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Editor for Life: Greg Ioannou, freelance editor, owner of Colborne Communications, and co-founder of PubLaunch.com and Iguana Books

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.

Greg Ioannou

Greg, please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do, and how long you’ve been an editor.

I started freelancing on September 6, 1977, though I’d done lots of writing and some volunteer editing for a couple of years before that. So not quite 40 years. My first paid editing gig was working on Coles Notes (I edited almost 200 of them), and from there I branched out into textbooks, dictionaries, and trade books. By 1982, I was working for a range of publishers, and also editing a section of Ontario’s provincial budget. I’ve always been a complete generalist. My all-time favourite customer was Cranium, the board game company. I worked on over 30 games for them.

In 1985, I agreed to share a small office with two friends, which ended my days as a lonely freelancer working from my spare bedroom. That became a company that was originally called The Editorial Centre and is now Colborne Communications.

Five of us founded Iguana Books in 1991 as a book packaging company. (We put out one book soon after we launched the company. It was someone else’s pet project—an academic book on a business subject—and I’ve never seen a copy of it.) In 2011 I converted Iguana to a hybrid publisher, serving self-publishing authors. Iguana has published about 70 books, many of which I’m intensely proud of.

Iguana publishes general trade books—fiction, non-fiction, poetry, kids’ books, whatever. I won’t publish a book unless it is at a fully professional standard. Our books are as well edited and designed as the books coming out of the major trade-publishing companies. As an editor, I’ve always been a complete generalist, and my publishing company is the same.

Iguana started crowdfunding its books in 2013, mostly using a New York-based website called Pubslush. By early 2015, a large portion of my income was coming through Pubslush, so when the company announced in August 2015 that it was going out of business, I sort of acquired the company. That deal fell apart seven weeks later. We’d been planning to rebrand the company as PubLaunch anyway, so that was an opportunity to program PubLaunch the way we’d wished that Pubslush had worked. (more…)

Report on ACES 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida

By Berna Ozunal

This year, 591 people travelled to St. Petersburg, Florida, for the annual American Copy Editors Society (ACES) conference held from March 23 to 25 at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront Hotel—the second-highest attendance ever.

I went to St. Pete’s for a few reasons this year: I enjoyed last year’s conference in Portland and learned a lot, I seriously needed to “defrost,” and I was presenting a session.

Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, St. Petersburg has a population of just over 250,000. From the Tampa International Airport, it’s just a 30-minute taxi or shuttle ride to the hotel.

I was told that March is the perfect time to travel to Florida, and it’s true. With highs between 24ºC and 28ºC, you are transported to another dimension—one where people do not walk around half the year swaddled like mummies in wool and down. (more…)

David L. Peebles (July 30, 1949–December 3, 2016)

By Avivah Wargon and Ruth Pincoe

Toronto editors and many other friends feel a great sense of loss after the death of David Peebles in December 2016. David was held in great affection and valued for his generous help, his legendary technical knowledge and skills, and his sense of humour. He is also remembered for his meticulous editing of technical material and for his service as chair of EAC’s technology committee in 1999–2000.

Editing was not David’s first career. His interest in how things work showed early on. Shortly after earning a bachelor of science degree, he began a lifelong freelance career, applying his wide range of technical skills to everything from theatre lighting and sound systems to rewiring old houses. David also loved words, as a thumbnail bio shows:

At the back of his filing cabinet David has an honours B.Sc. from the mathematics-physics-chemistry program at the University of Toronto, an unsaleable screenplay, and three awards for short stories. Before it finally dawned on him that he could combine his interests in writing and technology by working as a technical editor, David had operated a radio telescope, helped develop a medical research instrument, designed a slide projector interface for stage lighting systems, and done a wide variety of electrical installations and troubleshooting.

In 1982 David married Ruth Pincoe, an editor and indexer specializing in music and theatre; their shared and complementary interests in words, theatre, hiking, food, and drink made for a rich partnership. In 1997 an in-house colleague and friend called Ruth to offer her a textbook on wiring, saying, “I know you’ll give it to David to do a technical read.” David did much more than that: he went on to a companion book and worked on several supplements. His career as an editor had begun. He quickly became sought after by educational publishers for developmental editing of science, mathematics, and electronics texts. He understood the equations and formulas, and he enjoyed working with authors who appreciated his background knowledge. (more…)

Editors Storytelling Night

"The Storyteller," by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (c. mid-1770s) Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

“The Storyteller,” by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (c. mid-1770s) Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

If you joined Editors Canada with hopes of meeting other editors, this is the program for you. Join us Wednesday, February 22, 2017, to commiserate with your fellow editors, learn from them, share a funny story, and hear others’ stories from the editorial trenches.

Program details

Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, 750 Spadina Ave., Room R202. The building is fully accessible, and coffee will be served at 7 pm.

7 PM Mingling and informal Q & A session for new and prospective members
7:30 PM Announcements and business meeting
8:00 PM Program
9 PM Mix and mingle

Getting to know you

Speed Networking

By Ghozt Tramp via Wikimedia Commons

By Michelle Waitzman

The new year started with a bang for the Toronto branch’s monthly program. The first event of 2017 dispensed with the usual presenter–audience format and devoted the evening to speed networking.

Nearly 20 participants paired off to get acquainted for seven to eight minutes at a time. Icebreaker questions were provided for anyone who was uncomfortable striking up a conversation out of the blue. At the end of each session, everyone found a new partner and began again. This cycle repeated six times, and participants were then invited to stick around to continue their conversations after the official networking ended. I spoke to some of the participants at the beginning of the evening about what they were hoping to get out of the session.

For University of Toronto student Rosie, the event was an opportunity to explore editing as a career option. She is not yet an Editors Canada member, but she has been doing some editing work for her fellow students and may want to continue editing after graduation.

Adrineh recently joined Editors Canada on the recommendation of one of her editing instructors at Ryerson. Adrineh currently works in corporate communications and she’s taking courses to hone her editing skills. She wanted to meet people who had made the leap to full-time careers in editing. (more…)

Speed networking for editors

speed networking
Did you join Editors Canada hoping to meet other editors? Are you finding it hard to start those conversations? You’re not alone, and Editors Toronto can help.

On Wednesday, January 25, Editors Toronto welcomes its membership to a speed-networking session. You’ll meet other members for short conversations—icebreakers provided.

Program details

Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, 750 Spadina Ave., Room R202. The building is fully accessible, and coffee will be served at 7 pm.

Free for members
$10 for non-members

7 pm Mingling and informal Q & A session for new and prospective members
7:30 pm Announcements
7:45 pm Program
9 pm Mix-and-mingle

Oh, the Places You’ll Go: A bookstore crawl

bookstorecrawl-landscape-1-1

November 19, 2016
1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Editors Toronto and Professional Writers Association of Canada, Toronto chapter members are invited to browse, buy, share, and talk about books, while also learning about how bookstores operate in today’s marketplace. On Saturday, November 19, beginning at 1 p.m., we will visit four independent, specialty bookstores in downtown Toronto. At each store, staff will meet with our group to share insights and answer questions about the store’s offerings and operations. Then we’ll have ample time to talk, to shop, and to talk shop before moving on.

Travel between the stores will be by TTC and on foot. The stores on our itinerary will be confirmed closer to the date.

The bookstore crawl will be run as the monthly program meeting for November.
The cost to participate is $5. To register, please click here.

No editor is an island: Working remotely and using social media (an Editors Toronto coffee shop)

Meeting over Coffee

If you’re an experienced editor who works remotely, join your colleagues for an evening of lively discussion about the challenges you face and how social media can help. Over drinks, share your questions, conundrums, and experiences in a welcoming group setting, and gain fresh ideas to help you in your work.

Facilitated by Marg Anne Morrison
Wednesday, November 2
7:00 PM to 9:30 PM
Boxcar Social
1208 Yonge St. (at Summerhill subway station)

Registration – free (Editors Toronto members only); participants buy their own beverages

This article was copy edited by Jeny Nussey