Month: October 2015

Meet the Instructor–Marketing for Freelance Editors

Second picture of Adrienne Montgomery

Adrienne Montgomerie is a certified copy editor and an educational editor with more than 130 titles and 18 years under her belt–mostly high school science textbooks and all of the support materials that go with them. She is also an experienced instructor, computer support tech, and course designer. In fact, she has produced handouts, lesson plans, activities, teacher guides, course notes, and worksheets for a staggering range of topics. You will find her in person at Editors Canada’s Kingston twig, or online as scieditor teaching software for editing as well as writing at Copyediting.com and her Right Angels and Polo Bears adventures in writing blog.

Marketing for Freelance Editors (Tuesday, November 10) will address the following topics: networking, cold “calling,” guerilla marketing, social media and traditional marketing products and methods. You will leave this half-day seminar with an idea of how to market to your clients, whether they are publishers, businesses, or authors. In your hand will be the beginning of your marketing plan. To sign up, go to https://www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=29&EID=20352. Registration closes on November 4, 2015.

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To chair or not to chair by Gael Spivak

To chair or not to chair

What’s it like co-chairing an Editors Canada conference committee? Well, it depends.

I’ve done it twice. Once, by design. The second time, totally by accident.

The first time was for the 2012 conference in Ottawa. The national executive council approved Christine LeBlanc as the chair and she then asked me to be her co-chair. We’d worked well together on the branch executive and I thought it would be fun. It was (mostly!). A lot of work but really fun.

And I learned so much. I learned

  • how to supervise a team (we had about 15 core volunteers),
  • how to use social media to market,
  • how to run a big event, and
  • how to split tasks with a co-leader.

All of those are transferable skills that I took back to my workplace. I’d just been laid off in the big sweep of government cuts, so I knew I’d be looking for work once the conference was over.

I went on an assignment in another branch at my workplace. After a few months, my new boss said something about my volunteering (on the conference and on the national executive council). He commented that with all my skills, and all the things I’d learned in my volunteer work with Editors Canada, there was no doubt they’d find a place for me. That really struck me, that he noticed that (it wasn’t something I talked about a lot but he’d seen my resumé). And they did. I got hired back on, in another job. And I was told that my volunteer work contributed to me getting the job.

The second conference I co-chaired, the international one that happened in June of this year, I did not intend to be so involved in. Yes, I am the director of training and development but I figured that would be it. And with Greg Ioannou chairing, there would not be much for me to contribute (except cajoling him to submit chair reports). Then he asked me if I’d help him by providing some input and advice, and maybe working a little bit on getting speakers.

After I agreed to that, this conference (to some unusual circumstances) ended up being almost entirely volunteer run (instead of the usual volunteer–office division of tasks). And I got completely drawn in to helping.

It was a ton of work but we had such a fabulous team (and we never did really settle on if I was truly the co-chair or if we actually had five co-chairs). And I got to be part of something brand new and huge: the first ever international editing conference, a pretty cool thing to get to work on.

Things I learned about this time around included

  • figuring out how to effectively work with someone whose style is utterly different from my own (and everyone else’s on the team),
  • learning how to delegate with no strings but still keep a good grasp of the overall picture, and
  • creating mini-communities of editors from around the world, to talk about how to run editing associations.

I also learned that there is more than one way to run a conference and both ways are right. There often is not one right way to do something.

Those are also things I can take back to my workplace. In fact, the people at my work who got really excited about the last point (creating international groups) are two executives. They immediately understood the significance of that kind of experience, as a volunteer but also for government work.

Running a conference is a big deal. It’s a lot of work. But it’s also a lot of fun, and you learn so very much. Co-chairing these conferences were a big investment of my time but the return on my investment was pretty big.

Call for volunteers

The Ottawa-Gatineau branch of Editors Canada is hosting the Annual Conference for 2017, and we are looking for volunteers for the position of co-chairs. We will need two (or more) co-chairs. According to Appendix II of the Editors’ Association of Canada Conference Handbook (2015), the conference co-chairs have the following responsibilities*:

Conference co-chairs

  • Two (or more) co-chairs.
  • Co-chair weekly teleconferences with conference committee and national office staff; meetings take about an hour.
  • Establish conference theme (approved by NEC) and steer conference direction.
  • Recruit, hire and manage committee members.
  • Manage work of committee to meet deadlines; prepare task lists or other tracking methods.
  • Recruit advisory group (optional); ask advisory group for input on theme, speaker line-up, marketing.
  •   Review and approve all communications.
  • Source, evaluate and recommend conference venues (NOTE: all agreements, quotes, contracts must be approved and signed by the executive director).
  • Facilitate branch/ twig involvement in conference. Your branch or twig will organize and promote pre-conference workshops, promote conference to branch members, host welcome reception, share connections to potential speakers, etc.
  •   Source and coordinate sponsorships; keep track of amounts committed, contact info and mailing addresses (sponsor thank you letters prepared and sent by the office).
  • Source and coordinate donations, samples and giveaways, such as items for conference bags; keep track of items committed and received, including contact info and mailing addresses (donor thank you letters prepared and sent by the office).
  • Find opportunities for ongoing informal and formal volunteer recognition.
  • MC the Awards Banquet (optional); main role as MC is to introduce award presenters.
  • Write thank-you notes to conference committee volunteers after conference.

If you believe  you can help organize our conference, please contact  Director_Training@editors.ca. We look forward to hearing from you.

*Reproduced with permission from Editors Canada

Staying organized, swapping books by Tom Vradenburg

 Some are born organized; the rest of us have to adopt or invent tools and tricks to get there and stay there.

If whole stores can be devoted to this vital art, so too can a speaker night.

Program chair Tom Vradenburg will lead this month’s program, but the floor will also be open to others wishing to show and tell how they keep entropy at bay.

Tom will show’n’tell file-naming conventions that have saved time and sanity for two teams he has managed: a book project and an all-purpose communications shop.

This month, he’s working on a major reorganization of a thousand-page intranet site, and has chosen as his go-to tool…Microsoft Excel.

Everyone is invited to bring along or explain their favourite tools and tricks. Anyone for OneNote?

If you come out on Wednesday, do bring a reference book or two you can live without that someone else might find helpful, and swap it for something new-to-you.

When: Wednesday, October 21, 6:30 pm

Where: Good Companions Seniors Centre, 670 Albert Street (at Empress)

Free for members, $10 for non-members

Parking: Construction crews are continuing to work on water mains at the corner of Albert Street and Empress Avenue, and will be starting to work directly on Empress Avenue in coming weeks, forcing the closure of that street. However, the parking lot, just off Empress and behind the Centre, will still be accessible.

The National Capital Region branch has a new name: Editors Ottawa–Gatineau by Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr

With our national association changing its brand name from Editors’ Association of Canada to Editors Canada this summer, the time was right for the NCR branch to change its name as well. The impetus behind the change, from the branch executive’s point of view, was to make our seminars—far and away our biggest source of revenue—easier to find online since attendance had been dropping due to increased competition. This search engine optimization (SEO) is the same reason that the history magazine The Beaver changed its name to Canada’s History (well, they had other issues as well…). The point is, the Internet doesn’t do subtle, it doesn’t do abstruse, it doesn’t do equivocal. It does precise. And no one searches for “National Capital Region” when they want to find an editing seminar in Ottawa or Gatineau.

In May the branch executive consulted in person with members and found general support for a name change. Then we launched an online discussion to include people who had not been at the May meeting. In September we polled the membership, Survey Monkey fashion, and got a great voter turnout. From our 177 members, we received 80 responses—a 45% response rate that would be the envy of any survey company. The choices for a new name were Ottawa, Ottawa–Gatineau, and Eastern Ontario–Western Quebec. Of those who responded, 77% agreed that the branch name should be changed and 76% agreed that the new name should be Ottawa–Gatineau. Paired with the national rebranding, the new name of our branch is now Editors Ottawa–Gatineau.

A couple of members who did not support the name change were concerned that the rebranding would cost money, but since we are only rebranding once—both national and branch at the same time—it will not cost us any extra.

We also asked members why they supported the name change. The response was evenly split (40%/40%) between two main reasons:

  1. Because “National Capital Region” is understood only by some people
  2. To improve search engine results when we advertise seminars

Some respondents who supported the name change also sent comments:

  • It’s shorter. As an editor (and a marketer), brevity and punchiness are always my main concerns. Also, not everyone understands “NCR.”
  • To be specific and clear.
  • To be more inclusive but also to be realistic about where most of the branch’s activities occur. It gives an idea of the central “broadcast” point of the branch.
  • Because it lends itself to an unhelpful acronym.

Over the next few weeks, you will see the new brand roll out. Our branch’s Executive Director, Maureen Moyes, is all ready to go with the new branding materials sent by the national association, into which we will plug our new shorter, punchier name.

EAC-NCR Seminars: An Essential Tool By Jean Rath

When I was a high school student, I earned good marks in History and English; I barely escaped grade 10 Chemistry, but at least I could construct an essay to satisfy my teachers. In Quebec in the 70s, high school (and all its required sciences) ended when I was 16 and I gratefully immersed myself in CEGEP courses I could easily handle: more History and English. My Bachelor of Arts in University was a breeze. I didn’t have any vision for what to do with it, but it was fun. Unbeknownst to me, it was actually a preparation for a far-future occupation.

During my years as an at-home mom, I somehow gained a reputation among my friends of being good with words. Over the years, a few of them handed me their manuscripts to look at, and I found that I enjoyed doing that. Dabbling in all that text made me salivate; I wanted more.

Meanwhile, outside my dreamland of academia and novice editing, the world of serious, professional editing was unfolding: spaces after periods were lost, sentence adverbs fell in and out of favour, the mysterious Oxford comma came into common usage, and, most importantly, the Editors’ Association of

Canada was founded. It was ready and waiting for me in 2012, the year that my at-home-mom/homeschooling tasks eased up enough for me to look into the future. The story goes that the founders of the association, when deciding on the group’s name, argued for half an hour about the apostrophe in “Editors’.” Such arguments were still going on decades later when I joined the association: I knew I was in the right place when a discussion broke out on the listserv regarding the use of the hyphen in Spider-man.

By 2012, my novice editing had gone from dabble to serious and I needed training. The NCR branch seminars were easy to find and I was soon enjoying Moira White’s take on eight-step editing. The seminar was great; I wanted more. I attended seven seminars over the next two years. Every single one has turned out to be useful.

That same year, the EAC conference was in Ottawa and I had the opportunity to enjoy many more good seminars, one after another. Every session I attended was revelatory, but I was especially struck by Elizabeth d’Anjou’s advice in her seminar, “Freelance Editing: The Top 10 Things I Wish I’d Known.” Her last point was especially notable: “I’m not an editor; I’m someone who runs a freelance editing business.” I realized then that if I was seriously going to be a copy editor, I was going to have to run it as a business. That idea took some getting used to: in all my years submerged in history and literature I never once pictured myself as a business woman……and so I signed up for Christine LeBlanc’s “Starting a Freelance Career.”

The benefits of NCR seminars go on and on.

Meet the Instructor – Plain Language: Building Results

Graham Young

Graham Young is an independent writer, trainer and communications consultant with more than 30 years’ experience helping business and government clients communicate at work. It is not an understatement to say that he can compose anything. He writes web content, annual reports, brochures, promotional flyers, data sheets, case studies, white papers, sales letters, advertorials, magazine and newsletter articles, news releases and speeches. Since 2000, he has conducted more than 500 writing and presentation-skills seminars and taught some 6,000 participants from the public, private, and non-profit sectors how to write and speak effectively.

The most powerful language is also the simplest. When each word has a clear meaning and purpose, readers can move easily through a text and focus on its message. Unfortunately, much writing today is needlessly bureaucratic and difficult to read. The challenges include poor organization, wordiness, jargon and poor page design. Plain Language: Building Results will help you overcome these pitfalls and create documents that say what they mean—efficiently. Throughout the day, individual and group exercises will give you a chance to apply plain language to real-life passages. Whether you’re a seasoned editor looking to affirm your approach or a newcomer eager to jumpstart your career, Plain Language: Building Results will help you achieve your writing goals.

To sign up, go to https://www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=29&EID=20352. Registration closes on October 23, 2015.