Coming Up April 13: Authors Talk Editing

Editors, of course, would not exist without writers. At Editors Kingston, we’ve decided it’s time to hear from the other side of the editorial conversation.

This month, we move our meeting venue to the Tett Centre Rehearsal Hall in order to host a panel of eminent Kingston-area authors — Shelley Tanaka, Melanie Dugan, and Ian Coutts — sharing their experiences with editing.The three writers represent a wide range of genres, subjects, and styles, so the discussion should be fascinating!

Shelley Tanaka has written more than twenty books for young people, including Nobody Knows (G

Shelley Tanaka

roundwood, 2012), Amelia Earhart: Legend of the Lost Aviator (Abrams2008), which won the Orbis Pictus award for outstanding nonfiction for children, and Mummies: The Newest, Coolest & Creepiest (Abrams, 2005). She has also edited dozens of children’s books (she has been fiction editor at Groundwood books for several decades). She teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Check out Shelley’s other books and the impressive list of awards they have won on her Writers Union of Canada profile page. Shelley is also a member of Kingston Wired Writers.

Melanie Dugan is the author of four novels, including one, Revising Romance (

Melanie Dugan (Photo by Chris Miner)

Sumach, 2004) that has an editor as its protagonist! The others are Bee Summers (Upstart, 2014), Dead Beautiful (Upstart, 2012) and Sometime Daughter (Second Story, 2002). Her writing has appeared in the Kingston Whig-Standard and Toronto Life. Her short story “A Map of the Human Heart” was shortlisted for the CBC Literary Award.

Don’t miss Melanie’s blog on Goodreads; it includes some fascinating discussion of her writing process.

Ian Coutts’s newest book describes his adventures brewing beer from scratch, including

Ian Coutts

Ian Coutts

growing the hops and barley, capturing the yeast and malting the grain himself. The Perfect Keg: Sowing, Scything, Malting and Brewing My Way to the Best-Ever Pint of Beer (Greystone, 2014) was the logical follow-up to Brew North (Greystone, 2010), an illustrated history of beer in Canada that was shortlisted for a World Gourmand Award. Ian has also authored and co-authored a number of other nonfiction books, including Titanic: The Last Great Images (Running, 2008, with Dr. Robert Ballard). He provides coaching services for other writers, and has led workshops for Editors Canada on creating book proposals.

Read more about Ian on the website of his company, Coutts & King.

Come Join Us!

Wednesday, April 13

7 to 9 p.m. (doors open at 6:30)

Tett Centre, Rehearsal Hall, 370 King Street West, Kingston (map) (fully accessible)

Free for Editors Canada members

$10 for non-members

Cash bar

Bring a friend!

Coming in May: Stylistic Editing Workshop

March Meeting Report: Online Resources


Favourite online resources mentioned at the meeting included Editing Canadian English, a quick citation guide from the Chicago Manual of Style Online, and a tool for capitalizing titles.

Association News

The session line-up for the Editors Canada Conference in Vancouver, June 10 to 12, has been announced. Be sure to check it out!

Note that the Editors Canada AGM will be held Saturday, June 11; the National Executive Council is investigating options for electronic participation, so members can ask questions and vote from anywhere.

Missed the Twitter Chat on House Styles? Check out the Storify recap.

Round Table Topic: Online Resources for Editors (and Writers)

Whether it’s a thesaurus app or a webinar to expand our editing business, editors in Canada use online resources every day. Members of Editors Kingston met on Wednesday, March 9,  to discuss favourite digital resources – those they rely on to complete projects quickly and reliably and to stay at the forefront of the editing industry.

Some Top Picks

Learning even one new online resource can save you time down the road. For instance, if you’re editing a headline or title, check out the TitleCap tool to properly and automatically capitalize titles in your content, depending on the style guide you’re following.

Writing or editing for academic journals, books, or other publications that include bibliographies or reference lists? Check out the Chicago Style Quick Citation Guide for clear examples of how to cite sources using both the notes and bibliography and author-date documentation systems. Looking up how to cite anything from a website to an email is right at your fingertips. While many editors use the print version of Chicago, those who prefer to work electronically (or those who work with two computer monitors) subscribe to the online edition. An individual subscription costs $35/year, and a free 30-day trial is available. The quick guide is a free tool available from the Chicago Manual of Style Online (on Twitter @ChicagoManual) and is a must-have for anyone writing or editing in the digital age.

The site also devotes several pages to Chicago Style Q&A (also free, new questions and answers every month). It has a very good search function, and the answers incorporate a sense of humour.

Editing Canadian English from Editors Canada is another must-have online resource for editors in this country. An online subscription is available for a free 30-day trial; after this, the cost is $35/year (or $25/year for Editors Canada members).

Are you an editor and avid user of Facebook or social media? If so, you might enjoy the discussions that take place on the Facebook group Editors’ Association of Earth. Subscribe to the EAE Backroom group, meet editors around the world, and talk about the issues and challenges that we all share. If you prefer to read email, Editors Canada offers an email forum for discussing all things editorial. You’ll find it in the Members area of the association’s website.

Other Favourites

Interested in more online tips and resources for your editing work? Here are some other favourites shared by those at the meeting:

Merriam-Webster: A trusted American dictionary and thesaurus; also available as an app.

Tandem Editing: A downloadable list of grammar and style resources compiled at a get-together of U.S. editors and generously shared by Kyra Freestar.

Copyediting: A website and brand that shares tips, job links, webinars, a weekly e-newsletter and other useful resources. Incorporates content from the now-defunct The Editorial Eye. Can be especially helpful for those just starting out in editing.

Jane Friedman: Information on how to publish, resources and books for writers, a blog, online classes, and more.

Peter Sokolowski: Follow this Merriam-Webster lexicographer on Twitter for commentary on words and language and news about what lookups are “spiking.”

Sentence first: “An Irishman’s blog about the English language,” written by Stan Carey.

Freelance Writing Jobs: Writing tips, resources, and jobs – all geared to freelance writing.

The Purdue Online Writing Lab: Writing and teaching resources, style guides, and more.

Instant Estimate from Kingston freelance editor Adrienne Montgomerie. Enter the word count of your project, and this handy tool will estimate the time required for one round of each type of editing (substantive and developmental editing, copy editing, proofreading) and a cost estimate (in Can$).

Grade-level Science Vocabulary List for Science Writers and Editors: How to write science at a level that kids can understand.

OKAPI! This Internet application for creating curriculum-based reading probes lets you determine whether your content is directed at the appropriate audience and age group. It’s also helpful for text written for a general audience.

Master List of Logical Fallacies: Determine whether a writer’s argument is faulty, fake, or deceptive.

Wolfram Alpha: Calculate, or learn about, just about anything in 32 widely different categories.

Google Fight: Type two keywords and find out which one gets more visibility on Google.

Ngram Viewer: Graphs the frequency of a word, term, or phrase in a corpus of books over selected years.

Beyond the Book: Listen to podcasts on the business of writing and editing, including the changing world of publishing.

The Kindle Chronicles: The Friday podcast all about Kindles and ebooks. Hear about changes in technology and where the publishing industry is headed.

Explorations of Style: A well-organized blog with in-depth discussion about academic writing.

LEGISinfo: Provides information on current legislation before Parliament as well as legislation from other parliamentary sessions.

Coming in April: Authors Talk Editing

Spread the word! On April 13, we will host a panel of Kingston-area authors — Shelley Tanaka, Melanie Dugan, and Ian Coutts — talking about their experiences working with editors.

Note: For this event, we’ll move from our regular meeting space to the Tett Centre, so we can accommodate a bigger group. There will be a $10 charge (waived for Editors Canada members) to help offset the event costs.

Thanks to Karen Richardson for the Round Table write-up.

Thanks to Stephanie Stone for providing copyediting and for collecting links ahead of the meeting.

Photo by Wavebreakmedia.

Coming Up March 9: Online Resources

File:MSI Laptop computer.jpg

What are your favourite online editing resources? Let’s share and discuss!

Is there an editing-related website you find you use all the time in your work? A language blog that always teaches you something new? An app you wouldn’t be without? A piece of software (or hardware) that’s made your editing life a lot easier? Please share your recommendations!

Also feel free to bring questions for your colleagues: maybe you are wondering where you can get good help with Word 2013, or what reliable dictionaries are available online, or how people communicate with authors and collaborators who live at a distance….

Elizabeth’s ever-helpful husband, Russell, will bring a screen and laptop so we can check out websites together.

If you can, please send a quick note before the meeting to Stephanie Stone at with links to your fave resources; she’ll gather them and bring them on a USB stick.

Come Join Us!

Wednesday, March 9

7 to 9 p.m. (doors open at 6:30)

Ongwanada Resource Centre, 191 Portsmouth Avenue (map)


Bring a friend!

Coming in April: Authors Talk Editing

On April 13, our guests will be a panel of Kingston-area authors — Shelley Tanaka, Melanie Dugan, and Ian Coutts — talking about their experiences working with editors. It’s going to be fascinating. Spread the word!

Note: For this event, we’ll move from our regular meeting space to the Tett Centre, so we can accommodate a bigger group to hear our fabulous panel of authors. There will be a $10 charge (waived for Editors Canada members) to help offset the event costs.


Laptop Image: Kristoferb at English Wikipedia; used under Creative Commons Licence

February Meeting Report: Academic Acquisitions Editing

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Guest speaker James McNevin, acquisitions editor for McGill-Queens University Press, brought some of the press’s current titles for show and tell.


Association News

Nearby Editors Canada seminars coming up include “Copyediting II” on March 22 in Ottawa and both “Manuscript Evaluation” and “Creating a House Style” (the latter presented by our own Elizabeth d’Anjou), also on March 22, in Toronto.

The conference is coming! The national Editors Canada conference this year will be held June 10, 11, and 12 at the Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites in Vancouver, B.C. The theme is “A Correction Connection.” Keynote speakers will be

  • Mary Norris — copyeditor for The New Yorker, presenter of delightful YouTube grammar videos, and author of the bestseller Between  You and Me (Ellie shared around her copy)
  • Bill Walsh — copyeditor at The Washington Post, blogger at The Slot, and host of a popular monthly online “Grammar Geekery” chat

Speaker: James McNevin

James McNevin, acquisitions editor for McGill-Queens University Press, spoke to a full room of interested Editors Kingston members and visitors at the February 10 meeting.

The topic drew several new faces, including graduate students and professors from Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada.

Acquisitions Editing — A Day in the Life

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James McNevin

At our request, James focused his remarks on exploring the question “What does an acquisitions editor at a university press do?” The answer turns out to include the following:


  • scouts for new authors — These are found by attending conferences, keeping abreast of journal articles in his disciplines, scanning bibliographies, checking university departmental websites, and looking to see what other university presses are up to.
  • brings in new manuscripts — The target at McGill-Queens is an optimistic 20 to 25 manuscripts a year.
  • evaluates proposals — Academics have to write book proposals, just like authors of trade nonfiction. (Attendee Angela Pietrobon pointed out that this fact provides an opportunity for freelancers: she helps authors write proposals for the University of Toronto Press.)
  • finds peer reviewers — Peer review is what distinguishes university presses from all other types of publishing. James stressed the importance of finding good reviewers: fair, qualified, and open to the author’s point of view (with no axe to grind) but willing and able to respond to it critically.
  • solicits a response to the peer review — An ideal author’s response is thoughtful and not defensive, and shows a willingness to revise. (Angela commented that she also helps authors with this stage.)
  • finds funding for each title — Acquisitions editors at a university press spend a lot of time on this task, James explained. Since the market for academic books is so small, the press can’t count very much on sales revenues. The money to publish a title can come from a wide range of sources: government grants, special funds focused on particular subjects, sometimes even the author’s own university department.
  • gets manuscripts ready for transmittal to editorial  — The managing editor then oversees the copyedit and proofreading (at McGill-Queen’s, the same freelancer usually performs both of these tasks for a given title).
  • draws up the contract— The stakes here are not particularly high in academic publishing, James said, but as some university presses are moving into nonfiction trade books with the potential for much larger audiences, there are exceptions.

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    Books, snacks, drinks: A group of happy editors!

  • checks images and permissions— The author is responsible for providing usable versions of any images to be included and for seeking any necessary permission to reproduce copyrighted material, but may need help understanding what is required and carrying it out.
  •  liaises with the marketing department — The acquisitions editor is in the best position to provide marketing with info about the book and why it’s important.

The presentation was followed by lots of questions and discussion over cookies and coffee. And, of course, by much admiration of the books James had brought for show and tell!

Write-up by Ellie Barton with Elizabeth d’Anjou. Photos by Elizabeth d’Anjou.