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October 18, 2017: Scary Editing Stories—Surviving and Learning from Difficult Situations

What: Editors BC monthly meeting
When: Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 7:00–9:00 pm
Where: Welch Room, 4th floor, YWCA Health + Fitness Centre, 535 Hornby Street, Vancouver | map
Cost: Free for Editors Canada members and student affiliates, $10 for non-members, and $5 for non-member students with valid ID. Registration at the door.

Unlike Halloween, editing isn’t meant to be a scary experience. But not all projects are treats. We’ve likely all experienced tricky situations when a client, employer, or author has been difficult to work with, processes have gone awry, or the project has felt like a fiasco from start to finish. In every such experience, however, there can be a lesson and an opportunity for professional growth. Continue reading

Meet the Instructors: Eve Rickert and Franklin Veaux

Franklin and Eve

By Erin Parker

On April 9, Editors BC will present Eve Rickert and Franklin Veaux and their five-hour workshop Tips and Tools for Self-Publishing and Small Presses. Eve and Franklin will guide participants through the entire book-publishing process from the perspective of a small publisher or self-publishing author and offer advice for navigating it successfully.

Eve is founder and senior writer/editor for Talk Science to Me Communications Inc. and managing editor for Thorntree Press. An Editors Canada Certified Professional Editor, she has been involved in editing and print production since 2002.

Franklin is senior designer and prepress specialist for Talk Science to Me Communications Inc. and design director for Thorntree Press. He has provided professional prepress and design services since 1992 for large clients all over the world.

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Editors BC at Word Vancouver 2015

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).

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PubPro: Creeped out

by Lara Kordic; discussion led by Eve Rickert

This discussion focused on experiences with and management of scope creep (uncontrolled changes or growth in a project’s scope) in the editorial and production process. The conversation opened with people sharing their scope creep horror stories, many of which involved hard to manage authors, missed delivery dates and budgets being set (often by someone working above the managing editor) without taking all the complexities of the project into account.

The discussion then shifted to sharing how people managed these situations and what measures they or their organization would take to prevent future instances of scope creep. One person mentioned that in her organization, each project has an action plan drawn up in an Excel spreadsheet with multiple tabs. The action plan defines everything that is going to happen in the project, and at the end there is lessons learned tab, which summarizes some of the obstacles encountered in the project for future reference. In other organizations, it was found that a thorough contract specifying the length of the project and all the tasks involved could help determine a realistic timeline and budget for the project and therefore reduce the chance of the project going off the rails.

However, it is impossible to predict everything; sometimes a client does not have a good understanding of the different levels of editing and may underestimate the amount of work involved, leading to the project falling behind schedule or going over budget. In a traditional book publishing organization, it is common for a publisher to acquire a project and set a publication date and budget without taking into account the editorial complexity of the project. In these situations, scope creep is almost a given, and the managing editor must either somehow work within the parameters provided or ask for more time or more money, which may not be granted.

One way to prevent this situation is to ask a prospective editor to do a reader’s report on the manuscript and provide an estimate for the project as soon as (or even before) the contract is signed. This third-party assessment could help the managing editor justify the need for a more realistic schedule and budget. If it is impossible to change the publication date, the managing editor must set firm boundaries for all people involved in the project to prevent deadlines from slipping. Often it is the author who holds things up by wanting to make non-essential changes towards the end of the process. In the case of a traditional publishing arrangement, the managing editor can set firm boundaries, allowing the author to make changes only up to a certain stage (often this cutoff stage is written into the contract); however, when the author is a paying client, restricting their freedom to make changes becomes more difficult, and the managing editor must exercise great diplomacy and tact when imposing such restrictions. It may even be possible (as long as you state this at the outset of the project) to charge them more money for any changes made beyond a certain stage.

Overall, scope creep seems to happen when there is a disconnect between the publisher’s expectations and the reality of the work required, or when an author/client does not understand or recognize the complexity of the work that needs to be done. In both cases, more planning and clearer communication at the outset of the project may help prevent projects from getting out of control.

PubPro: Workflow systems and digital shifts

In Short: Workflow Systems for Managing Large Projects with Multiple People

by Megan Brand; discussion led by Eve Rickert

Google Drive: Gantt chart-like workflow spreadsheet, task lists, timelines, and revision histories. Wiki-esque: great for real-time collaboration but not for version control.

Teamwork: More automated than Basecamp and can set up dependencies. Cloud-based with messaging systems and task lists, but time-tracking feature can’t do time estimates for entire projects, just tasks.

Smartsheet: Gantt-based, cloud-based, and allows for multiple contributors. Can send it out to users and assign them to different tasks. Would ideally create a snapshot showing users’ black-out periods. Free up to a certain amount of tabs.

SharePoint: Website document repository using Excel for tracking and MS Project for scheduling. Source documents populate timelines, with Gantt charts and dependency and reporting features, but it’s not user-friendly.

JIRA: Sophisticated code repository and project-management and collaboration tool. Sets up contingencies and updates continuously.

Tom’s Planner: Online Gantt charts for workload management. Fast, easy, and free (except for printing), it shows freelancers’ schedules. Doesn’t require programming like Excel but needs constant management and updating.

 

The Shift to Digital at MEC
by Lana Okerlund; presented by Merran Fahlman

In 2009, MEC (or Mountain Equipment Co-op) published four print catalogues annually and one CSR (corporate social responsibility) report biannually, updated its website monthly and sent emails to customers weekly. Fast-forward to 2014, when 100% of its published content appears in digital-only formats, including the MEC website, a WordPress blog, a journal microsite, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and emails. The company has shifted from centralized to decentralized contributions, and while still relying on a core group of two writers and two editors, as well as freelancers and subject expert contributors, the team now includes a social community manager responsible for content curation and a brand engagement manager to help ensure that all that content upholds the MEC brand.

The company’s publishing environment has changed so much that managing editor Merran Fahlman wonders if her title shouldn’t be altered as well. “I’m more like brand engagement or content strategy manager now than a managing editor,” she said.

The shift to all-digital publishing has come with challenges, Fahlman said, including potentially unbalanced content themes, difficulties with overall planning, hard-to-access tone and style standards and the need for flexible quality standards. On the last point, no one reads tweets, for example. “We edit blog posts and site content, but there’s a whole lot of content that no one reviews,” Fahlman said.

As one PubPro participant pointed out, these challenges are “all about the change from push to pull. All of these issues have to do with loss of control. The customer is ultimately shaping the information, telling us in the moment what is important.” That may be so, but if you’re a managing editor used to editorial checklists and doing all you can to put out (you hope) perfect content, and what you’re now consumed with are Google Analytics, webmaster tools and HootSuite, it’s a brave new digital publishing world indeed.

Book launch: More Than Two

Author Eve Rickert along with partner/co-author Franklin Veaux are releasing advance copies of their newest book on Friday, May 30 at 8PM at the Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir Street).

More Than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory is a comprehensive guide to the polyamorous lifestyle and explores the often-complex world of living polyamorously: the nuances, the relationship options, the myths and the expectations.

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Event audio: The Good, the Bad, and the “That Could Have Gone Better” about Subcontracting

Couldn’t attend EAC-BC’s April 17, 2013, panel discussion on subcontracting? Listen to the audio recording.

Couldn’t attend EAC-BC’s April 17, 2013, panel discussion on subcontracting? The discussion featured editors Patricia Anderson, Amelia Gilliland, and Eve Rickert, who discussed what works and what doesn’t in the subcontracting relationship, no matter which side of the contract you find yourself on. The discussion was moderated by Frances Peck, EAC-BC programs co-chair.

Listen to audio recording (EAC log-in identity and password required).

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