PubPro 2016: Event recap and session summaries (part 1) Reply

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.

Markua cloud services: A presentation by Peter Armstrong
Written by Ellen Michelle Koehler; copy edited by Amy Haagsma

“Formatting is procrastination” and “Word is a tricycle for the mind”—both quotes from Peter Armstrong, co-founder of Leanpub, as he started his presentation about Markua cloud services. He discussed how Microsoft Word and similar programs allow writers to be distracted by editing and formatting when they should be focusing on writing, thereby allowing procrastination.

Peter discussed the differences between programming programs and plain text programs and explained that writing is much simpler in a plain text program—the extras in Word add complexity similar to programming programs and are unnecessary for writers. He introduced a plain text program called Markdown and explained Leanpub’s version of Markdown for writers—Markua. Markua allows writers to write free of distraction and procrastination, and the files can be easily exported to InDesign to be formatted after the work is completed.

Managing editorial workflow: Tools and tips: A discussion led by Louise Blight
Written by Connie Behl; copy edited by Amy Haagsma

One of the key questions asked by a journal’s managing editors is, how do we increase readership of and interest in our journal? With only a very small budget to divide between content and production, you need to be as efficient as possible. One way would be to “eliminate the cooks in the kitchen.” Peer review ensures consistency in content, style, and figures, but there can also be ways to reduce the layers in editing.

Making sure that everything that is going to be published goes through the editing and translation department is another workflow challenge. There should be top-level buy-in and leadership to promote the importance of quality control.

Although the onus is on academics to produce quality writing, some experts are not good writers. This is where a hired writing consultant has a role to play. Plain language training might be appropriate.


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.

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.

Amy Haagsma is a communications professional and a graduate of SFU’s Editing Certificate program.

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