By Roma Ilnyckyj
On September 27, Editors BC made our annual appearance at Word Vancouver, joining local literary organizations, publishers, writers, and other word lovers in a celebration of all things written.
Luckily it was sunny, although chilly, for our volunteers outside at the Editors BC booth. We handed out information about the organization and chatted to people about what editors do. Our booth was next to the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia, which provided a great opportunity to meet some people we’ve only ever communicated with through email and to strengthen our ties with like-minded organizations. I got some good ideas for promotional materials to think about for the future and picked up the adorable postcard pictured above (far right).
In the afternoon, we hosted a panel called The Many Faces of Editing: Life as an Editor, with five of our members participating: Georgina Montgomery, Eve Rickert, Eric Damer, Tiffany Sloan, and Lesley Erickson. They each talked a bit about how they got into editing and what their job entails, and then they answered questions from the audience. The aim of the talk was to show how varied editing is and let the public get a glimpse into what we actually do. The audience also had a lot of questions about certification and about whether experience or training is more important in landing an editing job.
I think these questions reflect the changing nature of our profession: more people are getting formal training in editing before they start working as editors. All of the people on the panel, who each have several years of experience, started by working in various fields and then finding their way into editing, but not on purpose. The number of questions about training and certification show that people are now approaching editing as a career more clearly than they did in the past. This is important for us to think about as an organization, because it means that our members, particularly new ones, might need something different from what we’re currently offering. For established editors, this raises new questions about how to evaluate editors when we’re hiring or looking to subcontract. All great issues to think about as our organization moves forward!
It was my first time at Word Vancouver, and I felt invigorated when I left. I love hanging out with my Editors BC people, but doing it in a context that celebrates the larger picture that we work within was especially exciting. We work closely with writers and publishers, but it’s a treat to talk about our work with the general public, because they’re ultimately the ones we work for.
Roma Ilnyckyj is an associate editor at Talk Science to Me and a lover of language, books, travel, and tai chi.