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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…)

January speaker Q&A: Nina Munteanu, ecologist and author

Nina MunteanuOur first members’ meeting of the year for EAC’s Toronto branch is coming up soon, so we wanted to give you a taste of what to expect from this month’s speaker. Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of award-nominated speculative novels, short stories, and non-fiction. She is co-editor of Europa SF and currently teaches writing courses at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. Nina has been coaching writers through the process of successful publication for over a decade and gives workshops to writers on editing, marketing, and promotion.

In Nina’s presentation, “Keeping Up with the Changing Face of Publishing: What it Means for Freelance Editors,” you’ll learn about different forms of publishing (including self-publishing and indie publishing), publishing myths, where to find new editing opportunities, and how to market and promote yourself to writers who need your help.

Meeting details
January 28, 2014
Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, Room 318 (southwest corner of Spadina Avenue and Bloor Street West)
7 PM: Open discussion session for new and prospective EAC members
7:30 PM: Information session and program (Nina Munteanu’s presentation)
9 PM: Mix-and-mingle over coffee, tea, and cake
Meetings are FREE for EAC members and students, and $10 for all other attendees.

Q&A conducted by Laura Godfrey

Why do you think self-publishing and indie publishing have grown more popular recently compared to larger, more traditional book publishers?

I think it’s because we’ve grown out of that constricted and limited model. The traditional model consisted of the following scenario: a reputable publishing house screened works by hopeful writers and determined what got published and how, based on the current market; books were typically sold to bookstores via a distributor; what the bookstore didn’t sell, it sent back to the publisher. Publishers relied on reviews from professional sites and traditional marketing to sell their top authors.

(more…)