With Editing Goes Global mere months away, now is the perfect time to get better acquainted with our conference speakers. This week, Tanya Procyshyn from the Editors’ Weekly caught up with “word sorceress” Vanessa Ricci-Thode by email to chat about her upcoming sessions in Toronto and the world of self-publishing.
Tanya Procyshyn: It seems you’ve had a lifelong love of books, and you published your first fantasy novel, Dragon Whisperer, in 2013. How did you make the transition from writer to editor?
Vanessa Ricci-Thode: I became an editor in a roundabout way. I’ve always been a writer, ever since I was a kid, and I came into editing while looking for ways to improve my writing. A family member suggested taking copy editing through Ryerson, and that was when I discovered freelance editing as a career option. I was instantly sold on the idea. And learning more about editing has had the desired effect of making me a drastically better writer.
TP: You’re scheduled to present not one, but two sessions at the 2015 conference. Have you attended EAC conferences in previous years?
VRT: Yes, I’ve been to the conferences in Ottawa, Halifax and last year in Toronto. Even though the sessions are always so enlightening, the biggest thing I take away from each conference is the connections made with other editors. I’ve met so many wonderful people!
TP: The theme of this year’s conference is “Editing Goes Global.” What does that mean to you?
VRT: I think this is an excellent opportunity for editors to share standards and learn some diverse methods. It’s going to be an amazing networking opportunity as well.
TP: Can you tell us a bit about your sessions?
VRT: I’m going to be giving two sessions at the conference — “Finding Work: Editors and the Self-Publishing Market” and “Alternatives to Editing: Working on a Self-Publisher’s Budget.”
TP: Sounds interesting! Who should attend your sessions and what can they expect to learn?
VRT: There’s a lot of info out there for writers about self-publishing, with a lot of emphasis on the importance of editing, but there isn’t much in the way of information for editors. I’ll be giving a very brief overview of what self-publishing is. One of my sessions will help editors connect with self-published authors. The other will be about the unique editing challenges that come up from working with self-published authors. My sessions are open to any editors interested in the topic, especially those not yet working in the self-publishing market.
TP: You said there are unique challenges when working with self-published authors. Can you elaborate? Do they have higher expectations of the editor since they’re footing the bill personally?
VRT: I think one of the biggest challenges is the quality of the work. First-time authors often come to me looking for editing when they’ve done little or no self-editing, and I do my best to encourage them to find beta readers and writer’s circles, especially if they have a small budget. The more work authors can do themselves, the better it is for them. When they’ve got the budget to have me do all of the editing starting with a very raw manuscript, it can become very mentally exhausting to get through all the stages.
TP: I would imagine that many self-published authors have little experience working with an editor. When you start with a new client, how do you set the expectations?
VRT: It’s different with every author, because they all come in with different expectations and requiring different levels and depths of editing. I always point them to the EAC’s definitions page so that they understand what they’re getting into and the terms that I use. I usually do sample edits for them to help set them at ease and get them accustomed to the process, which I also do my best to explain. And then I welcome questions. I just try to keep it as professional but friendly as I can and try to create a space where my authors feel comfortable to ask.
TP: As any freelancer knows, finding steady work can be a challenge. Are self-published writers an “untapped resource” for editors?
VRT: I definitely believe that they are, and this was something we spoke about a bit at last year’s EAC conference and something I’ll be speaking about in my sessions. As the field of self-publishing becomes oversaturated, authors are realizing that they need to put out quality work if they hope to compete. That’s why I try to put a lot of effort into educating authors about the importance of editing and quality work, even if they’re not my clients.
TP: What resources do self-published authors use to find an editor? How do your clients find you?
VRT: I meet self-published authors a few different ways, but primarily they find me through my website and my listing on the ODE [EAC’s Online Directory of Editors]. As an author myself, I do have a lot of opportunities to meet new authors through conventions. My “Finding Work” session will touch on more of this.
TP: This has been very informative, and we look forward to seeing you in Toronto, Vanessa! Last question: What are you most looking forward to at the conference?
VRT: I am most looking forward to seeing the editors I only see at conferences like this. And this year I’m looking forward to making a few international friends. As rewarding as the sessions are, this is always a big social time for me. So many of my editor friends are so far away, and I like how these conferences bring us together.
Vanessa is an indie author with two published works, and she is a freelance editor specializing in speculative fiction who frequently works with self-publishing authors. She lives in Ontario, Canada. Join her at Editing Goes Global, the EAC’s first-ever global conference for editors, June 12 to 14.
The Editors’ Weekly is the official blog of Editors Canada. Contact us.