March Speakers Night—Stacey Atkinson on Self-Publishing

Speaker Nights March 15How to self-publish a book

Stacey Atkinson is a freelance writer and editor based in Ottawa. In 2012, she began Mirror Image Publishing as a way to self-publish her first novel, Stuck. She learned so much along the way, especially when it came to publishing and marketing a book, that she began offering advice and services to other independent authors. In 2016, she self-published her second novel, Letters from Labrador.

After self-publishing two books and working primarily as an editor of self-published fiction and nonfiction, Stacey took what she had learned and developed an online course on how to publish a book.

At this event, Stacey will explain her ten-step process and answer your questions about self-publishing. She’ll also be asking people to share their own self-publishing stories.

Christ Church Cathedral, 414 Queen St., Lackey Room, 6:30 p.m.
Free for members; $10 for non-members


February Speakers Night – Beverly Ensom

The spoken word becomes a written report

Hansard is the written record of what is said in the House of Commons. Most people think it’s verbatim—and it is, except when it’s not.

Beverly Ensom is a member of the House of Commons team that gently edits Hansard and the similar record of parliamentary committees. She will describe the process of producing these records and the editing decisions that have to be made; and she’ll give some examples of wording that had to be handled with care (although “fuddle-duddle” was before her time).

Christ Church Cathedral, Lackey Room, 414 Queen St., 6:30 p.m.
Free for members, $10 for non-members

January Speakers Night – Author Denise Chong

Ottawa-Gatineau Editors Speakers Night is very excited to begin the new year with a presentation by the author Denise Chong.

Denise lives in Ottawa and has written four books of literary non-fiction; the bestselling The Concubines Children (now a Penguin Classic), The Girl in the Picture: The Kim Phuc Story (Viking Press), Egg on Mao: The Story of an Ordinary Man Who Defaced an Icon and Unmasked a Dictatorship (Random House), and Lives of the Family: Stories of Fate and Circumstance (Random House).

She has become “renowned as a writer and commentator on Canadian history and on the family,” (The Canadian Encyclopedia) because of her in-depth research and focus on the multiculturalism of Canadian identity. In 2013 she was awarded the Order of Canada for her “books that help to raise our social consciousness.” (Order of Canada)

Denise will be speaking about the process of interviewing people and gathering personal information when writing memoirs, and the author’s relationship with an editor when working together on the often tragic, personal and intimate stories of people’s lives.

Ottawa-Gatineau Editors Speakers Nights are open to everyone. Admission for non-members of Editors Canada is $10.

When: Wednesday 18 January 2017 6.30 – 8.00pm

Where: Lackey Room, Christ Church Cathedral, 414 Sparks St, Ottawa, ON K1R 0B3. Free onsite parking.


May Speaker Night – Jodi Di Menna on Big Picture Editing

Our Speaker Night in May will have Jodi Di Menna presenting on Big Picture Editing: Content planning with a purpose, from the editor-in-chief’s perspective.

Whether it’s to serve a readership, drive traffic, support a strategic message or simply to impart important information, there’s always a big-picture objective behind the written content we edit. From content planning for a website or hardcopy launch or re-launch, through to lineup selection, right down to story structure and word choice, the thought processes that precede the final stages of editing are as crucial to hitting the mark as getting the language just right. This session will draw on the speaker’s experience as founding editor and editor-in-chief of small magazines, as well as her role as senior editor for an organization whose key audience is the chief decision makers on Parliament Hill, to provide examples of how the big picture filters down to the subtleties of how we write and edit the content that supports it. It will also incorporate the viewpoints of several editors-in-chief and communications executives to provide a broad perspective of how editors and content producers can work together to achieve a goal, from concept to completion.

Jodi Di Menna spent ten years working for magazines, and led the launch of one small magazine, the re-inventing of another, and the re-launch of a couple of corporate websites. She is now Senior Writer/Editor for the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

When: Wednesday, May 18, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Good Companions Seniors Centre, 670 Albert Street (at Empress)

Free for members, $10 for non-members

Parking: Just behind the building, off Empress Avenue.

Report on March 16 Speaker Night by Bhavana Gopinath

Our branch’s listening event on March 16 turned out to be an interesting evening, with a spirited exchange of ideas between our members. In his address, Tom Vradenburg stated that for a volunteer-run organization such as Editors Canada, it is important that we all find ways to help in a way that benefits both the organization and the volunteering member.  As he put it, volunteering with your local branch is not just about padding up your resume, but also about “building relationships, one taskforce at a time”.  As an example: if a member has an idea for a program, the Branch will support and organize help to aid the member run with the idea to bring it to fruition. The Branch is able to provide more focused programming for its members, and the member hones their organizational skills and get to share in-depth ideas with the speaker. This becomes a win-win situation for both parties.

Our members provided several inputs, particularly in the area of mentoring:

Mentoring programs were always welcome; the recent “Speed mentoring” event was quite successful. Some of our members pointed out that while Mentoring (with a capital M) might not always be possible due to time constraints, they would be open to offering speed mentoring for newer members, or a more informal mentoring, a kind of “buddy system”.

Mentoring is also a great way of retaining and even bringing back people who may have left the organization. It would be great to hear their perspectives, not just from an editing point of view, but in a more comprehensive manner.  These “elders” have vast editing and life experience that others could learn from.

In a similar vein, it would also be great to have talks by experts in related areas of our lives, and not confine ourselves to the discipline of editing. Some suggested topics were: managing a freelance business, financial planning, mental health, ageing, and what employers look for in editor while hiring.

Mentoring could also be two-way, given that many of our new members seem to be younger. Perhaps there is an opportunity here for more experienced editors to learn more about issues that engage newer editors.

While formal mentoring plans are being discussed at the National level of Editors Canada, there are things that can be done at our branch level. Perhaps when new members join us, their welcome email could ask if they needed a mentor, and the branch might be able to do some match-making.

If you missed our meeting, and would like to share your thoughts on volunteering and mentoring, please let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.



Go ahead—ask what your branch can do for you by Tom Vradenburg, Editors Ottawa–Gatineau Past Chair

We’ve made a few changes this year as a result of town hall discussions: an earlier start time, a different venue. It’s time again to check in with our editing community to see how we can help one another.

We’d like to hear your suggestions on what you would like to see from Ottawa–Gatineau speaker nights or seminars, or if you would like entirely new kind of programming. Aside from an (optional) glass of wine, you’ll get bonus marks if you are willing to volunteer some time for it.

Our upcoming speaker night on March 16 is about you speaking and us listening. If it will help the free flow of ideas, there will be wine and cheese. Come and talk to us!

Last year’s meeting yielded some useful changes that we’ve implemented: a different meeting venue, an earlier start time to our meetings, some opportunities to socialize.

Wednesday, March 16, 6:30 p.m.

Good Companions Seniors Centre, 670 Albert Street (at Empress)

Parking: Just behind the building, off Empress Avenue

Free for EAC members, $10 for non-members

Editor Wanted: What writers seek in an Editor by Ayan Ibrahim

Becoming an editor isn’t as easy a task as one may think. What’s even harder is venturing through the world of editors to find one that suit your needs. It may not necessarily be because you cannot find a qualified editor. Rather, because of the vast number of skill sets and styles that each editor is in possession of, leading you to search for one that is best suited for the task at hand. There is, however, a basic standard of qualifications that an editor must meet. If one is found to be lacking in this area, there is no doubt, that one’s services to those who seek an editor will be futile.

It’s important to have expectations when seeking an editor. However, you may now be wondering what realistic expectation should you have when attempting your endeavor. This is the exact question that this article is meant to answer. As you may have already noticed, attempting to address each and every desired and undesired qualification of an editor extends beyond the aim of this piece. For this reason, I seek to highlight the two most important qualifications I believe, as a publisher and writer, that one should look for in an editor.

It is obvious that an editor should in some capacity be versed in the many skill sets of editing: proofreading, editing grammatical mistakes, checking spelling errors, fact verification, the ability to reorganize thoughts and ideas in a comprehensible manner, as well as aiding in revisions. Undoubtedly, the list goes on. However, although competency in these areas are a given, not all editors have the same technique when editing. I find the diversity, in the way in which each editor utilizes their skill set, refreshing. The differences in skill techniques allows for publications, which may have similar content, to be worked from alternate angles. These angles then provide readers with alternate perspectives which work to enhance their understanding of the subject matter.

Due in part to the large emphasis on editors to have a solid skill set in the art of editing, there is an element that falls short of being recognized for its importance, although it is crucial. That is, an editor and author should be in sync. What I mean by “in sync” is the ability for an editor to seamlessly blend their editing skills into an author’s work in a way that does not take away from the authenticity of the author’s work. Working with other writers as an editor and publisher, I have come to learn about the sacredness of an author’s work. Alterations are necessary. But only to the point where it does not completely change the meaning of what is being said by the writer. You also begin to learn that there is a fine line between pleasing your authors and doing your job as an editor. This does not happen overnight of course, but this is where practice and open communication becomes imperative. Where there is a lack of communication, there opens up the possibility for expectations to be lost in translation, resulting in miscommunication between the two parties and subsequently a failed publication.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a step-by-step playbook guide which I could give you to help you perfect your editing rapport with each and every writer you meet. As with everything in life, it is always through trial and error. I know, as I can speak from first hand experience. You just need to learn to accept all the experience that comes your way. Work through it, and create passionately.

Ayan Ibrahim is a 23 year old Somali-Canadian who is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Qurtuba Publishing House. She is a writer, aspiring photographer, and polyglot. Professionally, she is a practicing registered nurse. Her writings focus mainly on cultural, social, political, and health-related issues. She and her sisters Ilhan and Hodan were guest speakers at our Speakers Night in September 2015. 

February Speaker Night -Developing and maintaining a house style guide by Tom Vradenburg

House style guides often start from a base of Canadian Style or other relevant, all-purpose style guide, but then exceptions and special terminology are added. In some cases, there’s a formal process for approving additions and tweaks. Getting people outside the publishing/communications departments of an organization to follow it is often an issue.

Get advice and guidance on developing and maintaining a house style guide from Kinneret Globerman, Marcia Fine and Mary Jean McAleer. Each will present for five to seven minutes on their particular experiences. Discussion from the floor follows.

When: Wednesday, February 17, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Good Companions Seniors Centre, 670 Albert Street (at Empress)

Free for members, $10 for non-members

Parking: Just behind the building, off Empress Avenue.


Speed mentoring is officially full. The January speaker night for Editors Ottawa–Gatineau has been fully subscribed in advance.

If you have not received a message from Speaker Nights Chair Tom Vradenburg with a schedule enclosed, you cannot be assured an opportunity to seek mentoring from the Sages.

Given the surprising enthusiasm for this event, Editors Ottawa–Gatineau will consider holding another fairly soon. Thanks for your interest and support!

When: Wednesday, January 20, 6:30 pm

Where: Good Companions Seniors Centre, 670 Albert Street (at Empress)

Free for members, $10 for non-members

Parking: Just behind the building, off Empress Avenue.


Would you like to get expert advice and fresh perspectives on your editing business or career ? Whether you’re just starting out, changing the focus of your career or wanting to discuss specific editing challenges with a peer who’s been there, we have a roster of sages to provide speed mentoring on January 20th.

The Sages and their specialties are

Laura Byrne Paquet: Freelancing, copy editing, proofreading, government work, journalism, travel writing, genre fiction writing and editing, social history writing, blogging, teaching

Moira White: Teaching editing and writing, building a diversified business, substantive editing, copy editing, plain language editing and writing, government reports

Patricia Buchanan: Freelancing; copy editing and proofreading; some substantive editing; government reports; reports by independent think-tanks and by academics (mainly in economics); indexing textbooks, scholarly, and trade books

Laurel Hyatt: Freelancing, substantive editing, copy editing, proofreading, government reports, university textbooks, journalism, business auditing, accounting

Louise Saint-André: finding work, freelancing, French editing (concordance EN>FR, copyediting, and proofreading), public speaking, teaching and professional development, health

Elizabeth Macfie: Copy editing, stylistic editing, proofreading, comparative reading of translations, training (groups and one-on-one coaching), style guide development, business networking, indexing, conference session delivery

Do sign up by emailing Tom Vradenburg, our Speaker Nights Chair, at by Tuesday, January 19. You can choose upto three Sages, and each session will last 15 minutes.

When: Wednesday, January 20, 6:30 pm

Where: Good Companions Seniors Centre, 670 Albert Street (at Empress)

Free for members, $10 for non-members

Parking: Just behind the building, off Empress Avenue.