but trust me, it was not a good look). After a few painful years of trying to ignore the design, I asked if I might also typeset it. I was only just getting the hang of PageMaker then, but I was quite sure that anything I did would be better than what had been done. I think I used Optima.

    The following year (it’s an annual journal), I switched to a serif face, and for the last few issues it’s held steady with Warnock and Myriad. Gorgeous, it’s not. But it is readable, and I can churn it out quickly, which is what I always seem to be having to do.

    And since, necessarily, I have the manuscript files for typesetting, I started also trying to apply something approaching Chicago style to the text. Hence the copyediting + typesetting madness. Most years I run the MS through Editor’s Toolkit Plus, style it in Word, dump it into InDesign, and then copyedit and copyfit simultaneously. There is now no proofreading, as far as I know. Again, I’m not saying I recommend this workflow; it’s just the way this particular job always shakes out. It’s for family friends, and though I think it’s a unique and important project, I just can’t get excited about doing it anymore. I think maybe next year I’ll find them someone else to pour fresh love-hours into it. It does pay pretty well, at least.

  7. Sarah said,

    Aw, aren’t you sweet. I know someone you could nominate next year. You know, if it doesn’t have to look pretty . . .

  8. India Amos said,

    Second-favorite story, this one from Sonia Sanchez:

    my father taught me that you could not touch the newspapers until he read them and did the crossword puzzle. He would leave three empty spaces in the puzzle, hand it to me, and I would finish it. As I got older, he would leave more spaces, and I would finish the puzzle. . . . when my dad was very ill and got out of the hospital at ninety from having an aneurysm, I put the crossword puzzle out for him and he said to me, “I don’t do those anymore.” So I started doing them for him, and would leave two spaces there for him. For a month he ignored this, and then one day I turned around and he had finished it.

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