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Editor for Life: Janice Zawerbny, senior editor, HarperCollins Canada

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.

Black-and-white headshot of Janice Zawerbny

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 an editor for more than 20 years in Toronto. I’ve worked in-house for most of my career: I’ve been an acquisitions and developmental editor, who also completes the substantive and stylistic edit after the books have been acquired. I mainly work on literary fiction and non-fiction but have worked on commercial fiction and non-fiction projects as well. I think one of the best traits of a good editor is versatility.

Who: If you could edit one famous author, living or dead, who would it be?

I like working with smart, kind, and humorous people, so I think I’d have to choose David Foster Wallace. I think working with him would have been both fun and intellectually stimulating.

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Editors Canada conference 2019: A great way to connect with other editors and learn new skills

by Ann Kennedy

Editors Canada 2019 conference artwork

On June 7, 8, and 9, editors from across North America and as far away as Australia gathered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to reconnect, learn new skills, and refresh long-used ones. The annual Editors Canada conference was held this year at The Westin Nova Scotian, an ideal location for hitting the local farmers’ market for breakfast before sessions started, and just around the corner from the boardwalk for an evening stroll and a lobster roll at one of the popular waterside restaurants.

Four pre-conference seminars were offered, and though I wished I could have attended all four, I opted for Amy J. Schneider’s seminar, “Macros 101: Work Smarter, Not Harder.”

Photo of Amy J. Schneider at her seminar “Macros 101: Work Smarter, Not Harder” on June 7, 2019, at Editors Canada 40th anniversary conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Photo of Amy J. Schneider courtesy of Editors Canada

For the uninitiated like me, a macro is a computer program that runs inside Microsoft Word and enables a set of pre-defined, customized instructions to efficiently, accurately, and consistently perform tasks. These tasks can run from the mundane (such as converting two spaces to one or changing British English to American English) to the complex (such as ensuring that every instance of a certain abbreviation is capitalized and in bold). As someone who just finished a manuscript that was in dire need of consistency, I was very excited to learn more about macros and how they can save editors time by automating frequently performed tasks. The session was well worth the extra fee, for both content and quality. I came away with not only several pages of hand-outs with the session highlights, but also a list of websites and books to consult for more information.

The main conference itself took place over two days and included an opening keynote by renowned journalist and author Linden Macintyre; a closing keynote by multi-award-winning writer, speaker, and educator Sheree Fitch; the Editors Canada annual general meeting; and 40 sessions on topics ranging from managing a freelance business to editing scholarly papers to navigating language and diversity to preparing for the Editors Canada certification exams.

Highlights from the main conference programming for me included Michelle Waitzman and Jess Shulman’s “Making smart choices: Which freelance projects are right for you?”; James Harbeck’s “Translating medicalese into everyday English”; and Dean Jobb and Kim Pittaway’s “Negotiating the truth: Drawing the line in creative nonfiction”. As a freelance editor living with a physical disability whose dream is to edit memoirs, these sessions alone were worth the trip to Halifax!

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Book Review: Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples by Gregory Younging

by Indu Singh

Cover of "Elements of Indigenous Style" style manual next to photo of Gregory Younging

Exactly one year ago today, members of Editors Toronto had the privilege of hearing Gregory Younging speak about his recently published style guide, Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples, at a regular monthly Editors Toronto program meeting. The standing-room-only program was one of our most popular to date.

Gregory Younging passed away on May 3, 2019. The executive of Editors Toronto was profoundly saddened by this news and issued a statement at the time. We publish this book review to honour his memory and the important work he did, and to mark the one-year anniversary of his presentation to Editors Toronto.

 

Gregory Younging—publisher, editor, poet, educator, and member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation in northern Manitoba—is known for his groundbreaking advocacy of Indigenous issues and his enduring legacy of nurturing Indigenous writing and publishing in Canada. In Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples (Brush Education, 2018), he assesses Indigenous literature and publishing from the perspective of Indigenous Peoples. The result is a book of 22 editorial principles that guide readers through a new approach to writing and editing material with Indigenous content.

Younging believes it’s high time to decolonize Canadian English—a trend that he points out is already underway. Problematic terms such as primitive and heathen have largely been dropped from usage, while others like land claim and Native are increasingly becoming outdated.

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Editors Unplugged: Get to know our panellists for Editing Comics: From Concept to Publication

Interviews conducted by Indu Singh.

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 Steven Andrews, Allison O’Toole, and Megan Kearney. Meet all three panellists in person at this month’s program meeting on October 22.

Raina Telgemeier has been topping bestseller charts since the release of her middle grade autobio, Smile, in 2010 and is credited with changing both the face of comics and the publishing landscape. Her most recent title, Guts, is currently the #1 bestselling book in North America. What other graphic novels do you think are deserving of this attention?

Steven Andrews: I’m fascinated by the recent resurgence in political and historical comics. Congressman John Lewis, inspired by the protest comics he read as a child, created a graphic novel series called March recounting his work in the Civil Rights Movement. Beautifully illustrated by Nate Powell, it carefully navigates a harrowing period of recent history and ties it to the modern day with eternally relevant themes.

Similarly, the comic magazine The Nib collects short illustrated essays and comic journalism. You might find deeply personal stories from refugees, an introduction to net neutrality, or silly satire taken from the headlines in it.

Allison O’Toole: While she’s also quite popular, I think that everything Tillie Walden makes should be an instant bestseller—her work is incredible. Her colour palettes are always unbelievable, her figures very emotive, her characters nuanced, and her emotions complex and engaging. Her work would be accessible and relatable for teen readers, but they’re so smartly written that they’re wonderful for adults as well.

Megan Kearney: Linda Medley has been flying below the radar since the 90s, when she toured with Jeff Smith and Charles Vess, and then sort of dropped out of the spotlight. Castle Waiting is basically perfect, everything I could ever ask for out of a comic—draftsmanship, storytelling, the whole package. The first time I read it, I was shocked. I had never seen something so perfectly suited for my sensibilities. I read it front to back three times in a row.  It’s such a masterful work, I can’t understand how it hasn’t been more lauded!

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Editing Comics: From Concept to Publication with Steven Andrews, Allison O’Toole, and Megan Kearney

"Editing Comics: From Concept to Publication" October 22 program flyer

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 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

On Tuesday, October 22, Steven Andrews, Allison O’Toole, and Megan Kearney, each a force in the Canadian comic publishing industry, join us for a panel discussion that will introduce us to how independent comics are created and the role an editor plays in the process.

Enter the world of comics in this deep-dive discussion on how editors work with text and images and find their way into this expanding field, and how newcomers can build their comic editing skills with award-winning freelance comics editor Allison O’Toole. Acclaimed cartoonist Megan Kearney will take us through an illustrator’s role and their relationship with editors, and Steven Andrews will provide insight into the production of self-published comic anthologies.

The evening will conclude with a Q&A session with our panellists.

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Editor for Life: Michael Mirolla, publisher and editor-in-chief, Guernica Editions

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 W5: 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.

Michael Mirolla

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.

Right now, I live in Hamilton (on The Mountain, as they call it around here—the bottom end of the escarpment). Before that, I lived in Montreal, Mount Forest (with its “Happy & High” motto on the water tower), Toronto, and Oakville—with a teaching stint in Nigeria just for a bit of variety. My partner and I have run Guernica Editions for ten years, a Canadian literary publishing house where I serve as editor-in-chief, cook, and bottle washer. One of my tasks is to evaluate and then help edit any accepted manuscripts that come in. The great thing about editing manuscripts at a literary press is you get to work on different genres. We publish between 30 and 40 books a year and the final editing always comes through me. In some cases, the manuscripts are shipped out (a metaphor really, as they are sent electronically) to some freelance editors we have on call. They do the heavy lifting. By the time the manuscript comes to me, I’m mostly looking for consistency and formatting. In other cases, I take on the task of editing from start to finish. That includes checking the final PDF typeset version and even making sure the title and author name are spelled correctly!

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How to manage translation and still have fun

by Alana Chalmers

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

This is one of those inspirational, yet anonymous, quotes that makes you want to hunt down that person and dump a pile of work on their desk. Or their beach towel. Because they probably have some sweet gig that doesn’t include a desk or deadlines.

Managing translation at a large company can be high stress, fast paced, and unrelenting. But it’s also challenging and fun, and you meet the best people doing it.

What is it like to manage a translation process? Well, it’s really not that different from managing an editing process.

Here are some common phrases you might hear if you manage translation.

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5 tips to having a priceless internship

by Celina Fazio

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

As a student in Ryerson’s publishing program, I have been told by people working in the industry that an editorial internship is an essential learning opportunity for anyone looking to secure an editorial position at a publishing house. As a result, I applied and interviewed for multiple editorial internships—both at major and “indie” publishers—before I landed one at a major publishing house. Though I had previously done a sales and marketing internship, I pursued an editorial internship because I had an interest in editing and relished the idea of working on books. So when I received the offer earlier this year, I happily accepted. I recently completed my internship, and I can confidently say that the advice is true: The experience was a great learning opportunity and reaffirmed my desire to work in the editorial field. I would highly recommend it to anyone considering pursuing an editorial internship.

So, if you are considering an editorial internship or are about to begin one, here are five pieces of advice I can offer:

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