Meet the Instructor: Ruth Wilson

Interview by Erin Parker; copy edited by Meagan Kus

RWilson_2016-06On Saturday, September 17, Editors BC will present Ruth Wilson and her full-day workshop Advanced Proofreading, which teaches participants how to take their proofreading skills to the next level, navigating the “process, policies, and even politics” of a manuscript with ease.

Erin Parker, co-chair of Editors BC’s professional development committee, recently picked Ruth’s brain about the wonderful world of proofreading, the work she’s done on Editors Canada’s certification committee, and the books she took on vacation this summer.

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Book Review: Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business

Written by Amy Haagsma; copy edited by Meagan Kus

Review of “Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business” by Louise Harnby, in association with The Publishing Training Centre.

Louise Harnby Marketing

Last week we reviewed Louise Harnby’s book Business Planning for Editorial Freelancers, a how-to guide for preparing a business plan. Harnby included a lot of great information on marketing, but she has also covered the topic in more detail in her more recent book, Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business.

Harnby touts this as “a book for editorial business owners, by an editorial business owner.” She promises that it is not a marketing textbook and that she’s done her best to avoid using jargon; rather, she’s tried to give editorial professionals real advice in the same manner she would in a face-to-face conversation.

Even the introduction is packed full of useful information, and the first item Harnby tackles is dispelling the notion that editors and proofreaders are not marketers. Everyone, she says, is a marketer, and having a marketing strategy is essential. After you’ve invested time and money in setting up your business, marketing is the next step to help you find clients and sell your services. Being good at what you do is not enough; you need to be found in order to be successful. Once you have built up your client base, regular marketing helps you stay in the minds of your clients.

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Event review: Advanced Proofreading with Ruth Wilson

Written by Roma Ilnyckyj; copy edited by Karen Marshall

Review of seminar Advanced Proofreading with Ruth Wilson (offered by EAC-BC on September 20, 2014)

Ruth Wilson’s advanced proofreading workshop was exactly what I had expected: fun, loaded with information, and the quickest six hours you could hope for when you’re indoors and just steps from the Seawall on a sunny late-September day (see photo). As an editor who is not quite a beginner but also not sitting on years of experience, I found this workshop a perfect match for my needs. Although you can’t become an advanced proofreader in one day, this seminar taught me three things that I can actively work on in my quest to become one.

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Event review: #LFMF

Couldn’t attend EAC-BC’s #LFMF event? Don’t worry. Programs co-chair Frances Peck has compiled a list of the “editing lessons learned”—editors’ true confessions, if you will—that were shared that evening.

At EAC-BC’s first meeting of the season (on September 19, 2012), about 35 of us gathered at the YWCA in Vancouver to drink wine, nibble cheese, catch up with fellow editors, and confess our failures. Humility was the watchword of the evening as we tweeted editing lessons we’ve learned the hard way (using the hashtag LFMF, learn from my fail) or described our embarrassing moments to the group.

See slide show.

The “winning” #LFMF lesson

The (unofficial) winner, for its black humour and high “uh-oh” factor:

Always turn off autocorrect. My instructor’s last name, Vigna, was autocorrected to vagina without my noticing.

More #LFMF lessons

The various lessons—about the importance of proofreading, the need for careful estimating, the pitfalls of technology, and more—were too valuable to keep to ourselves, so we’re sharing them with WCE readers. A big thank you to those who laid bare their biggest gaffes so that others needn’t repeat them.

“Materiel” isn’t always a misspelling. Learned the hard way from a military client.

Always review the document, or a good sample of it, before estimating. What’s described as an easy edit may really be a nightmare.

Proofread every invoice. I once tweaked my template and got my postal code wrong! Delayed payment, red face.

Say yes to every project and you’ll sacrifice quality. I look back on work from hectic times and know it wasn’t my best. Ouch.

If you’re sending an attachment, attach it BEFORE you write the email and forget to do it.

Before sending a style sheet to the client, don’t forget to give it one last A-to-Z sort.

Proofread your invoice template. There is no such thing as the GSH tax.

Mix estimate with educate for big jobs. Itemize the tasks you’ll do at each stage. Helps client appreciate the value for the $$ estimate.

Make sure all comments to self are deleted from final edit. Author should never see “Boring!” or “Gibberish.”

Always estimate based on word count—never on page count.

I edited a dissertation in LaTeX. When the (now) prof gave me the published copy (in person), I saw I’d edited no footnotes.

Your awesome new time-tracking software doesn’t do much good if you don’t press the “start” button.

Sent out a resumé several times mentioning articles I had published in a “newpaper.” Applying for copy-editing jobs.

When signing off with “Regards” in a memo to an author, keep in mind that the G and T keys are in close proximity.

See slide show.


EVENT LISTINGS: October 2012

Do you have an event planned (or know of one) that you’d like to appear in these listings? Send us the details.

October 13, 2012: International Plain Language Day

Are you a Plain Language advocate? Mark your calendar for October 13, 2012, the date of the International Plain Language Day virtual conference. Several Canadian-based organizations are planning online events to mark the day. See online program.

  • Location: online


October 16–21, 2012: The Vancouver Writers Fest

This year marks the 25th anniversary of The Vancouver Writers Fest, a great reason to purchase tickets to attend readings by your favourite local, national, or international authors. As always, Writers Fest needs volunteers to help stage the six-day festival. If you can help, fill out this online registration form.


October 17, 2012: EAC-BC meeting: What Editors Need to Know about ebooks

What goes into making an ebook, and what do editors need to know about it? Find out at EAC-BC’s October 2012 meeting.

At the meeting, speaker Lara Smith will review different ebook formats and the kinds of content best suited to each, discuss different conversion methods, and compare in-house and conversion-service workflows.

She will also:

  • review a typical conversion and explain what kind of work is required after export, particularly to accommodate various e-reading devices,
  • review the inside of an EPUB file and metadata requirements,
  • discuss digital rights management options,
  • discuss how deciding to produce an ebook can affect the editing process.

About the speaker: Lara Smith is the print and digital coordinator at D&M Publishers, where she focuses on production for print-on-demand and ebook conversions. She is fluent in traditional and digital printing technologies, passionate about workflow, and amazed at how fast the digital world is evolving.

  • Time: 19h00–21h00
  • Cost: free for EAC members; $10 for non-members; $5 for students with valid ID
  • Location: YWCA on Hornby, 535 Hornby Street, Welch Room, 4th floor, Vancouver
  • Registration: at the door


October 19, 2012: Planet Earth Poetry Reading Series

Love poetry? Live in Victoria? Check out one of the Planet Earth Poetry readings, held each Friday, September through May. The readings are billed as a “launching pad for the energies of writers and poets established and not” and as a place where “all manner of poets and writers are welcome; a place for excellence, innovation, collaboration, diverse projects and experiments.”


October 19–21, 2012: Surrey International Writers’ Conference

The Surrey International Writers’ Conference attracts authors, editors, and agents from across North America. Once again, EAC-BC will be providing editors for the popular editor/agent/producer interviews; if you’d like to be considered, please contact PR chair Jessica Lowdon.


October 20, 2012: PEAVI seminar: Advanced Proofreading

This exercise-based seminar, hosted by the Professional Editors Association of Vancouver Island, will be helpful to you if you wish to advance your proofreading skills, prepare for job advancement, or study for EAC’s proofreading certification test this fall.

Course material will be supplied, but you should bring a current dictionary, pencils and pens, a calculator, and a ruler or other measure that you now use on the job.

This seminar will focus on beyond-the-basics proofreading skills, offering you the opportunity to examine excerpts from complex documents and to learn how to fine-tune your proofreading eye to catch every error. With documents ranging from recipes to journal articles, you will be challenged to use your judgment to weigh the pros and cons of making changes, querying authors, or making no changes at all.

Instructor Ruth Wilson will spend time discussing the process a proofreader must follow when part of a larger production team. She will also provide examples of process checklists from publishers and organizations.

About the instructor: Ruth Wilson has more than 25 years’ experience editing and proofreading trade books, professional journals, association publications, and corporate materials. She worked for many years with Vancouver book publisher Self-Counsel Press, but in 1997 she decided to spread her wings as an independent consultant. She is now a partner in West Coast Editorial Associates.

Ruth is also a respected instructor in the Writing and Communications Program and the Summer Publishing Workshops at Simon Fraser University, where she teaches proofreading, editing, and Plain Language skills. She has also served on several national committees of the Editors’ Association of Canada. In 2011 she was honoured as a recipient of EAC’s President’s Award for Volunteer Service.


October 26, 2012: Planet Earth Poetry Reading Series

Love poetry? Live in Victoria? Check out one of the Planet Earth Poetry readings, held each Friday, September through May. The readings are billed as a “launching pad for the energies of writers and poets established and not” and as a place where “all manner of poets and writers are welcome; a place for excellence, innovation, collaboration, diverse projects and experiments.”


October 27, 2012: EAC-BC seminar: Structural + Stylistic = Substantive Editing

Substantive editing brings order to chaos and breathes life into moribund manuscripts. By reorganizing and revising, you can help authors reach their readers effectively. But facing a disorganized, incomplete, or overstuffed manuscript can be daunting.

In this seminar, instructor Yvonne Van Ruskenveld will discuss techniques for assessing non-fiction manuscripts, identifying problem areas, creating solutions, and working with authors. Whether you edit newsletter articles or full-length books, you will learn strategies and techniques that can enhance your substantive editing skills.

Here’s what people who attended this seminar in March 2012 had to say:

  • “Yvonne was a fantastic speaker—very practical with a great sense of humour.”
  • “Well organized, well paced, offered opportunities to practice and to ask questions.”
  • “Felt confident I was getting solid info.”
  • “A nice mix of discussion, lecture, and hands-on material.”

About the instructor: Yvonne is an experienced editor and writer who enjoys transforming sprawling, jumbled manuscripts into interesting, readable publications. She has worked both as a freelancer and as managing editor for an educational publisher. Her clients have included publishers large and small, other businesses, governments, a commission of inquiry, non-governmental organizations, and academics. She has worked on manuals, reports, brochures, websites, trade books, and textbooks. Yvonne is a partner in West Coast Editorial Associates.

  • Time: 9h00–16h00
  • Cost: $120 for EAC members who register by October 5, 2012 (after: $140); $180 for non-members who register by October 5, 2012 (after: $200)
  • Location: SFU Vancouver, 515 West Hastings Street, 2925 Hemlock Printers seminar room, Vancouver
  • Registration