PubPro 2016: Event Recap and Session Summaries (Part 2)

PubPro2016_scheduleIntroduction by Iva Cheung, PubPro facilitator

The fourth annual PubPro unconference for managing editors and publication production professionals welcomed participants from across Canada and the U.S., as it was, for the first time, offered as a workshop immediately before the Editors Canada national conference. Although not as many attendees came prepared with talks, all participants came prepared to talk, many of them stepping up to lead discussions on different aspects of publication project management. PubPro volunteers Connie Behl, Ellen Michelle Koehler, and Yvonne Robertson took notes and have summarized the sessions.

How to soften even the flintiest client: A discussion led by Marlene Dong and Deborah So
Written by Ellen Michelle Koehler; copy edited by Emma Caplan

Marlene Dong and Deborah So, who both work for Langara College’s communications and marketing department, discussed how to deal with difficult or tricky clients. They referred to the snowflake effect: when everybody believes that they are special and unique.

Unfortunately, snowflakes tend to come in flurries, so an editor has to learn to manage these difficult clients efficiently. To do so, you must manage your client’s expectations, learn to say no for their benefit, and work toward collaboration and transparency with your client. When handling especially difficult snowflakes, you should use the following practices:

  • “Kill them with kindness,” just as the saying goes
  • Let your good work speak for itself
  • Highlight your expertise in the matter
  • Have face-to-face meetings whenever possible
  • Ask direct questions about the project or conflict

These practices will tell the client that you care about their project or conflict and are truly working toward their best interest.

Offshore service providers: A discussion led by Isobel Stevenson
Written by Connie Behl; copy edited by Maggie Clark

One of the issues to be aware of when dealing with offshore service providers is the way culture affects communication. Cultural miscommunication can be reduced by having someone “on the ground” who can visit the service provider in person. This initial visit can prevent problems from arising and is superior to relying solely on a business card handed out at a conference. It is also a good idea to have only one person deal with the service provider.

Because culture has a huge impact on language, using offshore editors can be problematic. For example, preposition use is often different. Culture can also affect the editing process itself. In more hierarchical cultures, such as in India, editors may be afraid to query authors with PhDs.

Using offshore service providers can offer savings on print costs; however, certain Canadian printers can be cheaper for softcover books and magazines. Participants suggested Houghton Boston and Print Ninja.

When planning a project, it is important to get a quote as early as possible, build in a lead time of four to five months, and allow time for shipping.


Ellen Michelle Koehler is a graduate of SFU in English with a focus on publishing as well as a current student of SFU’s Editing Certificate program.

Emma Caplan edits client-facing documents and takes pride in making them sales-ready and reader-friendly. She has additional experience in quality control and proofreading. For more than six years, Emma has worked in the business consulting and professional services sectors, producing documents such as reports, proposals, and project qualifications. She is currently enrolled in SFU’s Editing Certificate program, a complement to her bachelor’s degree in business management. In her free time, Emma enjoys hiking, travelling, and creating jewelry. Connect with her on LinkedIn, or browse through her shop on Etsy.

Connie Behl graduated with a business studies degree from the University of Westminster, UK. She recently completed her Professional Communications diploma at Douglas College. She has volunteered with Editors Canada for the last two years and is currently a member of the professional development committee.

Maggie Clark is a post-secondary student whose goal in life is to work as a professional editor. On her way to achieving that goal, she has recently graduated from Royal Roads University’s Bachelor of Arts in Professional Communication program. Her next step is to learn and graduate from the Editing Certificate program at SFU.  

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