An American Editor

March 29, 2012

Worth Noting: Once Again You Can’t Judge a Singer by Looks

Filed under: Editorial Matters — americaneditor @ 4:00 am

For those of you who remember Susan Boyle’s appearance on Britain’s Got Talent, Simon Cowell assumed the worst and was surprised. Need a refresher? Here is her audition:

One would think that would have taught Cowell a lesson, but here he goes again — eating crow after listening to this duo:

Britain certainly has talent!

March 28, 2012

eBooks: Is it the Editor in Me?

Filed under: Books & eBooks,On Books — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Anyone who has looked at my On Today’s Bookshelf posts will see that I buy a lot of ebooks. And as I noted in the last On Today’s Bookshelf, my to-be-read pile of ebooks keeps growing, now numbering more than 500.

But that doesn’t mean I am not reading ebooks; rather, it means that even though I am reading ebooks as fast as I can, I am replenishing my stock faster than I can read. This would concern me if, in fact, I was reading every word of every ebook; but I’m not.

One of the “talents” I have developed over my 28+ years of professional editing is the ability to tell within a few sentences whether a manuscript is going to be particularly troublesome; whether the author has done a basically good job in writing and preparing the manuscript or is a terrible writer, prone to amateurish mistakes, and uncaring about how the manuscript is presented.

This “talent” doesn’t seem to be laid aside when I read an ebook for pleasure, which means that it doesn’t take many pages to decide whether to keep reading or hit the delete button, and much too often, I hit the delete button.

First, I need to dismiss, with a wave of the hand, the idea that the more a book costs, the better it will be. “It ain’t necessarily so!”

From ebook purchases I have made, it is clear that price is not an indicator of quality, especially not of editorial quality, as we have discussed on An American Editor any number of times.

Yet I have also discovered in discussions with other ebookers that quality has no universal meaning. eBooks that I have deleted after a dozen pages because of runon sentences, homonym miscues, and other annoying editorial matters, ebookers without the editorial eye have praised. It is not that they didn’t notice many of the same errors; they did. Rather, it is that they were more tolerant of the errors; they were able to look beyond the editorial problems to the story itself.

So this makes me wonder if I am not missing out some real gems — not necessarily literary masterpieces, just good storytelling — because of the editor in me. It also makes me wonder whether we will eventually devolve into two reading publics: one that cares greatly about the editorial quality of a ebook and so is unwilling to spend much money to buy an ebook and a second that cares little about the mistaking of hear for here and is focused on the story itself and thus willing to pay a higher price for a book as long as the story is interesting.

I also wonder whether American English is changing so rapidly that what editors today would declare error will tomorrow be declared acceptable or correct.

In any event, the problem for me is how to control my editing tendencies so that I can relax and enjoy the underlying story. How do I put aside my editorial hat for the reader’s hat? Should I do so?

The problem was less acute before ebooks. Before ebooks, traditional publishers took some pride in the quality of what they released, although the pride seemed to be diminishing in recent years. But once ebooks made the reading market open to all, the scramble publish pushed aside the need to ensure editorial quality. Part of this is the economics of ebooks; it is hard to justify spending $2000 on an editor for a book that will be sold for 99¢ or less.

Even recognizing the financial considerations, I struggle to read a book that makes me pause every few sentences to say: “The author meant whom not who” or “The author meant your, not you’re.” My neighbor says I’m too fussy. Am I really? Is it too much to ask that at least the basics of grammar and spelling be applied by an author?

What should an ebooker expect from an author, regardless of whether the author gives the book away for free or charges $9.99? Do not most readers have certain basic expectations? Or has the Age of Twitter hardened readers to accept anything goes?

I suspect that I will never be able to set aside my editorial hat when reading a book and so my delete button will continue to get a workout. Are you able to set aside your editorial hat?

March 27, 2012

Worth Noting: EditTools 4.1 is Released

EditTools 4.1 was released last week. It is available at wordsnSync. This is a free upgrade for all current EditTools licensees. I encourage you to download and install the upgrade.

EditTools 4.1 includes numerous improvements to existing macros and a couple of new macros. Some of the noteworthy improvements are the making of various datasets editable, the ability to choose to remove only certain highlight colors, the addition of a clipboard macro, and the ehancing of the Search, Count, and Replace macro. Most of the improvements are discussed at the wordsnSync website in the information about each macro.

Purchasers of the Editor’s Toolkit Ultimate package (Editor’s Toolkit Plus, EditTools, and PerfectIt!) are also eligible for the free upgrade.

How these three macro products can be used in your editing practice was discussed int these previous articles: The 3 Stages of Copyediting: I — The Processing Stage; The 3 Stages of Copyediting: II — The Copyediting Stage; and The 3 Stages of Copyediting: III — The Proofing Stage.

March 26, 2012

The Business of Editing: To Post or Not to Post Your Fee Schedule?

Recently, colleague Katharine O’Moore-Klopf gave a link to an article that appeared at The Freelancery blog, “Should you post your fees? Publish your pricing? Hit yourself with a stick?” Having read the article, I am not certain I agree with the author that there are only two reasons for posting a fee schedule: (1) “To make people quit calling” and (2) “When you sell mostly to first-time buyers, one-time clients.”

I am not an advocate of posting a fee schedule, but then the type of work I do doesn’t really warrant a fee schedule. Yet I can see situations in which posting a schedule can be valuable. Afterall, does it matter whether you tell a potential client through a posted schedule that you charge $100 an hour or in a live conversation? If the client is willing to pay that price and wants your services, either method should work; if they are unwilling to pay that price for your work, either method should turn them away except that the latter method required your spending time to lose a client.

There are several issues to consider. First, you need to be knowledgable about your clientele and about the clients you want to attract. Are these the type of people/clients who would expect to see a fee schedule?

Second, what is your reputation for the work you do? Is your reputation such that if you charged a premium the client would hire you anyway? Or is it such that price will overcome your reputation?

Third, you need to be aware of what the “standard” price points are for your services. For example, if you charge $100 an hour for copyediting but most of your competition charges $20, in the absence of a reputation that provokes the feeling of must-have-at-any-price, posting a schedule is a sure way to not get a client, although as noted above, the result would be the same face-to-face. The more your schedule is in line with what the market rate is, the less harm that can occur by posting your schedule. But posting such a schedule can tell clients that here is an editor with a stellar reputation whose fees are in line with what the client expects to pay (or is willing to pay).

I think the third point really is the key to the answer. If clients expect to pay $20 an hour and your schedule, whether posted or not, is $20 an hour, then posting the schedule may well draw in additional clients.

The more I think about it, the more I believe that the answer lies in first evaluating your fee schedule against the “norms” for what you do and then in light of the clients you wish to attract or retain. Another factor that needs to play a part in the decision-making process is how you calculate your fee.

We have been talking about a schedule in terms of dollars, but a schedule can be vaguer than that yet be equally informative. For example, in my case, if I were to post a schedule, I would say something like: “Freelance Editorial Services does not charge an hourly rate. We charge a per-page rate for copyediting with a page calculated as…” or “Freelance Editorial Services does not charge an hourly rate. We charge a project rate, which is calculated as follows: …”

However, posting a schedule by itself is not helpful to you or even to the client. There needs to be a justification for the schedule. For example, I might write something like this: “Over the 28 years of my editing career, my focus has been on medical books written by doctors for doctors. My specialty within that medical community is multithousand-page manuscripts and multiauthor manuscripts that require the use of multiple Freelance Editorial Services editors to complete in a timely and accurate fashion.” Perhaps I would write another sentence or two and then give my fee schedule.

The point is that combining a rationale with a fee schedule can be a fruitful way to generate additional business. Posting a schedule that stands alone, that isn’t surrounded by reasons justifying the schedule may do no harm but is unlikely to do much good either.

As with everything else we do, posting a fee schedule can be turned into a marketing tool. There are so many variables to be considered, that it is not possible to blanketly say never post a fee schedule or always post a fee schedule. The correct answer has to be: it depends on what you want to accomplish and whether posting a fee schedule can help you reach that goal.

A failing of myself and my colleagues is that we seek rigid answers to business questions and problems because we want to focus on what we do and like best: the editorial function. But to succeed, we really need to wear multiple hats and we really need to change hats depending on whether the question is an editorial question or a business question. Although both require analyzation, the type of analyzation process required is different for each.

What reasons do you have for either posting or not posting your fee schedule?

March 21, 2012

The Business of Editing: Reducing Fees

One of the hardest subjects to address in the editing world is that of fees: How much should I charge? The variables that go into the answer make a pat answer difficult.

Perhaps equally vexing is the included-but-unasked question: Should I ever reduce my fee? It is this question that I attempt to tackle here. (The final answer has to lie in your individual circumstances; there is no always-true answer.)

If I were to survey colleagues and ask the question, I have no doubt that very few, if any, would respond that yes, there are times when fees should be reduced. I expect most would say that fees should be raised and if that is not possible, at least held steady. Of course, in an ideal world this would be 100% sound advice, but few of us edit in an ideal world.

When considering the answer to the question, you should consider what kind of work you do and for whom do you work. I think the answer may be different, for example, if you work only for publishers, than if you work directly with authors. It also may depend on whether you work alone or as part of a group; whether volume is important; and myriad other variables.

Regardless, however, every editor should be asking and considering the question, especially if they have unwanted downtime.

I recently had to address this question in my own business. I admit that I didn’t struggle too long with the pros and cons.

I was offered the opportunity to have enough volume to keep myself and several editors very busy for many months. In exchange, the client wanted a lower per-page editing rate. Although it is very rare for me to have any downtime, it is not that it never happens. During the height of the recession, we did well, but I was still unable to keep all of my editors busy all of the time.

So, faced with the prospect of a large volume of work that conceivably could keep all of us busy year-round, I had to decide whether to lower my per-page rate. In the end, I did, because the economics were such that the exchange would be well worth accepting. So far, this has been true.

But I work in a narrow area (medicine) and for publishers and packagers only. I do not work directly with authors. Because of what my editors and I do, we are able to use techniques to increase efficiency and speed, and we are always searching for new ways to increase both without decreasing accuracy.

A willingness to consider reducing fees requires an understanding of your marketplace. When it comes to editing a book that is being translated from Chinese to English, an editor who is fluent in Chinese can probably charge more than an editor who knows no Chinese. Consequently, simply knowing what the Chinese-fluent editor is able to charge is not an indication of what you can or should charge if you are the non-Chinese-language editor.

On the other hand, if you are a Chinese-fluent editor with time on your hands and you know that you are competing with other similarly fluent editors, it may be in your interests to negotiate a volume contract at reduced prices. There is no medal for stubbornness when it comes to fees.

Colleagues will often argue that low-price editing lowers the price for all editors and, thus, we need to stick together at the higher price level. I know that they want me to take this argument seriously, but that is not possible.

First, the entry to editing is easy and the bar so low that virtually anyone can hang out a shingle that says “professional editor.” Every day, hundreds more “professional” editors appear, and these new editors have prices all over the rainbow. Granted that, once hired, their lack of skill may become apparent, but they still get hired first because a key factor in the hiring process is price.

Second, colleagues who ask you to hold the price may not themselves be doing so. When faced with the prospect of no work and thus no money to pay bills, they often work for less. The reality is that our business is not a cooperative business; we compete all the time with each other and, in doing so, we tend to look out for our own best interests.

Finally, we face the problem of establishing what should be a base price for all editors. In my 28+ years as an editor, although numbers have been tossed about, no one has been able to come up with a universal minimum price — or universal method for calculating the same — that is good for all editors and all situations.

Which brings me back to the question of whether lowering fees should be considered. The answer is so dependent on so many variables that there is no correct, universal answer. In my case, the resolution of the question was easy. Because of how I charge (per-page), how I work (i.e., the use of macros and other efficiencies), what I want (to know that I will have no downtime and that I will not have to constantly market), and because the amount in question was nominal on a per-page basis (although it would add up to a significant sum over the long-term), coming to the answer that I should agree to lower my rate was easy.

For you, the answer may be much more difficult or may be no, but it is a question that should be addressed and analyzed, not simply shunted aside with no as the foregone conclusion. This question is one that every business has to face regularly, and our business is no different.

March 19, 2012

On Today’s Bookshelf (XI)

Filed under: Books & eBooks,On Today's Bookshelf — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
Tags: , , ,

It has been a long time — 5 months — since the last On Today’s Bookshelf post, so I thought I’d share with you some of the hardcover and ebook purchases I have made since Bookshelf X. As usual, the list below is not comprehensive. Rather it is a partial listing of the purchases I have made, especially of ebooks.

My current to-be-read ebook pile has grown to more than 500 ebooks. My hardcover TBR pile now bulges at near 70 books. I am trying to figure out how to stop buying and to read faster, but books are my addiction. If I don’t buy the book that interests me when I encounter it, I am unlikely to ever buy the book, so I buy — and the TBR grows. I’m doubtful I’ll ever get to read all of the books I buy even when I retire, but that doesn’t dissuade me. It is just another of life’s challenges.

So here are the books and ebooks for today’s bookshelf –

Hardcovers –

  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (also bought ebook)
  • Saladin by Anne-Marie Eddé
  • Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War by Mark E. Neely
  • Nazis on the Run: How Hitler’s Henchmen Fled Justice by Gerald Steinacher
  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough
  • The Death Marches by Daniel Blatman
  • The Heavens are Empty by Avrom BenDavid-Val
  • The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe (2 vols) by Gershon David Hundert
  • Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
  • Roger Williams and the Creation of the Soul of America by John M. Barry
  • City of Dragons by Robin Hobb
  • Heinrich Himmler by Peter Longerich
  • The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
  • A Rising Thunder by David Weber (also bought ebook)

eBooks

  • Wrath: A Novel of Kentucky by Howard McEwen
  • The God’s Wife by Lynn Voedisch
  • The Deputy by Victor Gischler
  • The Color of Freedom by Michelle Isenhoff
  • Sherlock Holmes Omnibus by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Engines of Dawn by Paul Cook
  • Second Star by Dana Stabenow
  • Penumbra by Carolyn Haines
  • Nefertiti by Nick Drake
  • Mussolini’s Rome by Borden Painter
  • The Liberation of Alice Love by Abby McDonald
  • A Desert Called Peace by Tom Kratman
  • Gunwitch: A Tale of the King’s Coven by David Michael
  • Do No Evil: An Artemis Agency Novel by Ashley Goltermann
  • The Girl Born of Smoke by Jessica Billings
  • Nightbird’s Reign by Holly Taylor
  • Gap Creek by Robert Morgan
  • Birchwood by Roger Taylor
  • A Beautiful Friendship by David Weber
  • The Girl Who Tweaked Two Lion’s Tails by Pierre Van Rooyen
  • Mama Does Time by Deborah Sharp
  • Deadly Sanctuary by Sylvia Nobel
  • Black Out by John Lawton
  • Oppression by Jessica Therrien
  • Hose Monkey by Tony Spinosa
  • Healer by Linda Windsor
  • Eden by Keary Taylor
  • The Black Knight by S.C. Allen
  • New Religion: Rys Rising Book III by Tracy Falbe
  • The Pawn by Steven James
  • Den of Thieves by David Chandler
  • The Unwelcome Warlock by Lawrence Watt-Evans
  • Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn
  • I Dreamt I was in Heaven: The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
  • The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Murder Over Easy by Marshall Cook

Most of the books and ebooks in the above lists I have yet to read. The lists are not recommendations, just a compilation of books and ebooks I have bought in the past few months.

Most of the hardcovers are nonfiction and nearly all of the ebooks are fiction. Hardcovers go into my permanent library collection. Some day, my children will have to figure out what to do with them. With the advent of ebooks, I have come to the conclusion that collecting a print library of books is really a way of getting even with one’s children for all the heartache they caused. Now they will have the headache of dealing with hundreds, if not thousands, of pbooks. A little bit of afterlife revenge :).

In reality, I like hardcovers because I grew up with them as the way to conduct research. I still prefer a print dictionary over an online dictionary; I like to see what comes before and after an entry. Besides, there is something aesthetically pleasing about some hardcover layouts, something that makes the eye want to look at the page. Someday that will also be true of ebooks, but not yet.

Are you stockpiling books and ebooks? Are there books and ebooks you would recommend?

March 14, 2012

Amazon’s Assault on Intellectual Freedom

Several weeks ago, I wrote Breaking News: Amazon vs. IPG, which was followed by Worth Noting: Amazon is an Author’s Friend — Or Maybe Not. The first article was picked up by other blogs and at one of those blogs, Bryce Milligan, publisher and editor of Wings Press, as well as an award-winning poet and author of books for children and young adults, posted a comment that caught my eye. I asked Bryce to write a guest article expanding on his comment. That article follows.

_______________

Amazon’s Assault on Intellectual Freedom

by Bryce Milligan

There is an undeclared war going on in the United States that threatens the linchpins of American intellectual freedom. In a statement worthy of Cassandra, Noah Davis wrote in a Business Insider post last October, “Amazon is coming for the book publishing industry. And not just the e-book world, either.” When titans battle, it is tempting to think that there will be no local impact. In this case, that’s dead wrong. Amazon’s recent actions have already cut the sales of the small press I run by 40 percent. Jeff Bezos could not care less.

One recent battle in Amazon’s larger war has pitted it against a diverse group of writers, small publishers, university presses, and independent distributors. It is a classic David-and-Goliath encounter. As in that story, however, this is more than just pitting the powerful against the powerless. In this case, the underdogs have the ideas, and ideas are always where the ultimate power lies.

Wings Press (San Antonio, Texas) is one of the several hundred independent publishers and university presses distributed by the Independent Publishers Group (IPG), the second largest book distributor in the country, but still only a medium-sized dolphin in a sea of killer whales. In late February, IPG’s contract with Amazon.com was due to be renegotiated. Terms that had been generally accepted across the industry were suddenly not good enough for Amazon, which demanded discounts and practices that IPG—and all of its client publishers—could only have accepted at a loss. Yes, that does mean what it sounds like: To do business with Amazon would mean reducing the profit margin to the point of often losing money on every book or ebook sold.

IPG refused to accept the draconian terms and sought to negotiate further. In what can only be seen as a move to punish IPG for its desire to remain relevant and healthy, Amazon refused to negotiate and pulled the plug on all the Kindle ebooks distributed by IPG, marking them as “unavailable.”

Not a big deal? Imagine that Walmart controls everything you eat, and Walmart decides to stop selling fish because it thinks that fishermen are making too much profit. Amazon is the Walmart of online bookselling. The dispute between Amazon and IPG will affect every literate person in America. It is a matter that goes to the heart of what librarians have termed “intellectual freedom.” In other words, the resolution of this dispute, one way or the other, will affect every individual American’s access to certain books. It will affect your ability to choose what you read.

Restrictions on access to literature generally have more politically motivated origins. The banning of certain Native American and Mexican American authors and books in Arizona, for example, is purely political. Attempts in the past to ban literature based on its “moral content” were largely political in nature. This dispute is purely capitalistic, and is much more difficult to fight.

A single practical example. Wings Press had offered up one of its Kindle titles, Vienna Triangle by California novelist Brenda Webster, for the Amazon daily deal— a limited time offer of 99 cents per download. The book zoomed to the top ten of one of Amazon’s several bestseller lists. While it was still listed as a bestseller, Amazon suddenly marked the title as “unavailable.” The trail of loss increases in impact as it descends the food chain: Amazon doesn’t notice the loss at all. IPG sees it as one of its 5,000 Kindle titles that vanished. Wings Press sees it as one of its 100 Kindle titles that vanished. The author sees it as the loss of her book, period.

Lest one think that eliminating a single ebook novel is a loss of little consequence, Wings Press also publishes the works of John Howard Griffin, including Black Like Me, one of the most important works of the civil rights movement and widely considered an American classic. Amazon’s refusal to sell the ebook of Black Like Me should be of serious concern to every American.

Ebook sales have been a highly addictive drug to many smaller publishers. For one thing, there are no “returns.” Traditionally, profit margins for publishers are so low because books that remain on shelves too long can be returned for credit—too often in unsalable condition. No one returns an ebook. Further, ebook sales allowed smaller presses to get a taste of the kind of money that online impulse buying can produce. Already ebook sales were underwriting the publication of paper-and-ink books at Wings Press.

It has been increasingly obvious to independent publishers for the last two years that Amazon intends to put all independents out of business—publishers, distributors, and bookstores. Under the guise of providing greater access, Amazon seemingly wants to kill off the distributors, then kill off the independent publishers and bookstores, and become the only link between the reader and the author. The attack on distributors like IPG and on some larger independent presses is only part of the plan. Amazon has also been going after the ultimate source of literature, the authors.

Having created numerous (seven or more) imprints of its own, Amazon has begun courting authors directly by offering exorbitant royalties if the authors will publish directly with Amazon. Among the financial upper echelon of authors, Amazon is paying huge advances. Among rank-and-file authors, not so. Here they are offering what amounts to glorified self-publication. The effect is to lure authors away from the editors who would have helped them perfect their work, away from the publishers and designers and publicists and booksellers who have dedicated their lives to building the careers of authors, while themselves making a living from the books they love. Even the lowly book reviewer has been replaced by semi-anonymous reader-reviewers. All these are the people who sustain literary culture.

For Amazon to rip ebook sales away from independent publishers now seems a classic bait-and-switch tactic guaranteed to kill small presses by the hundreds. Ah, but predatory business practices are so very American these days. There was a time not so long ago when “competition” was a healthy thing, not a synonym for corporate “murder.” Amazon could have been a bright and shining star, lighting the way to increased literacy and improved access to alternative literatures. Alas, it looks more likely to be a large and deadly asteroid. We, the literary dinosaurs, are watching closely to see if this is a near miss or the beginning of extinction. Fortunately, this generation of dinosaurs is a little better equipped than the last one to take measures to avoid such a fate.

One can choose to buy ebooks from Barnes & Noble (bn.com) or from almost any independent bookstore rather than Amazon. One can buy directly from IPG. A free app will allow one to read those books on a Kindle. The resistance has already begun, and it starts with choice. I invite you to sign the petition at Change.org.

March 13, 2012

Worth Noting: How Fast Do You Read?

Filed under: Worth Noting — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
Tags:

Staples, the office supply store, has an online test, which is found here. I do not know how accurate it is, but it is interesting, nonetheless. After reading the material, you are asked three questions about it. The purpose of the questions is to verify that you actually did read the material; it has no bearing on the results.

March 12, 2012

Why I Can’t Vote Republican

I consider myself an independent when it comes to politics. Depending on the primary contest, because New York doesn’t have open primaries, I may affiliate with a party so I can participate in a primary, but when it actually comes to voting on election day, I rarely vote for candidates from a single party.

But as the Republicans move further away from the center, which is where I am, it becomes increasingly difficult to consider voting for a Republican. It seems that, as each day passes, the Republicans are deliberately closing the door more tightly to any thinking independent or centrist-oriented voter.

What seals my decision so early in the election year is not only the poor quality of the Republican candidates (although I admit that I do not think very highly of Barack Obama, either), but their clear lack of honesty and moral conscience as evidenced by their responses to Rush Limbaugh’s defamation of Sandra Fluke. (See “Obama Backs Student in Furor With Limbaugh on Birth Control” in the New York Times for more details about the controversy.) Even the head of her Catholic university, who clearly disagrees with Ms. Fluke’s views on contraception, came to her defense.

Here is what the New York Times reports Limbaugh had to say:

“What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.” Those remarks and others whipped up a frenzy of denunciations, but on Thursday, Mr. Limbaugh held his ground, declaring: “If we’re going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

Conservatives should be outraged by this attack, but they aren’t. And Limbaugh, an admitted drug abuser who has been convicted of drug-related offenses, should not be a conservative icon because of his lack of a moral conscience — but he is.

Mitt Romney and  Rick Santorum claim to be family men, and Newt Gingrich claims to have found morality. All claim to be concerned about the good of Americans, yet they are willing to stand by and let a woman be defamed simply because her views on what is a controversial topic in America do not comport with their views. This tells me that, should one of these men be elected president, given the opportunity, they will try to suppress dissent any way they can. It tells me that these Republicans do not really care about an individual’s constitutional rights, do not care about family values, do not care about anything but what will get them nominated and elected. They lack a moral conscience. I do not want as president, or even as local councilperson, someone who talks the talk of being a moral person but walks the walk of a moral-less person.

I haven’t yet forgotten the Republican lies against their own John McCain (remember the lie about his having a black mistress and a black child that magically appeared just before voters in South Carolina went to the primary polls?), and the willingness of conservative Republicans to outright, knowingly lie to voters just to win their vote.

I also haven’t forgotten George W. Bush’s lack of moral courage to stand up to the Swift Boaters in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and defend John Kerry from the false attacks. Kerry at least went to Vietnam; his attackers and George W. Bush partied at home instead. But Bush should have stood up for Kerry in this matter. Kerry didn’t give himself his medals; they were awarded by the United States Navy, and the Swift Boaters not only attacked Kerry but also attacked the veracity of the U.S. Navy — people George W. Bush, as commander-in-chief, should have defended.

As each election cycle comes, Republicans increasingly display a wholesale disregard for the things that matter most — honesty and moral conscience. George W. Bush still has no regrets about lying to the American public about the supposed weapons of mass destruction; after all, neither he nor Dick Cheney had to face enemy fire — either then or in their youth, when they avoided military service.

I find that, because of their lack of moral conscience, Republicans are quick to commit Americans to war. Bush did it in Iraq and Afghanistan; Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich are promising to do the same in Iran should they be elected. The morals-less three (Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich) are also quick to impose their male values on women. They would prefer that a woman die rather than be allowed to use contraception or have an abortion.

Have we forgotten how antigay Dick Cheney was until his daughter came out? Because it affected him directly, his tune changed. Have we forgotten how indignant Gingrich was about the so-called Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair while he was cheating on his own wife?

It is not that Democrats are so much better. Rather, it is that they are better, and my only real choice is Democrat or Republican. Given those limitations and the fact that when it comes to moral conscience Republicans seem to lack one, I will be voting Democrat in the presidential election. My hope is that the Republicans face their Rubicon again, as they did in 1964 when they nominated Barry Goldwater. That might cause Republicans to rethink their drift to the extreme right, might cause them to gain a moral conscience and no longer tolerate the tactics and lies of the Limbaughs and the Swift Boaters, and might cause centrist Republicans like Olympia Snowe (who has announced she will not run for reelection because of the rightward tilt of the Republican party and its unwillingness to be anything but obstructionist) to regain favor and their willingness to serve.

Should that occur, I would happily consider voting for a Republican candidate. Until then, this independent has moved toward the Democrat side of the aisle.

March 9, 2012

The Business of Editing: How NOT to Get Work

Filed under: Business of Editing — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
Tags: ,

About a month ago, I wrote The Business of Editing: Pricing Yourself Out of the Market When Applying for Work. I thought that pricing mistakes were the leading cause of why one doesn’t get work. Now I’m not so sure.

I recently received a job application in which the applicant wrote:

Minimum Acceptable Freelance Pay Price (Copyeditor): $ 25, per page

Minimum Acceptable Freelance Pay Price (Proofreader): $ 15, per page

Comments: I have no available work to show. Just give me any bullshit assignment, and let my work speak for itself. you will not be sorry. I am college student, looking to get into freelance writing/reporting. My only goal is to have articles published with my name on them and get payed (no matter how miniscule) for my words.

Aside from the obvious that the applicant never bothered to check out my website to see what we do, the comments provided would not induce me to consider this applicant at all. Nothing is right about the attempt other than it catches my attention in a negative manner. How many employers want to be told that their work is “bullshit”? And for those of us whose livelihood is word based, does “payed” inspire confidence?

Although noting one’s goal is laudatory, I would think that goal should be aligned with the prospective employer’s goals.

Accepting at face value that the applicant really is a college student, I wonder what the applicant is being taught and what the applicant has been taught about how the job world works. Needless to say, this applicant won’t be working for me.

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