Listed alphabetically by presenter
Mentoring for editors grows up and out!
Elizabeth Manning Murphy with Ted Briggs
Since this time two years ago, the Canberra Society of Editors’ (CSE) mentoring program has gone across state borders, has been joined now by every state in Australia, and has attracted international interest.
We will tell you where we started, how the program moved gradually across Australia, and what’s different about our program compared with others around the world. We will tell you how the program runs, what it costs and where the money goes, who to get in touch with if you are interested, as a mentor or as a mentee, and how it works—thanks to state coordinators everywhere and great support from within the CSE committee and when necessary from IPEd.
Mentoring is personally rewarding for both mentor and mentee, and there is no editing-related topic that is off-limits for a mentee to request mentoring in. It is confidential, with help at every stage—free pre-mentoring training workshops for mentors, videos for showing at local general meetings of editors, guidance notes for everybody, careful matching of mentorship pairs.
What of the future? We will tell you how we have already stepped outside Australian borders. We plan webinars to provide information about the program. And we will look at a future in a new order of editing in Australia. We welcome interest from our partners in the publication world—indexers, designers, publishers and printers—while our needs are different, we can learn from each other.
The future for the National Mentoring Program for Editors is looking bright.
Elizabeth Manning Murphy, DE, is a national coordinator of the National Mentoring Program for Editors. She is an honorary life member of the Canberra Society of Editors and a member of both the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, UK and the Professional Editors’ Group, South Africa. Recent books Effective writing: plain English at work (2nd edition) and Working words, are on sale at conference discounts. Watch for her workshop ‘Grammar in a nutshell’. More on her website: emwords.wordpress.com.
Ted Briggs, AE, is an honorary life member of the Canberra Society of Editors, has been an IPEd councillor, and is currently chair of the Accreditation Board and a joint national coordinator of the IPEd mentoring program. Ted has worked as an editor and technical writer for the past 15 years but also dabbles in photography and video production. He works for the Department of Defence as a senior editor, technical writer and multimedia specialist.
The role of good communication at CEO/Board level: how proper editing and writing skills are crucial to effective communication and decision-making
Dr Ann-Maree Moodie
A board of directors is an important part of the organisational structure. There are many different types of boards. Some boards govern the largest listed companies; others provide oversight for the smallest of not-for-profit organisations.
While each board may have a different purpose, all boards are bound by a common dilemma: ensuring that the information received from the management team is accurate, timely, clear, concise, well argued and well written.
Many people in the company write the board papers that contribute to the ‘board pack’—the information which goes to the board and forms the foundation of the board’s decision-making. But writing, research and editing skills are not always the forte of a senior executive.
In this presentation, Dr Moodie will explain why board papers are an essential part of good governance, the common problems encountered by board paper writers, and the ways boards, executive teams and company secretaries can help.
Dr Ann-Maree Moodie, FAICD FGIA, is managing director of The Boardroom Consulting Group where she conducts board performance reviews and runs communication workshops with boards and senior executive teams. Dr Moodie received her PhD from Macquarie University for her research on independence and conformity in boardroom decision-making. Dr Moodie also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism and Japanese), a Graduate Diploma of Applied Corporate Governance, a Company Directors Course Diploma, and a Graduate Certificate of Editing and Electronic Publishing.
Sack that client: why you need to look after you
If you’re a freelancer, you are the business, so it’s important to look after yourself.
Many of us think outside of the business when we think of looking after ourselves. We think about our diet, exercise, or taking a day off to ‘breathe’. But it’s important to also think about our health inside the business—and our clients can affect our health quite dramatically.
In short, the customer is not always right. So you need to know how and when to identify a customer who is ‘wrong’. And at a time when workplace bullying is such a big issue, we also need to realise that, as freelancers, we can be bullied, too. Or become the target of inappropriate behaviours.
Sometimes it’s just a simple matter of communicating our expectations to the client so that they behave more respectfully towards us. But at other times we need to take harsher action. The trick is to do it without making the situation worse!
As prevention is always better than cure, Jenny will talk about steps you can take to minimise the risk of getting stuck with that client, and then move onto strategies you may need to consider when you really, really need to ‘sack that client’.
Jenny Mosher, AE, is a self publishing facilitator, author and business operator. Located in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Jenny makes the most of the internet to run her business and enjoys employing new technologies to make life easier. Under her MoshPit Publishing umbrella, she helps people publish their works via narratorINTERNATIONAL and IndieMosh, and helps them market their books via One Thousand Words Plus. One day she hopes to sleep in.
Editing in the world of ebook applications
Despite the potential of media-rich experiments to cross the boundaries between books, apps, games and the web, successful examples of literary content published across several platforms are scarce. The production of digital media such as apps is expensive and, despite the hype, the market for them remains limited. Not surprisingly, the publishers focus on ‘tradigital’ books, with linear content refined using traditional editing practices and the design driven by the paradigm of printed page.
Nevertheless, the affordances allowed by digital media and hardware are too tempting to ignore and I have been particularly interested in understanding how works of nonfiction can be transformed into well-designed and successful apps. With the ability to include videos, animations, rotations, games and other forms of interactivity, and the lack of conventions about what an app should do and look like, it can be easy to focus on ‘special effects’. But the principles of good app design rely on ensuring that the available technology is used to solve a specific problem in a clear, intuitive and purposeful way.
Following a brief overview of app design elements, I am going to focus on the processes underpinning the development of apps, the importance of collaboration, and the role of editors and editing in the production of apps. This presentation is based on insights gained from a research project
supported by an Editorial Professional Development grant from the Australia Council for the Arts.
Agata Mrva-Montoya has worked at Sydney University Press since 2008 in a role combining editing, project management and social media. She has been a member of the Society of Editors (NSW) since 2008, and a committee member and professional development coordinator since 2012. Agata is interested in the impact of new technologies on scholarly publishing, editing and books in general. She can be found on Twitter as @agatamontoya.
The writers’ editor
Abigail Nathan and Sarah JH Fletcher
Authors now have more publishing options, but support can be hard for them to find—especially when they are starting out. Often it is up to a freelance editor to educate writers about the writing process as well as the demands and expectations of publishing.
The Writers’ Editor is a research project that Abigail Nathan undertook in 2014 with the support of the Australia Council for the Arts. The aim was to explore how authors in different genres and fields create and develop their work; their writing and publishing challenges; and what they need (and want) from editors in a changing publishing landscape. The project’s ultimate goal is to develop more effective ways for editors to support authors on their own terms.
Abigail is freelance; Sarah works both in-house and independently. They will discuss the findings of the Writers’ Editor project in light of the different approaches they use when working with authors. They will also consider the different concerns of new writers working towards self-publishing versus authors who are writing with the support of a publishing house. For editors, understanding writers’ techniques, strategies and angles helps them speak to writers in their own language and can make the work, and the writer/editor relationship, more effective and satisfying.
Abigail Nathan is a freelance editor who has run Bothersome Words Editing & Writing Services for over 10 years. She has edited for Australian trade publishers, including HarperCollins, Penguin Random House and Hachette, as well as publishers in the United Kingdom and United States. She also works regularly with emerging and self-publishing writers—editing, mentoring and helping them to develop their work. She can be found online as @BothersomeWords and blogs at http://www.bothersomewords.com/blog.
Editing within and for markup languages
Markup languages such as XML, XHTML and HTML are an integral part of today’s publishing landscape from romance ebooks, trade fiction and nonfiction, to textbooks, journals, government reports and business websites. Editors working directly within digital formats often need to access the underlying code. Editors who use editorial markup tools that hide the code or on content intended for markup by others need to understand the context in which they work.
Many editors feel daunted by code and believe they can leave ‘all that technical stuff’ to the geeks. However, a good working knowledge of markup language is an essential skill for today’s editors. Fortunately, for people whose professional skills include an understanding of structure, syntax and obsessive attention to detail, learning markup is simple and the skills are transferable.
This paper provides an introduction to markup languages: how, where and why markup languages are used in publishing; some key concepts and terminology; how to navigate the code when required; and editing tools, including Microsoft Word. Even if the only
editing software an editor uses is Word, editors will learn how to use it more effectively and provide clean files ready to use in production systems for print and digital formats.
Dr Linda Nix, BA Hons (English) PhD (History) Grad Dip Computing, is a professional editor with 20 years’ industry experience in editing and production for print and digital formats, including hands-on experience with a range of markup languages and schemas. Her editing expertise includes business, law, finance and accounting publications, trade nonfiction and literary fiction. She has run her freelance business Golden Orb Creative since mid-2010 and publishing imprint Lacuna since late 2012.
Australian style: directions 2015
Pam Peters and Adam Smith
In the second decade of C21, where is Australian style heading? It was articulated in successive editions of the Australian Government Style Manual until 2002, but in the absence of a follow-up edition, how consistent are Australian style practices now?
What we might expect to see is the greater impact of global communication factors on Australian English than before, and symptoms of destabilisation in the local context from the reduced dominance of Australian print newspapers and takeovers of independent publishers by overseas conglomerates. The ever-increasing role of the internet and wireless communication is likely to impact on Australian style, though not—as some might fear—in entrenching text-message TLAs and FLAs as the norm. Rather we would expect greater influence from the big communicators on the web, e.g. Wikipedia and the BBC, as well as the diversifying effects of the countless bloggers and advertisers who also use the web. This paper will present research findings on points of Australian style from several sources including Australian Style surveys, and recent, very large Australian, British and American corpora of internet-based language, to see whether Australian writing remains distinct from both, or is increasingly convergent with them.
Pam Peters is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and an emeritus professor of Macquarie University. She was director of the university’s Dictionary Research Centre (2001–2007), a member of the Editorial Committee of Macquarie Dictionary (1986—2006), and authored The Cambridge guide to english usage (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and The Cambridge guide to Australian English usage (Cambridge University Press, 2007). Her research continues in lexicography, terminography, and Australian and international English.
Adam Smith is convenor of the Graduate Certificate of Editing and Electronic Publishing at Macquarie University. He has performed a variety of roles as an editor, and is managing editor of the undergraduate research journal Macquarie Matrix, as well as executive editor of Australian Style. He was a researcher and writer on the team that produced the 6th edition of the Style manual for authors, editors and printers (Wiley, 2002).
Thinking about thinking
Writing and editing are biologically unnatural. Humans did not evolve to write or edit, and written work does not allow for body language, aural tone, smell, eye contact or any other form of physical contact. It is an abstract mind-to-mind connection, and we need to understand how our minds work if we are to make the most of the written opportunity.
Recent developments in neuroscience provide new insights into how writers might better connect with the minds of their readers. The research suggests your readers are not as smart as they think they are, and that they are vulnerable to irrational thoughts and behaviours. Advertisers have intuitively exploited these irrationalities for decades. Perhaps it is time for the mainstream writing and editing community to do the same.
This presentation explores ideas about how people think and process information that have important implications for writers, editors and indexers. Most people don’t realise how little control they have over the way they think, but an awareness of this can assist you in getting a message to your audience.
We all understand that no amount of editing and indexing will rescue writing that does not have a meaningful connection to its reader. By ‘thinking about thinking’ writers, editors and indexers are more likely to establish that connection. This presentation is a blend of workplace lessons learned over many years and some backyard neuroscience for writers, editors and indexers.
Paul Petersen is particularly unqualified to talk about writing, editing and neuroscience. As a former officer in the Australian Army, he brings a combat operations background to the art of writing. As part of Petersen Ink, Paul now works closely with workplace writers and editors, and facilitates training on workplace behaviour, communications and problem solving. He is unpublished and unaccredited but that won’t stop him talking about this very interesting topic.
Panel: Valuing our professions
Belinda Pollard, guest panellist
The vexed topic of knowing what to charge a client can haunt even the most experienced of editors and indexers. How can we develop an accurate sense of our own commercial worth, and convert that into realistic hourly or per-project rates? And then, how can we persuade clients to pay it? Our panel of experienced freelance and contract editors and indexers will reveal their personal discoveries in this important area.
Belinda Pollard is a publishing consultant, book editor and blogger at www.smallbluedog.com. Since going freelance in the late 1990s, she has made nearly every mistake there is to make in setting professional fees, and is keen to save others from the same pain. An award-winning former journalist, she recently self-published her debut novel Poison Bay, a thriller set in the wilds of New Zealand, which won a Varuna Publisher Fellowship in 2011. Belinda lives in Brisbane, where she undertakes ball-throwing duties for a dog named Rufus, and turns on the air-conditioning so she can dream of snow …
Evaluating indexes—a brief overview for editors and indexers
Freelance indexers work on assignments for editors, authors, graphic designers, publishers and other organisations. This presentation is a brief guide on what indexers need to know up-front about indexing assignments, and suggests techniques for evaluating indexes. For editors commissioning an index or receiving an index that has been commissioned by the author, publisher or designer, it offers suggestions on how to assess the quality of an index and its compliance with indexing standards and conventions. Indexers too can use these techniques to assess their own work. The presentation addresses the questions ‘What are the characteristics of a good index?’ and ‘How can I tell if the indexer has done a competent job?’.
Sherrey Quinn is an information consultant and freelance indexer with expertise in indexing most subjects and formats. Sherrey began her indexing career in the 1970s in libraries, indexing for online databases and print indexes. In parallel with this she became proficient in the application and development of controlled vocabularies for indexing, and in online information retrieval. Later Sherrey began back-of-book indexing and she has been an Accredited Indexer since 1992. She has extensive experience in managing indexing, library and information projects. Sherrey is an active member of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA); she has been a member of ANZSI since 1992; a member/office-bearer of the ACT Region Branch Committee since 2005; and chair, ANZSI Accreditation Committee since 2010. Sherrey is a director of Libraries Alive! Pty Ltd and founder of the indexing business Information in Order.
Information design—a fresh approach to substantive editing that is more than just words and more than just design
Janet Salisbury and Richard Stanford
Information design is about arranging the text and look of a document to make it as readable, attractive and effective as possible. This is often thought to be something for designers to worry about, but we have shown that the best results come from integrating writing, editing and design. This process starts at the earliest stages of document development and follows three stages:
- Large-scale analysis and organisation of the content (‘the story’), so that information has structure, is engaging and flows logically. This assists readers to understand the main purpose of the information.
- Medium-scale mapping of the elements of the story, creating visual concepts and revising the text to help readers navigate and understand the content.
- Fine-scale styling and presenting the content, including text, fonts, colours, graphical elements, figures, tables, graphs and diagrams, in a way that will focus readers’ attention on the details.
Preparing science and technical publications involves complex tasks at each level. In this panel session we will present our overall approach and two case studies from Biotext’s portfolio of science and technical publications to illustrate how we integrate writing and editing with design work at each level to create effective information design. We will invite our clients from the two case studies to take part in a panel discussion.
A new digital workflow for report authoring and editing
Janet Salisbury and Andina Faragher
At Biotext, we work on many multi-author technical documents, series of documents, guidelines, manuals and reports of all descriptions. Many of these are updated on a regular basis. Managing the workflow for such projects with Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign often results in one or more of the following issues:
- in document series, a change to standard text in one document requires the same change to be made in every other document in the series (e.g. changing the order of a heading in a document template would need to be manually applied to all documents)
- sending versions to multiple authors for checking results in many versions of the document, which can be a logistical nightmare for the project manager
- if different outputs are required (e.g. HTML, PDF, Word), late changes to one output may need to be manually applied to the other outputs.
Using two case studies, we will describe how we used our experience in publication management to imagine a new digital workflow, and the unique authoring and editing program, Masterdocs™, which we have helped local IT company Oxide Interactive to produce to overcome these issues.
Janet Salisbury, BSc(Hons), PhD, ELS, AE, left a career in medical research to take up science writing and editing. Her work mushroomed and in 1999 she founded Biotext, which now has 10 staff and three directors. Janet has written and edited numerous publications about health, agriculture and environment, and presented courses and talks on science editing and writing. She has passed the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences exam and was instrumental in developing the IPEd accreditation scheme.
Richard Stanford, BVA, Grad Dip VA, MVA, PhD, is a visual information specialist with extensive experience in science communication, new media, graphic design, illustration and publishing. He has a PhD in new media and cross-disciplinary studies between science and art from the University of New South Wales. Throughout his career, Richard has worked on a wide variety of science-based visualisation, technical communication and publishing projects, including working with some of Australia’s top scientists.
Andina Faragher, BSc(Hons), PhD, AE, DipAdvCanineBehavioralSciences, has a scientific research background and is a member of the inhouse editing team at Biotext Pty Ltd. She has edited scientific publications for a range of government and nongovernment clients in Australia and overseas. Andina is an IPEd Accredited Editor, and an accredited editor for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations Population Fund.