November 16, 2016: The Art of Editing Poetry: A Conversation with Shazia Hafiz Ramji Reply

What: Editors BC monthly meeting
When: Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 7:00 pm (program begins at 7:30 pm)
Where: Welch Room, 4th floor, YWCA Health + Fitness Centre, 535 Hornby Street, Vancouver | map
Cost: Free for Editors Canada members, $10 for non-members, and $5 for students with valid ID. Registration at the door.

All editors must consider the needs of the writer, the reader, and the publisher or client when working on material, but this can be a particularly delicate balancing act for the poetry editor. What is considered? How does the editor navigate issues of poetic licence or the idiosyncratic use of writing mechanics? What are the desirable characteristics of a poetry editor, and what is happening in this publishing sector? Join us for a stimulating conversation about these and other topics as Talonbooks poetry editor and poet Shazia Hafiz Ramji speaks to moderator Lana Okerlund.

Shazia Hafiz Ramji is the poetry editor at Talonbooks and an interviews editor at Canadian Women in the Literary Arts, and she co-edited the “Intersections” issue of Poetry Is Dead magazine. Her poetry has been nominated for the 2016 National Magazine Awards and is forthcoming in The Capilano Review and the “Augmented Reality” special issue of Letters to the Editors. Shazia’s chapbook of poetry will be published by Anstruther Press in 2017, and her first book of poems will be out with Talonbooks in 2018.

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PubPro 2015: Session summaries (part 2) 1

On April 25, EAC-BC co-hosted PubPro 2015, an unconference for managing editors and publication production specialists. We previously featured a recap of the event and part 1 of the session summaries. Part 2 of the session summaries follows.

Written by Amy Haagsma; copy edited by Meagan Kus

Change management: A guided discussion led by Chantal Moore

Chantal Moore is communications manager at the BC Council for International Education, a Crown corporation that facilitates international student exchanges. She was interested in discussing best practices for managing change.

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PubPro: Retakes & workflows 2

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.

PubPro: Workflow systems and digital shifts 2

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.

PubPro: Editorial archiving & lean publishing 3

Editorial Archiving

by Megan Brand; discussion led by Roma Ilnyckyj

Attendees from various private and public organizations compared their companies’ archival strategies, or lack thereof, regarding what to keep, recycle, or shred. Publishing houses, the BC government, CGA Canada, UBC and SFU were said to have vastly divergent document-retention policies, which run the gamut from keeping all emails and hard-copy editorial files to ruthlessly discarding them. Liability issues, possible historical value, and simply the need to reminisce were cited as the main reasons for choosing to keep documentation. Recent archives were also said to be a strong training resource. However, the sheer volume of material can prove crippling for users attempting to settle disputes over stylistic decisions. And although the digitization of hard copies is one solution (scanning them as PDFs), attendees questioned the point at which digital files are rendered useless as the programs required to open them become obsolete. Ultimately, companies need an archival plan, no matter how ad hoc.

 

Lean Publishing: Lessons Learned at Leanpub

by Lana Okerlund; presented by Peter Armstrong

After a fast and furious presentation of over a hundred slides in 20 minutes (honest!), Leanpub co-founder Peter Armstrong wowed PubPro attendees by creating a pretty darn good-looking e-book with just a few keystrokes. Had this not just been a demo, the book would have been immediately available for readers to buy and comment on. (Fun side tip: Check out hipster Ipsum the next time you need filler text.)

“A book is a startup: a risky, highly creative endeavour undertaken by a small team with a low chance of success,” Armstrong said as he explained the epiphany for Leanpub. Following serial entrepreneur Steve Blank’s suggestion to “get out of the building” and talk to customers, Leanpub allows authors to connect quickly (“frictionlessly” in Leanpub lingo) with readers and use their feedback to improve (“pivot”) their work until they have it right (“achieve a product/market fit”).

Making a fascinating and convincing comparison of Leanpub’s model with Victorian-era serial publishing by Charles Dickens (another serial entrepreneur) and Mary Elizabeth Braddon (the 1860s version of fan fiction writer E.L. James)—not to mention Dostoyevsky—Armstrong explained how authors today need to “get work out there and generate buzz,” and how anything standing in the way of putting words in front of readers, including editors, was just procrastination. “Everyone is optional,” he said. “There should be no gatekeepers. We all need to earn our place. At Leanpub, authors and readers are equally our customers, and we need to balance their interests.”