Becoming an academic editor: one year later

By Nicole M. Roccas


Nearly a year ago, I decided to strike out on my own and become a freelance academic editor.

It wasn’t a hasty decision—I was about to finish my PhD in history and had been considering career options for several years. During that time, I took on small, short-term copy editing jobs I found through friends or online job sites. Editing, I found, came naturally and complemented my tendency to be fastidious with written language.

Nonetheless, when I finally launched my own editing business, I encountered a steep learning curve. As I reflect on the past year, here’s what I’ve learned—and continue to learn.


Seminars for Editors – Autumn 2016

Business Partners Helping Each Other

The next few months are full of professional development opportunities through Editors Toronto! Follow links below for registration and other information.

Tuesday, September 27 (AM)Usage Traps and Myths presented by Frances Peck

Is impact now a legitimate verb? Is it correct to write a couple ideas? Must you change till to until and reserve between for comparing two things? For anyone intent on preventing (not avoiding) word errors and avoiding (not preventing) usage myths, this seminar will help.

We’ll take an up-to-date look at some of the most misunderstood and contentious points of English usage and examine common errors that make it into publications. We’ll also count down the top five usage myths. Bring your most pressing usage questions to share with the group.

Tuesday, September 27 (PM) – Mastering the Sentence presented by Frances Peck


Editor-in-chief wanted

Want to gain valuable online publishing and content management experience?

The Editors Toronto executive is looking for a publications chair that will act as editor-in-chief for our blog, BoldFace.

This is an excellent opportunity to gain real experience managing a blog with a readership of around 1,400 and managing a team of volunteer contributors. You’ll be responsible for gathering material from authors, assigning editing and proofreading tasks, maintaining a publishing schedule, and publishing content on the web via WordPress.

The publications chair also oversees any printed materials that promote or support branch activities.

If you are a Toronto-based member who is interested in volunteering for the 2016–17 term, we would love to hear from you. Please email the vice-chair at [email protected].

Ask Aunt Elizabeth: Help me navigate the stormy seas of financial insecurity!

By Elizabeth d’Anjou

Looking for advice on editing the editing life? Whether you’re a beginner looking for tips on starting out or an old hand looking for another perspective, veteran editor Aunt Elizabeth is ready to address your queries. Submit them to [email protected]—you may find the answers you are looking for in next month’s column.

Ask Aunt Elizabeth: Help me navigate the stormy seas of financial insecurity!

(1) Dear Aunt Elizabeth,

I’m a freelance copy editor in my early 30s, with a partner who also freelances, albeit in another field. We want to start a savings account and eventually a family, but due to the feast-or-famine nature of our work, we are not sure about where to start. What approach should we use to set aside money for the future amidst financial uncertainty?


My Clock Is Ticking

Dear Clock,

No wonder I never had kids—given the huge frustration I recall early in my career of just trying to plan a modest vacation (when I had the time I never had any money to spare, and when I had a bit of money I never had any time). I couldn’t even have imagined trying to arrange for a maternity leave. Since then, the government has introduced an EI maternity leave option for self-employed Canadians, but its restrictions are such that its appeal is severely limited.


Book review: See Also Deception, by Larry D. Sweazy

(Released May 2015)

By Vanessa Wells

Book review: See Also Deception, by Larry D. Sweazy

Full disclosure: I have never been into murder mysteries. No early Nancy Drews, no later Agatha Christies—frankly, I just felt like I would never be able to figure the mystery out and would feel kinda dumb, so I never embraced the genre. The only reason I was interested in the Marjorie Trumaine books by Larry D. Sweazy was that I’d heard they were written by and about an indexer.

I was a little skeptical about how the second book of the mystery series, See Also Deception, could pick up with a new murder only months after those of the first, but this fell by the wayside once I cracked open the book. In a nutshell, our newbie-sleuth heroine cannot accept that her librarian friend has committed suicide, and her indexer-character tenacity leads her to work the details of the case that are missed by the police. Fortunately, foreshadowing is well handled and carries the reader’s interest rather than handing over the solution to the murder on a silver platter. This is perhaps due to Sweazy’s writing habit of working organically and without complete pre-outlining, which lets the story unfold for himself as much as for his audience.

In his acknowledgments, the author says, “Indexing, like writing, is a job best done in isolation.” In See Also Deception, he has again succeeded in creating an atmosphere that highlights the protagonist’s isolation, both physical and psychological, despite the constant presence of her invalid husband and her community of Dickinson, North Dakota. The bleak feeling also works for the character and plot development that he tantalizingly creates for the reader. (more…)

The Nitpicker’s Nook: June’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

By Savanna Scott Leslie

The Nitpicker’s Nook: June’s linguistic links roundup

  • That’s a wrap on the 2016 Editors Canada conference in Vancouver! Paul Cipywnyk shared his photos from the event so you can relive those memories, or see what you missed. (Flickr)
  • Across the pond, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) held a professional development day for fiction editors. Editor Liz Jones discusses some takeaways from the big day. (Eat Sleep Edit Repeat)
  • Brexit: the fun new portmanteau that everyone’s worrying about. And if, like me, you edit in the finance world, you’ve probably seen the term a lot. Linguist Mark Liberman muses on different pronunciations of the trendy word in John Oliver’s must-see Brexit segment from Last Week Tonight, which you can watch within the article. I’m in the [‘brɛk.sɪt] camp. What about you? (Language Log)
  • Perhaps all the complaints about “females” in pop culture have put you off the word entirely and you’ve begun to use “women” as an adjective instead. You wouldn’t be alone. Mignon Fogarty weighs in on the practice, and the sexism that may have caused it, before sharing a practical suggestion. (Grammar Girl)
  • How much do you consider syntax in your edits? Emma Darwin explores the “rhythm, reason, and rhyme” behind strong sentences. (The Itch of Writing: The Blog)
  • As I’ve been learning from Alec Ross’s The Industries of the Future (2016), automation and mechanization will quickly reshape the economic landscape. These changes should improve our health and increase leisure time—but they’ll also allow companies to drastically cut jobs. Stay calm! A recent report suggests writing and editing jobs in Canada are unlikely to be automated in the next 10 to 20 years. (The Globe and Mail)

Savanna Scott Leslie is an editor and publishing consultant based in Hamilton, Ontario. She’s also a new and enthusiastic co-coordinator of Editors Hamilton-Halton, though she can’t help but shudder at the word co-coordinator.

This article was copy edited by Joe Cotterchio-Milligan.

Thank you, Editors Toronto volunteers

By Berna Ozunal

Thank you, Editors Toronto volunteers

At Editors Toronto, volunteers are the lifeblood of the branch. As a non-profit organization, we rely on the generosity and know-how of volunteers to perform a variety of tasks. Our volunteers host seminars, contribute to our blog, mentor others, and represent us at educational institutions and events like Word On The Street.

If you are a member and an editor working in Toronto—or you want to be an editor working in Toronto—think about volunteering! It is a great way to learn about the industry and gain experience for your resumé. You’ll also have many opportunities to network and socialize with other editors. In the Editors Toronto My Rewards program, volunteers earn checks for their contributions. If you earn eight checks, you get $100 off a seminar of your choice. (more…)

Freelancing: Dressing up for the occasion

By Vanessa Wells

Freelancing: Dressing up for the occasion

Two years ago, Whitney Matusiak offered some good advice on BoldFace about wardrobe considerations for freelancers. Today I’m going to sing the praises of dressing up for working (mostly) at home. I am amazed at those who work in their jammies. Amazed in wonder, not judgment. The only things I can accomplish in my nightwear are scrolling through Facebook and drinking my first coffee.

My POV is about preparation, discipline, and focus. I am hyper-organized. I love lists. They are my modus operandi for life and work. In order to be productive, though, I must be “ready for my day,” and the physical must precede the psychological. (See the first point on Emma Gannon’s blog post about being self-employed.) (more…)

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Upcoming event

  • Usage Traps and Myths presented by Frances Peck September 27, 2016 at 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Oakham House, 63 Gould St, Toronto, ON M5B 1E9, Canada Is impact now a legitimate verb? Is it correct to write a couple ideas? Must you change till to until and reserve between for comparing two things? For anyone intent on preventing (not avoiding) word errors and avoiding (not preventing) usage myths, this seminar will help. We’ll take an up-to-date look at some of the…

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