Sunday, March 30, 2008

Not that Dumm

Do they think I live in India? Last week I was contacted by Wiley Publishers to tech edit the latest version of Flash for Dummies. I've tech edited the last two editions.

"... I wondered if you would be interested in tech reviewing this book? The payment for this job is $750. I estimate that I will need a tech reviewer available starting when the
beta is available and continuing for four months (or so) after that."

Each chapter takes four hours to a full day to properly edit and test all the examples. Typically there are 20 chapters. Do the math.

Wiley is the biggest publisher in the world according to a financial report Jon read.

This was my reply:

"...Thanks for the inquiry. I love tech editing, and have edited the last two or three versions of "Flash for Dummies". I'm really quick on the turnaround.

However, the money is so low, it works out to less than minimum wage. I'd be willing to do it for $1200. So let me know if that's agreeable- otherwise I'll have to turn it down.

In the past, when Macromedia produced Flash, the software would remain permanently on your computer so that was a perk, but with Adobe there are built in time fixes that cause the software to expire, and then you have to buy a copy..."

Anyway, they told me they couldn't pay any more and would look for another tech editor. geez!

About six years ago I did a lot of tech editing for a company called friends of ed, which was a very hot publisher of tech books at the time. The writers were actually good. But they overextended themselves with titles and went belly up owing many writers and tech editors LOTS of money. I lost about $1200, others much more. The company has resurfaced, publishing again, claims it bears no relation to the old company and its debts.


Linda said...

This is so disheartening. Absurd!

Jesse said...

/me sells all his Adobe stock :P
They needs a competitor! They just really needs one.

Does anybody remember SuperPaint? I remember SuperPaint. Silicon Beach Software. Greatest b/w painting program for the mac in 1989-1991.

Anybody remember Aldus PageMaker? I remember Aldus PageMaker. I used version 4 in 1992 to edit our high school newspaper. Great application.

I began using Adobe Photoshop v2.5 in 1992, it was quite simply the awexomest thing I had ever touched. (this is back when you had to do all of your compositing in channels, too! :D)

Then in 1994 Aldus buys Silicon Beach Software. Now SuperPaint is Aldus Superpaint. wth? Oh well. They are coming out with a color version soon (SuperPaint 4 or whatever) I wonder how it will compare to PhotoShop.

Then Adobe buys Aldus. wth^2? SuperPaint 4 is released: it's ability to mix vector with raster is interesting, so I still do some projects with it. I've (at this point) never touched Illustrator.

Fast forward. SuperPaint is killed. Rise and fall of the challenge from JASC. Rise of Macromedia. They make Director, which isn't used in any of my circles. They make Express, which competes with Illustrator. In 1996 they make a web-themed, downsized version of Director called "FutureSplash". Eventually just called "Flash". My friend Phil Levy urged me to try out version 2.0, but it was so atrociously buggy that I didn't want anything to do with it.

Later on down the road Flash v4 comes out. I work at, who obtains a copy in 2000. I do cool things like, you know, invent AJAX and stuff 4 years before my fellow namesake names it. upgrades me to Flash v5, and somewhere a bank account drops a digit.

2004, releases the Bend Bugle newspaper. I lay it out using Adobe Indesign 2.01 .. Part of the Adobe Creative Suite, which included Photoshop 7 and Illustrator 10.. ~$1500. Adobe killed PageMaker when they made Indesign, but Indesign is still pretty awexome.

2005, Adobe buys Macromedia.

Forum members on Albino Blacksheep heckle my animation efforts because my hand is tied behind my back by Flash 5. Me and a friend mutually wipe out our life savings going halvsies on Flash MX.

Late 2006, I make a Flash-based game for internal use by T-mobile call centers. I make the first version using my copy of MX, but for the second they require features MX cannot deliver. T-mobile spends $800 installing Flash 8 on my computer at work. The game is a huge success, but .. but .. the computer I used cost less than half what this software cost.

Now it's 2008. My work has Indesign CS2, which has no new features since 2.01 save the adobe-wide docking toolbars. Photoshop CS2 has made improvements over Photoshop v7 that could have been added as a plugin. New flash animations since v8 do boast impressive features now: rack focus blurring, actionscript runs 10x faster, virtual paint, but even Bill Gates can only afford to upgrade to every other release.

Adobe is now a monopoly. They gross 100x more than 10 years ago and innovate 100x less.

I hereby sell my stock of them. They need a competitor. Like Linux v. Microsoft, it should be open source. This may be an easier target than an entire OS: I want to see these sods go down.

stray g said...

As an editor, I completely empathize. I'm glad you asked for more money and shocked they don't appreciate and reward good editing. My own freelance work dropped off the charts when I raised my rates a couple years ago.

Fearless Freep said...


Could you do a feature length x- rated sequel to Fritz the Cat. 90 minutes+, complete with original music.
I'll pay you $1500 and I keep all rights. What ya say?

Namowal said...

Leave it to the 21st century to expect, skilled, experienced people to do their craft for peanuts. I'm glad you told them to stick it.

p.s. to fearless freep:
you're funny! :)

Fearless Freep said...

Thank you namowal.
Just got into town about a week ago
Hope your hair isn't burning.

Sally said...

I enjoyed all your comments. I don't see any other company stepping up to challenge Adobe. I like Corel's Painter but it has limits. Microsoft was coming out with something named ? Sparkle? but then whose side to be on. There's Swish, for Flash, I haven't really checked into that in recent years.

The thing about the Dummies book that makes me so irritated, (well one of many) is that they expect you to be literate and competent and always ready to do their edit-- for that insulting small amount of cash.

The disparity in what we're paid in 2008 is disheartening.

Jesse said...

Yes Ma'am, like you said in the other post I think we're just being flooded out by inexperienced folk who unwittingly sell whatever talents they may have short.

I'll unleash the lack of quality control gremlins on their sorry butts! XD

stray g said...

Speaking of Flash for Dummmies, I tried to post an old (maybe 4 years?) Flash class assignment I did (animating song lyrics), but when I posted it, the timing was all off: the sound and images no longere matched up as intended.

Sally said...

stray g, try setting the sound to even instead of streaming and see if that improves it.