BoldFace

Editors Unplugged: Get to Know Our Panellists for Generating Business Online: Build Your Skills in Website Creation and Discoverability

Interviews conducted by Jessica de Bruyn.

Our popular monthly program meetings often feature a jam-packed agenda. We like to keep our introductions short, so you can hear more from our panellists and less from us! It’s hard to do justice to the incredible wealth of experience these guests bring to the table, so we are offering you a preview with this short Q&A beforehand.

This month, we are honoured to be joined by Ellen Keeble and Raya P. Morrison. Meet them in person at this month’s program meeting on February 25.

What skills, other than writing and editing, do you think help most when you’re marketing yourself online?

Ellen: This isn’t really a skill, but I think a lot of people try to ride whatever wave is trendy and they spread themselves too thin. They might also put themselves on platforms that don’t reach their intended audience. I would say resist the urge to do everything. Focus on what you can do well, and make sure your audience (clients) will find you there.

And if we’re talking about working online as an editor, you need to be flexible. The rules change constantly. You can’t get stuck in what worked last year, last month, or last week. You need to be able (and willing) to adapt.

Raya: Nowadays, people really want to see that you know SEO. You also need to be flexible and comfortable with modern slang and emojis and know how to use them correctly (especially if you’re in marketing). At the end of the day, though, I think that being confident in your abilities and showing that you know what you’re talking about are the most important things, whether you’re reaching out to people online or in person.

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Generating Business Online: Build Your Skills in Website Creation and Discoverability

jumble of words that looks like computer code on a black screen

Date: Tuesday, February 25, 7:00 – 9:30 pm
Location: Viola Desmond Room (3rd floor) at the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina, 192 Spadina Ave.
Map: goo.gl/maps/VRvEPVLumjmuHWbz8

One of the best tools editors have to showcase their skills, outline their services, and expand their business is a website. But in order to be effective, a website needs to be appealing, functional, and easily searchable. Our February program, Generating Business Online: Build Your Skills in Website Creation and Discoverability with experts Ellen Keeble and Raya P. Morrison, will focus on the tips and tricks of creating a well-designed website and writing content that will attract clients and search engines alike.

Ellen Keeble will give us a brief overview of the psychology of online search and how to write and edit content to help your ideal clients move from search engine results to your website. Learn to craft landing pages, select keywords, and adapt content that will entice and engage. The presentation will be followed by a live critique with Ellen and ex-web developer Raya P. Morrison of a variety of members’ websites to illustrate what they are doing right and where they can make improvements.

If you would like your website critiqued as part of this program, please email [email protected] with your name and your web address by 8:00 pm on Sunday, February 23. We will choose the winners by raffle and inform all successful applicants before the meeting.

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Editor for Life: Pamela Capraru, Copy and Stylistic Editor

Interview conducted by Arija Berzitis.

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the Five Ws: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Photo of Pamela Capraru

Please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (and where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.

I’ve worked as a copy editor in Toronto for over 30 years, mainly for magazines: Toronto Life, Azure, and The Walrus, both in-house and freelance. I received a National Magazine Award as co-winner for best editorial package in The Walrus, a rare honour for a copy editor. I started out typing manuscripts on octuplicate carbon paper at Maclean’s, took a job at TV Guide as editorial secretary, got promoted to copy editor, and earned my master’s at UOTJ (University on the Job). Once I found my niche, I chose to specialize and hone my skills rather than climb up the editorial hierarchy. Except for internships, which don’t provide the same intensive hands-on training, those entry-level positions no longer exist. That long arc gave me a foundation in print production and took me from the introduction of desktop publishing all the way up to electronic editing today. Since 2001, I’ve been freelancing full time for a diverse range of clients, from marketing departments and custom content firms to government agencies, non-profits, and academic presses. I’m “content agnostic,” which means I can edit pretty much anything for publication.

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Recap of A Discussion on the Business of Editing

by Anna Patricia Cairns

five women of colour sitting around boardroom table, talking

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

The November 26, 2019, Editors Toronto meeting was unlike any of the other meetings I’d attended. The room was set up with an open circle of chairs to allow attendees to participate as mentors or mentees in an informal, face-to-face discussion. A second, inner circle of chairs was added as more people arrived.

We started with an outline of the evening’s activities: a business meeting, then a question-and-answer discussion period, followed by socializing.

The twenty-minute business meeting was professional, yet brief. We were told different formats were being discussed for future monthly meetings, such as partnering with other organizations, more panel discussions, and day-long learning events.

The meeting started with introductions all around. Approximately 50 people were present. Some were seasoned editors, but most were students.

The seasoned editors were experienced in a range of areas: fiction, non-fiction, medical, scientific, scholarly, insurance, finance, magazines and journals. Students hailed from Centennial College, George Brown College, Humber College, Queen’s University, and Ryerson University.

With so many students present, the discussions centred on starting out in the business of editing. Here are the most in-depth conversations that took place:

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Editors Unplugged: Get to know our panellist for Making Smart Choices: Which freelance projects are right for you?

 Interview conducted by Sandra Otto.

Our popular monthly program meetings often feature a jam-packed agenda. We like to keep our introductions short, so you can hear more from our panellists and less from us! It’s hard to do justice to the incredible wealth of experience these guests bring to the table, so we are offering you a preview with this short Q&A beforehand. 

This month, we are honoured to be joined by Michelle Waitzman, who will be talking about ways to evaluate new opportunities, so you can move your career in the direction you want. 

Making Smart Choices: Which freelance projects are right for you? is based on her standing-room-only session at the 2019 Editors Canada conference in Halifax (co-presented with Jess Shulman).

Was there a time you stepped outside your comfort zone and loved it?

To be honest, I don’t find my “comfort zone” all that comfortable because I’m easily bored. As a result, I’m always pushing outside of it. The biggest leap I’ve taken out of my comfort zone was the most rewarding. In 2005, I moved from Toronto to Wellington, New Zealand, where I had no job lined up and no friends or family. I loved it there and stayed for seven years (and met my now-husband)! But professionally speaking, I think as a freelancer you sometimes need a “fake it till you make it” attitude. I often apply for “moonshot” gigs because you never know when someone will say yes. For example, I responded to a job posting for writing biographical material in the computer science field. I have no computer science background, and the only bios I’d written before were short website blurbs. I got the gig, and so far I’ve had the opportunity to write 15,000-word biographies of five fascinating people who’ve all won the highest honour in computer science, the A.M. Turing Award.

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Making Smart Choices: Which freelance projects are right for you?

Date: Tuesday, January 28, 7:00 – 9:30 pm
Location: Viola Desmond Room (3rd floor) at the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), 192 Spadina Ave.
Map: goo.gl/maps/VRvEPVLumjmuHWbz8

In 2020, get the jobs you really want and stop working on projects you might regret later. Michelle Waitzman’s Making Smart Choices: Which freelance projects are right for you? is based on her standing-room-only session at the 2019 Editors Canada conference in Halifax (co-presented with Jess Shulman).

The discussion will include ways to methodically evaluate new opportunities, so you can move your career in the direction you want. Bring a pen and paper (or your favourite device), and you’ll leave with a game plan for the year ahead. In this interactive presentation, we’ll crowdsource ideas and share experiences. Whether you are just starting out as a freelancer or have decades of experience, Michelle will get you thinking about what you’d love to work on and what you’d rather avoid.

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Book Review: Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer

by Indu Singh

Cover of the book "Dreyer's English" by Benjamin Dreyer

In the first chapter of Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, the author poses a challenge to his readers: go a week without writing any of the words out of a list of what he considers pointless adverbs, including very, rather, really, quite, just, so, surely, of course, and in fact. However, Dreyer singles out one adverb for his most extreme dare: “Feel free to go the rest of your life without another ‘actually.’”

According to Dreyer we are all writers now—we write blog entries, term papers, social media posts, emails, memos, product reviews—and he wants us to be better at it. He attempts to not only guide but also bully, cajole, amuse, and even challenge (as demonstrated above) the readers into becoming stronger and more effective communicators on paper and screen. He believes that if he can at least convince us to give up some of these ineffectual adverbs—these “Wan Intensifiers and Throat Clearers”—he will have automatically transformed us into better writers by the end of the week.

As a practising copy chief for Random House, Dreyer earns his living by polishing others’ work, and his feelings about his profession run the gamut from pragmatism to passion. “On a good day, [copy editing] achieves something between a really thorough teeth cleaning…and a whiz-bang magic act.”

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Editor for Life: Jane Warren, Freelance Editor

Interview conducted by Adrineh Der-Boghossian.

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the Five Ws: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Jane Warren

Please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (and where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.

I’ve been in book publishing for close to 20 years, first in New York as a literary scout, then in Toronto as a literary agent, and then as an editor at (the late and lamented) Key Porter Books and at HarperCollins Canada. Between stints as an in-house editor, I’ve always gone back to freelance editing, as it enables me to pour all my attention into my favourite part of the work: the relationship with the writing and with the author. I perform substantive and stylistic editing, and primarily work on literary fiction, as well as some narrative non-fiction and commercial fiction. I live on the top floor of a house in Roncesvalles, in the west end of Toronto, where I try not to be too distracted by the proximity of High Park.

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