PubPro: Testing, testing…1,2,3

Here’s the last of our posts relating to May 2014’s PubPro event. EAC-BC and Publishing at Simon Fraser University, along with event organizer Iva Cheung, would like to thank PubPro 2014’s generous sponsors for their support: Scrivener Communications, Friesens, Indexing Society of Canada, Leanpub, Talk Science to Me and West Coast Editorial Associates. Also, a big thank you to our volunteers Megan Brand, Lara Kordic and Lana Okerlund for writing great little reads for us all to enjoy during the summer months. If you’d like to see this event again, let the professional development co-chairs know!

 

Testing, Testing
by Lara Kordic; discussion led by Anne Brennan, co-chair of the Editors’ Association of Canada (EAC) certification steering committee

The purpose of this discussion was to share experiences related to evaluating new or prospective editors and to gauge whether there is interest in third-party testing developed by EAC. The discussion was led by Anne Brennan, co-chair of the EAC certification steering committee. Anne began the discussion by asking who in the room is responsible for hiring editors for their organization and how we evaluate editors’ skills to determine their proficiency. Most people in the room were involved in the hiring and evaluation of editors, but there was some variation in opinion on how those editors should be evaluated. Some organizations use tests developed in-house and administer them in a high-pressure environment to test both the editor’s skills and their ability to cope under stress. Others prefer face-to-face interviews over, or in addition to, written tests. Some expressed interest in a reliable third-party test, whereas others felt that no third-party test could determine who is right for their particular organization. There was some concern that a third-party-developed test would not be able to evaluate an editor’s people skills or ability to write tactful, diplomatic queries to an author. Anne Brennan pointed out that EAC certification tests do in fact evaluate people skills by looking at the tactfulness of comments/queries, and EAC is now looking into developing tests that would determine editorial proficiency (as opposed to editorial excellence, which is what the current certification tests measure). An editorial proficiency test would be valuable for organizations looking to hire junior editors who are trainable and can grow into their role.

PubPro: Retakes & workflows

Reprints, Revisions & Print on Demand
by Megan Brand; discussion led by Jo Blackmore

Reprints are straight printings, ideally featuring corrections to any errata in the first run. Publishers may use colour inserts in offset reprints or print them on the digital press as black and white photo sections on regular stock, which don’t have to be tipped in. Friesens was said to be perfecting its digital colour-printing technology. Economies of scale for offset reprints kick in at five hundred units, whereas it’s cheaper to print lower runs digitally. According to Library and Archives Canada guidelines, “a work is considered to be a ‘new’ publication if there is a relevant edition statement, if there has been a change in title or a change of publisher, or if additional information appears in the work.” Therefore, they may require a whole new edit, proofreading and index. Commonly used print on demand (POD) and fulfillment providers include Lightning Source (Ingram), which was thought to be user unfriendly; BookMobile (Itasca), with good customer service; and CreateSpace (Amazon), which offers higher revenue per unit.

 

The Flying Narwhal: Single-Source Workflows for Small Magazine Publishers
by Lana Okerlund; presented by Shed Simas

With tongue in cheek, Master of Publishing (MPub) student Shed Simas pitched his presentation to PubPro participants by explaining the origin of his project’s name, The Flying Narwhal: “a hybrid that’s part real, part magic, part myth”—not unlike the project’s vision of single-source multi-platform publishing.

“The Flying Narwhal puts a bunch of components together in a way that is affordable, robust and accessible for multiple people in multiple locations,” Simas said. In essence, the system he and fellow MPub collaborators Kaitlyn Till and Velma Larkai designed would allow small magazine publishers to accept submissions from contributors, access the system from multiple computers, share files between staff and authors for collaboration on edits and revisions and manage version control. Once editorial is complete, documents flow into a hub, from which they can be output into multiple platforms: InDesign for print, a PDF digital edition, Padify for a digital magazine and a WordPress website.

With a rather dizzying list of other technologies involved in the solution—Submittable, Google Drive, Dropbox, cloudHQ, Neutron Drive and pandoc—the presentation revealed a truism in publishing (and editing) today: it’s an increasingly high-tech business. While not all publication professionals will feel comfortable with all the moving parts behind the scenes, more and more of us may soon be users of new solutions like The Flying Narwhal to do our everyday jobs.