October 14, 2008

Flattery Will Get You Nowhere

Posted in advice, books, Design, Rants, Typesetting, typography, Work at 9:47 am by India

pond scum

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I should feel jazzed that a person I used to work with, who at that time did not know InDesign from Address Book, is still using my files as templates for new books today in his busy freelance design business. Being a spiteful, negative, unforgiving person, however, I instead find it just kind of disgusting. Because even though this person is apparently now making a nontrivial chunk of his income by designing and typesetting books (and perhaps double-billing for it, too), he clearly still doesn’t know typography from a hole in the ground.
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October 1, 2008

Build a copyeditor from scratch!

Posted in advice, books, Editing, Lazyweb, Work at 1:13 am by India

stack of manuscript pages

My stats page tells me that that nice Brian Winters has namechecked me again over at Metafilter. This time, it’s to Baethan, who wants to work in publishing. Her question was,

What sort of courses, experiences, certifications, degrees, etc. should I pursue to tailor me for a career in editorial publishing?

When I return to college in the spring, I’ll be a sophomore. I want to use the next three years to make me into a dream applicant for a job in editorial publishing- proofreading or copy editing. Random House’s example of an entry-level job, “Editorial Assistant“, sounds like what I plan to apply for.

I’d like to work in fiction, preferably fantasy, but I’m not too picky. I also have an interest in art history and some knowledge of music. I really like learning and I know from a high school chemistry class that working my way through technical papers is a lot of fun, so I probably wouldn’t mind a nonfiction editorial job. I don’t think I’d like to work for a magazine. I want to stay the heck away from newspaper jobs. Oh, freelancing is also something I’d rather not do for a living (though I suppose it would be good while I’m in college). I love cubicles.

What sort of resume would make me attractive to a publishing company? I’ll be attending one of Connecticut’s state schools (not UConn, probably) so any ideas on majors and classes would be welcome. (SCSU has Journalism and English as majors, so I’m thinking a combination of the two would suit.) I’ve also been looking for relevant distance learning courses, but haven’t had any luck. Money is not abundant, so I don’t want to end up going to grad school.

Finally, what can I learn at home that will be valuable in an editing job? I know my vocabulary could use improving. My knowledge of grammar is lacking- I never learned grammar, I just got a feel for what’s correct and incorrect through reading. Any good websites or books for this?

In short, I’m looking for all your knowledge regarding copy editing. I believe I’ve read all the pertinent MeFi questions, but please point me to any you feel I should pay particular attention to. (Er, to which I should pay particular attention?) Thanks!

There’s some good advice at MeFi already, including the most obvious—study the Chicago Manual and Strunk & White, get an internship, volunteer—but I’m wondering if y’all have additional suggestions.
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August 8, 2008

Job application tips

Posted in advice, business, Rants, Work at 9:33 pm by India

help wanted

I’m in the process of hiring an assistant, someone who can toil away at the work thing while I’m at school making crafts, and I’ve finally dug down to the bottom of the pile of résumés that began pouring in thirty minutes after I posted the job. (And if you haven’t heard from me yet, it doesn’t mean you won’t—I’m still sorting and procrastinating, as will soon become more obvious.) And do you want to know what’s the most striking thing about most of these hopefuls? They are completely wasting their time. And mine, of course, but mostly their own. Because they’re not only not going to get a job with me, they’re not going to get a job with anyone unless that person is as slovenly and illiterate as these applicants.

Howlers spotted among the hundred-odd submissions include

  • Misspelling or camel-capitalizing my company’s name
    • Notebook
    • Next book
    • Nextbbook
    • NextBook
  • Misspelling the name of a past or present employer
    • FexEx
    • Merril Lynch
    • Pareksy Ctr. [This is at my own college, so I know it’s Paresky]
    • BabyAlpalca.org
    • Rollingstone Magazine
  • Misspelling a degree or job title
    • bachelors | masters
    • B.F.A | G.P.A | F.I.T | C.U.N.Y
    • assitant [I feel that this should be a word, but if it were, it would denote someone who is an undesirable employee]
    • photo- retoucher
    • Communication’s Coordinator
  • Misspelling or improperly camel-capping the name of a piece of software the applicant supposedly knows inside out
    • PhotoShop
    • Quark Express
    • the In Design program
    • Word Press
    • In-Design CS3
    • Abode Photoshop / Abode Illustrator / Abode InDesign [this is presumably marketed as a hamlet]
    • Indesign
    • word, excel [but the same person managed to type PowerPoint]
  • Misspelling or improperly camel-capping the name of the site where the applicant found the listing
    • Media Bistro
    • media bistro
    • MediaBistro.com

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August 1, 2008

Yes, there is such a thing as a stupid question

Posted in advice, Editing, humor, Reading at 6:00 pm by India

disgusted cat

Even though their CD-ROM and its tech support suck, I still love the Chicago Manual of Style Q&A:

Q. I’m editing a textbook that references a play. Should it be “Act 3,” “act three,” or “act 3”? A solution to this mystery would be greatly appreciated. I’ve looked at CMOS a hundred times for help with this issue.

A. Wow—a hundred times? If you can suggest how we can make section 8.194 more clear, we’ll try to do better in the next edition: “Words denoting parts of long poems or acts and scenes of plays are usually lowercased, neither italicized nor enclosed in quotation marks . . . act 3, scene 2.”

 

Q. At the annual meeting of our local PBK chapter, dispute on the pronunciation of “archival” arose: whether the stress falls on the first or the second syllable. Give us your wisdom. I will pass it on in the column I write weekly in a local paper about any subject that pops into my head.

A. As a style guide for writers, CMOS must resist the temptation to weigh in on an issue of pronunciation. We are editors, absorbed in our manuscripts. We can go for days without even speaking. I suggest you consult the linguists who write dictionaries for this purpose. (I’m sorry this won’t give you anything to put in your column, but thanks for your help with mine.)

 

Q. Is it “cell phone” or “cel phone”? I am working on a crash deadline, and would appreciate a quick response. Thank you so much!

A. Any writer who has deadlines should also have a dictionary. I always swear I’m not going to look up words for people, but it’s like being a mom and picking up socks—something just makes me do it. It’s “cell phone.”

Please buy a dictionary—and pick up your socks.

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February 5, 2008

Books on the why/how of book interior design?

Posted in advice, books, Design, Lazyweb, Typesetting, typography at 8:27 pm by India

Woman consulting a book

Commenter “elle” is trying to find a book that’s “kind of like a manual on how to design interiors.”

Like why you use a space break, why you indent certain amounts, why chapters start new right and things that break down the skeleton of a book. It’s something that is never really taught and you kind of do these things without a reason why, its simply because “you just do.” Do you know why a part opener always starts new right backed blank? I don’t. I just know it does.

Why do we have double breaks? Why does the text start flush left afterwards?

Anyone? Anyone? The usual books I recommend are The Elements of Typographic Style and The Complete Manual of Typography, but neither of these goes into the reasons behind design conventions, as far as I can recall.

Suggestions?

Photo: Girl inspector confers with a worker as she makes a a careful check of center wings for C-47 transport planes, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. Photographed by Alfred T. Palmer. From the Library of Congress’s Flickr project. No known copyright restrictions.

January 30, 2008

Read the Fine Print

Posted in advice, art direction, photography, Rants, Work at 5:20 pm by India

broken image iconRTFM

Creative Commons licenses are a wonderful thing. Without them, I’d probably be unable to do my job, so I am extremely grateful to all who apply a CC license to their photos.

All, that is, except people who mark their work with a CC license and then get huffy when someone actually uses it.
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December 8, 2007

Yap, yap, yap

Posted in advice, community, production, Reading, Typesetting at 5:57 am by India

Operator by Jeremy Brooks, at Flickr

John Oliver Coffey dropped me an e-mail the other morning about a new discussion forum for typesetters, aptly called . . . Typesetter Forum. It’s

a new (and free) forum for questions, answers and opinions related to the publishing industry with particular emphasis on typesetting.

Its not exactly a free-for-all (will be lightly moderated) and is oriented towards collaboration . . . and solving common typesetting challenges whether in applications or techniques. We will also post jobs, contracts, news and resources for everyone interested in the industry.

So, of course, because I was supposed to be getting ready for work, I decided to check the site out instead. Read the rest of this entry »

October 30, 2007

How do you learn Photoshop?

Posted in advice, Lazyweb, Tools at 1:12 pm by India

Deprecated!

India, Ink., has moved. The live version of this post is now located at http://ink.indiamos.com/2007/10/30/how-do-you-learn-photoshop/. Sorry for the inconvenience!

blackboard art

I’ve heard it said that most Photoshop users actually use only about 2 percent of the program’s features, and I can support this theory with my own experience: I know how to do what I know how to do.

I’ve learned most of what I know how to do from watching other people, either on the job or at InDesign User Group meetings and similar showcase-type events. Oh, and once, I read maybe the first half of Real World Scanning and Halftones. When I need to know how to do something else, I look it up in Help, Google what I’m trying to do, or look online for a tutorial. And then, unless that new trick is something I start doing every day, I usually forget it again pretty quickly. I don’t usually learn how to do a task by seeing it done once, but just knowing that something can be done makes it much easier to figure it out later. I would never have tangled with the vanishing point tool, for instance, if I hadn’t seen it demoed at the NYC InDUG.

This approach has worked just fine for me, in an assortment of jobs, since 1996, when I first got my paws on a copy of the program. And apparently my 2 percent is good enough. Read the rest of this entry »

June 18, 2007

How do you find out about design-related stuff?

Posted in advice, community, Design, Lazyweb, Work at 2:39 pm by India

Advice

Book designer B., soon moving to New York, wrote today to inquire,

  1. How do you find design jobs?
  2. How do you find out about groups to join for discussing design, books, etc., and for going with to conferences/seminars/talks?
  3. What are your favorite sites for knowing when design-related things are happening?

I get asked this first question every few months, and perhaps you do, too. My answer is always something along the lines of—

I also sometimes recommend that people contact the Lynne Palmer agency, which is a headhunter specifically for book publishing. I’ve never gotten a job through them, except through the power of Magical Thinking—whenever I contact them, I get offered a job by someone else—but I do know that they get cool listings that you will not find online.

For the second and third questions, I have no idea. I skim so many design blogs’ RSS feeds that if something worthwhile is going on, I assume I’ll get wind of it. But maybe I’ve been missing out on all the fun. Are you all going to events and not inviting me?

Please discuss. Tips on entering design communities in other locales also very welcome.

Photo: Advice by NineFingers / dustinotariumatron; some rights reserved.

March 21, 2007

Extracurricular Activities

Posted in advice, community, Work at 12:24 pm by India

Dress Code

Yesterday when I asked, “What does an ‘art director’ do?” Erin replied, “I dunno, exactly, but I do know they have a club!” To which I replied, in turn, “Those directors, and their clubs!”

Then, after work, I went out to have some beers with my club.

Which brings on this public service announcement: People, if you don’t live near a professional club, or if you don’t feel like the professional clubs in your area are the sort you’d like to join, start your own damn club. It doesn’t have to be clearly defined. It doesn’t have to be defined at all. It doesn’t have to even meet—maybe your blog friends constitute a club, as I like to think that mine do. But do try to have some kind of professional group you can call your own, however informal. It tastes good, and it’s good for you! Read the rest of this entry »

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