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A Generosity of Editors

by Michelle Waitzman

Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) Toronto mini-conference, November 6, 2019. From left to right: Janet MacMillan (SfEP Toronto mini-conference co-coordinator), Jennifer Glossop, Heather Ebbs, Malini Devadas, Erin Brenner, Amy J. Schneider, and Paul Beverley. Photo credit: SfEP member Jeanne McKane. Courtesy of SfEP.

Editors sometimes have fun sharing—and inventing—collective nouns for various groups of creatures or people. When it comes to editors themselves, I propose to call the group “a generosity of editors.” When they gather in large (or even modest) numbers, editors are exceedingly generous with their knowledge, experience and wisdom. I was reminded of this recently when I attended the second annual Toronto mini-conference presented by the UK-based Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) and organized by Maya Berger, Kelly Lamb, Janet MacMillan, and Rachel Small. Their first generous act was allowing non-members to attend an event with very limited space, and even providing a discount for Editors Canada members. This type of cross-association cooperation is becoming the norm, and it benefits editors around the world.

The day consisted of five sessions featuring presenters from the UK, the US, and Canada. (The previous day, an editor and business coach from Australia, Malini Devadas, gave a pre-conference workshop aimed at freelance editors.) The topics covered were diverse, but a theme of “working smarter” connected many of them. This theme demonstrated that learning how to edit well is only the first step to becoming a successful editor. Editing skills can be enhanced by learning how to work efficiently, provide more consistent results to clients, and collaborate effectively with other publishing professionals.

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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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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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