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Editor for Life: Alana Chalmers, editorial consultant, Bell 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 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.

Alana Chalmers

Photo credit: James Harbeck

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’m an editorial consultant at Bell Canada and my job is a mix of editing and consulting on document design. Editing people who have to write for their job is different from editing writers and it comes with some interesting challenges. I have to be extra careful of how I give feedback and part of my job is educating the team on clear communication.

I’ve been an editor for about eight years. I live in Toronto with zero cats but two kids who sometimes pretend to be cats.

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Editor for Life: Jess Shulman, owner of Jess Shulman Editorial

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.

Portrait photo of Jess Shulman

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 spent 17 years at major international corporations, doing sales, process improvement, proposal writing and communications. Those last two involved a lot of editing over a decade, and eventually I took the leap (and studied hard) and tackled Editors Canada’s Certification exams. I earned my CPE, and that gave me the confidence to finally leave the corporate world and start a freelance editorial business in 2016.

I like to keep my options way open, both in the types of editing I do and in the topic areas I work on. I mostly do copy editing, stylistic editing, and proofreading, working on novels, trade non-fiction, textbooks, and all kinds of corporate materials. For indie authors, I also offer a quite detailed substantive manuscript-evaluation service. For my corporate clients, I do quite a bit of writing—web copy, social media posts, marketing materials, articles, reports. Never a dull day at Jess Shulman Editorial! I live in Toronto with my husband, two kids and, of course, a cat.

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Just for reference

By James Harbeck

Bookcase of old books with beautiful spines

Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

If you edit academic books or articles, you probably spend a lot of time tidying up references. Sometimes as much time as editing the entire rest of the text. First, you have to pick your style: Chicago (note or name-date), MLA, APA, or, in the sciences, AMA or Vancouver. Then, you have to make everything consistent with it, to the extent possible. On top of that, you may have to look up the sources to double-check them.

I’ve edited medical continuing-education presentations that had no bibliographies and would cite some sources as just, for instance, “Heinz & Wong 2013.” I would have to find the rest of the citation—and I would, nearly every time, with a single search. Which means that anyone else who wanted to know would also be able to find it as quickly. Our citation standards were developed before the wonderful world of high-powered search engines. If we can find the source from an incomplete or inaccurate citation, how much of this tidying up is necessary?

Now, yes, there are more reasons than just findability to give detailed and consistent bibliographic information. You want to be tidy. You want readers not to have to spend undue time and effort: “Wasting our time so that readers don’t have to waste theirs” is in the editor’s job description. You want to give credit where it is due, and accurately. And you don’t want any risk of ambiguity—you don’t want people flipping fruitlessly through the wrong edition, for instance.

But still. Not all standard parts of a bibliographic citation are truly necessary. Here are several things some styles require that we should consider just getting rid of:

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Breaking Down Barriers to a Career in Editing

Join us on May 28 for our Annual General Meeting, a branch business meeting, and what promises to be a stimulating panel discussion on barriers to entering the editing profession.

The business meeting and AGM will begin at 7 pm. The panel discussion will begin at 7:30 pm. We have the room until 9:30 pm, so please plan to stay and chat. We love to get to know our members!

Panel discussion

Breaking Down Barriers to a Career in Editing

When: Tuesday, May 28, 7–9:30 pm (business meeting and AGM first; panel starts at 7:30 pm)

Where: Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina, 192 Spadina Ave., Third Floor, Room F

Are you new to the field of editing? Have you struggled with impostor syndrome or faced other barriers to a full editing career? For the final branch meeting of 2018–19, we are pleased to present a panel discussion on common obstacles facing new editing professionals and the strategies organizations and individuals can use to break down those barriers. This program will explore how the industry can better welcome and recruit new talent, how organizations can combat ableism and improve access, what individual editors can do to gain a toehold in the editing and publishing industries, and related questions.

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Editors Unplugged: Get to know our speaker for How to Find Freelance Editing Work

Interview conducted by Catherine Dorton.

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 Greg Ioannou, who will be talking about how to find editing work, including freelance, and Editors Canada’s plans to help editors find work

What book, movie, or TV show title best describes your life?

My brother sometimes talks about how he’s never seen or read anything that remotely resembles our lives. I may have to write the damned thing myself.

What was the luckiest thing that ever happened to you?

Getting drafted by the Australian army. They were going to send me to Vietnam. I opted for Canada instead.

What genre or type of project have you not yet had the chance to work on, but would like to?

I’ve done three books on cannibalism, and many, many cookbooks, but never a cannibalism cookbook.

What can’t you live without?

Chaos, apparently. I can’t stand a tidy desk, a completed to-do list, everything being orderly and under control. I thrive where things are about to fall apart, revel in avoiding inchoate rubble and ruin. Neatness is the ultimate evil.

What can’t you work without?

Co-workers. I used to freelance at home, and found it boring, lonely, depressing. I need an office to go to and people to work with.

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How to Find Freelance Editing Work

When: Tuesday, April 23, 7:30–9:30 pm

Where: Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina, 192 Spadina Ave., Third Floor, Room F

For the penultimate program meeting of 2018–19, we are pleased to feature publisher and Editors Canada co-founder Greg Ioannou, who will speak about how freelancers can generate work, and what Editors Canada plans to do to help freelancers find jobs in today’s evolving marketplace. We’re also treating members to a specially curated collection of short video presentations, by a diverse group of editors adept at generating freelance work. Please join us for what will surely be an informative program devoted to the practical and business side of the editing profession.

More about our speaker:

Greg IoannouGreg Ioannou has a long history in publishing. He’s worked on well over 3,000 books, on topics ranging from cannibalism to vegetarian cuisine, and from science fiction to how to design a helicopter. He’s taught publishing at Ryerson University, George Brown College, and elsewhere, and served four terms as president of Editors Canada. He is the CEO of Colborne Communications, a writing and editing company, and president of the Toronto hybrid publisher Iguana Books. Through Colborne, Greg and his team have worked on everything from websites and self-published books to board games and government reports. As a hybrid publisher, Greg has helped more than 100 authors publish top-quality books in genres ranging from mysteries to political thrillers to humour, and in 2018, Iguana Books co-published with Canadian Authors Association the first in a series of planned anthologies of new Canadian writing.

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A Conversation with Esi Edugyan and her editors: Another successful collaboration between Editors Toronto, Canadian Authors–Toronto, and University of Toronto

By Raya P. Morrison

In January, Editors Toronto, Canadian Authors–Toronto, and the Creative Writing program at the University of Toronto (UofT) School of Continuing Studies struck gold, bringing Esi Edugyan, two-time winner of the Giller Prize, for Half-Blood Blues (2011) and Washington Black (2018), to speak in front of a packed audience of writers and editors. The brilliant Edugyan took the stage along with four of her editors—Patrick Crean, Marie-Lynn Hammond, John Sweet, and Jane Warren—to discuss their collaborations and the editing process.

The event, which took place at UofT’s Sidney Smith Hall, started with an introduction by Lee Parpart, program chair at Editors Toronto, and was followed by Edugyan reading the opening passage from Half-Blood Blues. The audience was then treated to a fascinating behind-the-scenes look into the editorial process as structural editor Jane Warren and copy editor Marie-Lynn Hammond shed light on the different stages of editing, from the first structural edit to the minutia of copy editing.

Here is a short video of Jane Warren discussing the crucial part a structural editor plays in shaping a novel, and how honoured she was “to work on something that’s going to be read and re-read for the decades to come.”

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Editor for Life: Carolyn Camilleri, editor and writer

Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster.

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.

Photo of Carolyn Camilleri

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 am a freelance writer and editor based mostly in Toronto but also in Victoria. I have been doing this work since 1996, and I have been self-employed since 1998. I write for and edit magazines, mostly custom and trade publications now, but I have a few consumer magazines on my resumé. I especially enjoy launching and rebranding publications; it’s a lot of work, but it’s exciting and fun. I also help businesses with websites, marketing materials, and anything else they have that might need new words or better words.

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