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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.
Jennifer, please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.
I’m one of those odd birds who is both a writer and an editor, and I’ve been doing both professionally for about 14 years. I attended the master of publishing program at SFU, and after graduating my first jobs were in magazines—a field where it’s easy to both write and edit. I published my first book, Fashion That Changed the World, in 2014, and began working at Greystone Books in Vancouver soon after. I’m now Greystone’s editorial director, and spend my days editing and acquiring books and managing the editorial department. I write books at night, and will be publishing my third and fourth books in 2018 and 2019.
Who: If you could edit one famous author, living or dead, who would it be?
I’ll say Dorothy Parker. I’m sure she’d be a handful, but I’d get some stories out of it.
What: Do you have a favourite punctuation mark and/or a favourite word?
That’s a diplomatic question. Editors, from what I know, spend most of their time hating certain words and punctuation marks! I’ll offer you a favourite letter instead: ø. I just finished working on a book written by Norwegians, and I grew quite fond of the slashed o.
Where: If you could work anywhere in the world as an editor, where would that be?
From a luxurious mansion in the south of France, paid for with the millions of dollars I’ve made editing.
When: Was there ever a time in your life when you seriously questioned your career choice?
Yes—in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008, when I was freelancing and there was very little work. I’m very glad I didn’t retrain to become a dental hygienist.
Why: Why did you choose to become an editor? Or, should we ask: Why did editing choose you?
After I finished my undergrad degree, I moved to London, England, and looked for a job. It was the first time in my life I’d needed to consider my actual skill set. I saw a job posting for an editorial assistant, thought, “I could do that,” and applied. I had a job on my third day in the country, jet lag be damned. That pretty much settled my fate.
And, of course, we just had to ask the inevitable how: How would you sum up your motto?
Just like that 1970s poster featuring a kitten hanging on for dear life, “Hang in there.”
Jennifer D. Foster is a Toronto-based freelance editor and writer, specializing in book and custom publishing, magazines, and marketing and communications. She is also chair of Editors Toronto and administrative director of the Rowers Reading Series.
This article was copy edited by Nicole North.
Editors Toronto is part of a national professional association run by and for its members. Everything you see, read, and attend is organized and co-ordinated by volunteers. As editor-in-chief of BoldFace, I want to acknowledge all the volunteers who have contributed their skills, time, and talent to helping me make this blog an interesting, informative, fun place for readers. And thanks to everyone who helped at events and brought their expertise to bear. The executive committee and I thank you for making 2017 such a great year, and we look forward to working with all of you again in 2018!
BoldFace copy editors and writers
|Christine Albert (copy editing, writing)
Joe Cotterchio-Milligan (copy editing)
Ellen Fleischer (copy editing)
Jennifer D. Foster (writing)
James Harbeck (writing)
Deepi Harish (writing)
Emma Warnken Johnson (writing)
Karen Kemlo (copy editing)
Afara Kimkeran (copy editing)
Ambrose Li (copy editing)
Shara Love (writing)
Jaye Marsh (copy editing, writing)
|Tom Nicholls (copy editing)
Nicole North (copy editing)
Jeny Nussey (copy editing)
Berna Ozunal (writing)
Olga Sushinsky (copy editing)
Alethea Spiridon (writing)
Rachel Stuckey (writing)
Ana Trask (copy editing)
Jessica Trudel (writing)
Michelle Waitzman (writing)
Avivah Wargon (writing)
Vanessa Wells (copy editing)
BoldFace editors for life
Heather J. Wood
Branch meeting helpers
Raya P. Morrison
|Jennifer Albert (non-member)
Donovan Dill (non-member)
Jennifer D. Foster
Jayne S. Huhtanen (non-member)
Anne-Marie Jackson (non-member)
Andrew Tolson (non-member)
Katie Underwood (non-member)
The Word On The Street helpers
Jennifer D. Foster
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Toronto, November 21, 2017—The Editors’ Association of Canada (Editors Canada) congratulates member Michael Redhill, winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Bellevue Square.
Bellevue Square is a darkly comic literary thriller about a woman who fears for her sanity and eventually her life when she learns that her doppelganger has appeared in a local park.
Redhill is an award-winning poet, playwright, short-story writer and novelist, and a member of Editors Toronto. He gave the keynote address at Editors Canada’s 2010 national conference in Montreal, where his clever speech kept the audience laughing (and the interpreters jumping).
Last night, Redhill’s address to the audience in attendance at the gala at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto was an emotional one. He thanked Michael Ondaatje and Linda Spalding who “over 30 years ago…opened their door to me and I’m grateful for the enthusiasm and encouragement they brought to my life.”
He went on to thank his mother. “Our house was full of books because of [her]. Because of her love of reading, I wanted to make her books,” he said.
The $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize is the richest literary award for a work of fiction in Canada. The prize has been awarded annually since 1994. It was founded by the late Jack Rabinovitch to honour his wife, the journalist Doris Giller, who died a year earlier. Rabinovitch died this year at the age of 87.
An editor all his life, Redhill is no stranger to the “best supporting actor” role that goes along with this invisible art in publishing. Earlier this year, he posted on Facebook looking for editing work. “The ends, they do not meet,” he wrote.
“The ends are going to meet for a while now,” he joked after winning the prize.
Born in Maryland in 1966, Redhill has lived in Canada for most of his life. His career formally began in the early nineties at Coach House Press. He taught “Editing Poetry” at Ryerson University and is the author of the novels Consolation, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and Martin Sloane, a finalist for the Giller Prize. He has written a novel for young adults, four collections of poetry and two plays, including the internationally celebrated Goodness. He also writes a series of crime novels under the name Inger Ash Wolfe. He lives in Toronto.
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About Editors Canada
Editors Canada began in 1979 as the Freelance Editors’ Association of Canada to promote and maintain high standards of editing. In 1994, the word “Freelance” was dropped to reflect the association’s expanding focus to serve both freelance and in-house editors. As Canada’s only national editorial association, it is the hub for 1,300 members and affiliates, both salaried and freelance, who work in the corporate, technical, government, not-for-profit and publishing sectors. The association’s professional development programs and services include professional certification, an annual conference, seminars, webinars, guidelines for fair pay and working conditions, and networking with other associations. Editors Canada has five regional branches: British Columbia; Saskatchewan; Toronto; Ottawa–Gatineau; and Quebec/Atlantic Canada, as well as smaller branches (called twigs) in Calgary, Edmonton, Manitoba, Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph, Hamilton/Halton, Kingston, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
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, 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…)
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…)
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…)
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.
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