Island Editor: March 2019

In this bulletin:

Mark your calendar 

  • March 27, 2019:
    Annual Pub Night
  • Saturday mornings, 10:30 a.m. 
    Weekly coffee sessions at Breakwater Cafe, Ogden Point
Join our coffee get-to-know-you sessions. Delicious food, stunning views, and excellent company!

Coming? Need a ride? Contact

Annual PEAVI Pub Night

Please join us for the annual PEAVI Pub Night! It's always an evening of laughter and engaging conversation.

When: Wednesday, March 27
Time: 6 to 9 p.m.
Where: James Bay Inn Pub, 
270 Government St, Victoria

We look forward to seeing you there!

Summary: Workshops with Lori A. May

Susan Grant 
Lori A. May, freelance editor, writer and educator, travelled up from her home in Seattle to share her expertise and passion for literary community building and self-marketing in two workshops. 
At the start of the day, workshop leader Lori A. May (L) was introduced by current member and former co-chair Moira Dann (R).

Workshop 1: Literary Citizenship 101
A successful publishing life relies on others: mentors, writers, editors, publishers, book sellers, and readers. Lori discussed the importance of building relationships among all these stakeholders. They form a community, and literary citizenship is about putting “good” into that community to help it thrive and nurture its members.

Lori described a number of ways that you can undertake literary community-building, e.g., attend a reading or conference, volunteer at an event, write a review, tweet about local authors and local events. Even introverts can build community by engaging with others at conferences and by participating in the community-building efforts of their professional organizations. Be mindful of your own energy and competing commitments, and engage thoughtfully. Lori recommends an annual goal-setting process.

Workshop 2: Marketing Strategies for Writers
To develop a successful marketing strategy, Lori stated that freelancers of all types need to determine the following things. Clarify who your audience is and how to reach them. Think about audience characteristics and attention paid to different types of media. Define your own goals, both short term and long term, and be specific so that you can track your progress. Figure out your brand, what skills/product/consumer experience you’re really selling, and refine your customer profile in relation to your brand.

Lori used the graphic of a marketing/sales funnel to illustrate how you move your potential customer from inattention to purchase and beyond. Keep in mind that your marketing goals need to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed. Track your progress and adjust your marketing activities as needed. Audience development should be an ongoing activity. Network through social media or other online opportunities (guest post/blog); concentrate on existing online communities or niche groups.

Lori selected a couple of workshop attendees at random to explore what marketing activities they had tried, which led to a discussion of some additional interesting marketing techniques. 

Welcome new members

Welcome to new members Susan Sanford Blades, Peggy Herring, Deborah Graham, Sarah Van Vugt, Colin Grainger, Janet Smith, Jacqueline Carmichael and Carolyn Pisani! We look forward to meeting you at one of the PEAVi functions.

Member news

Paula Gaube writes:

I want to thank my PEAVI colleagues for their support and encouragement during the past six years as I worked on Keeping Mum: The Cotton Family Letters 1940-1945. This 844-page tome is now done and ready to be shared! Though Mary Cotton Small is no longer with us, her family has embraced the completed manuscript and her grandson will be working on a website at We are planning a launch soon, where we’ll raise a glass to Mary and all the Cotton family.

Keeping Mum: The Cotton Family Letters 1940–1945 is more than just a collection of letters and photos sent during the Second World War. This book captures the essence of life in the early 1940s, in both Canada and abroad. It intimately portrays the dutiful and curious son who revels in the adventure of exploring his surroundings and meeting new people, while his doting mother tries desperately not to worry as her only son, her husband, and her eldest daughter, all leave home to support the war effort. Keeping Mum is a snapshot in time—and proof that war is not only hard on the soldiers fighting far from home, but on those left behind as well.

Did you see Jessica Woollard's excellent article, "Editors Canada releases new guidelines for the ethical editing of students’ work," in University Affairs earlier this month? If you missed it, you can read it here

The new Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Student Text are available on the Editors Canada website:
Cathy Reed asks:
"Have you read Michelle Obama’s book? I’ve only read a quarter of it so far, but if I were going to teach a memoir-writing course, I would definitely encourage everyone to read it. It’s so beautifully written. And it’s so personal, as if you were there with her the entire time — as her best friend. 

Obviously she had lots of help from the various Random House editors, but the result is amazing."

Share your news

Do you have news you would like to share an interesting project, perhaps, or a new job? Has a book you edited recently been published? We would love to hear your editing news.

Sitting pretty 

Lynne Graham
Editors spend prolonged periods sitting in front of a screen. It’s the nature of our work. And all that sitting can take its toll. I need to move regularly, so making the decision to invest in a sit-to-stand desk was easy. Finding one that suited my purpose, however,  was not. This is what I learned.

First, do I have to buy a new desk, or is there an alternative? My primary criterion was being able to move from sitting to standing, so the popular Fit-Desk wasn’t an option. And because I already have a lovely oak desk, getting a new, sit-to-stand desk was not an ideal solution. A converter it had to be. 

Second, will any converter meet my needs? The choices are overwhelming, but I quickly learned that cheaper converters have to be mechanically adjusted and secured, meaning they aren't conducive to changing position regularly. Beyond that it was difficult to determine any relationship between price and quality. That relationship would have been clearer had it been possible to view display models, but stores don’t keep display models. Converters must be purchased online, sight unseen!

Third, is online research enough? Probably not, which is the reason I'm sharing what I learned. I researched several brands that use a gas-assisted lever system to raise and lower the converter smoothly. Then I read many hundreds of reviews — particularly the negative ones — looking for potential pitfalls. Finally, I made a choice, paid and waited for delivery.

The converter arrived damaged, even though the box was in perfect condition. As exasperating as that was (its size made for a heavy-duty, two-person return process), it was offset by truly excellent customer service from the supplier. They requested feedback, and when I responded that I would be looking for a more robust model they offered an upgrade credit towards it.

I'm delighted with the result. My work space has been transformed — and so has my work day.

If you're interested in a converter, here are some points worth considering:
  • Lever-operated converters raise the lowest monitor position at least 5 inches, which might change your normal viewing angle.
  • Many converters are made of press-board, so if you want stellar sturdiness, perhaps look for an alternative.
  • Converters can be heavy-ish. This one is almost 20 kg.
  • They range in price from less than $100 to more than $1,000.
(Notes: The damaged converter was $199 and had press-board surfaces; the one pictured costs $299 and has rigid plastic surfaces. Both are from Anthrodesk. The supplier was C-Mall, via Amazon.)
Top image: Standing position is set for someone 5'4" tall, but this model could easily accommodate someone much taller.
Lower image: Converter lowered for sitting position.

Interesting reads 

Thank you to Lenore Hietkamp and Chris Banner for this interesting reading list.
  • Sticking to your “rate principles” . . . essential, but not always easy, Elaine R. Firestone, ELS, An American Editor:

  • Thinking fiction: Lazy writing part 1, An American Editor 
    Lazy writing part 2, An American Editor:

  • “We will still be reading books”: Six questions for six publishers, by Joshua Levy, The Puritan
  • The crusty old editor speaks, Arnold Zwicky's Blog:
  • Panel discussion on developmental editing, via the Northwest Editors Guild: 
    From the description: "In this video we learn from experienced writers and editors about the process. The panel begins by talking about guiding principles and practices for dev editors and ends with a half hour Q&A from the audience."

On the lighter side

Ideas? Content? Feedback?

Do you have content, ideas, or feedback to share, an idea for a monthly meeting topic or a suggestion for a particular speaker? We're all ears!

Please contact Lynne Graham at
Island Editor is coordinated and compiled by Lynne Graham. This issue was copy-edited by PEAVI's Executive Team. PEAVI members provide the content.
Copyright © 2019 Professional Editors Association of Vancouver Island, All rights reserved.

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