by Michael Bedford
Published at 2022-05-11
For the past two years, many writers, editors, and indexers have had to rely exclusively on attending virtual events to develop their editorial skills and networks. Whether unable to attend in-person professional development events because of lockdowns, restrictions, or simply an abundance of caution, editorial professionals once again have some opportunities on the horizon to meet, discuss their profession, and make connections. And, in an industry that relies heavily on freelancers, networking at conferences and literary festivals is important, so here are a few upcoming editorial events, both in person and online, that editors, writers, and indexers can look forward to this spring and summer.
Editors Canada’s annual conference, one of the biggest conference events on the Canadian editorial calendar, will be held online this year due to COVID-19 concerns, but registrants will have a host of online events and discussions to attend from the comfort of their home offices, coffee shops, and tea-houses. Keynote speakers Jen Campbell and Lorina Stephens will share the virtual stage with a number of presenters, covering topics that range from beginner-level discussions on how to use Microsoft Word effectively to more involved intermediate and upper-level programming, such as a presentation on how to blog to grow your brand. In addition to these targeted discussions, there will also be discussions appropriate for all levels of editorial experience, such as one on mastering editorial style sheets. Although online, attending these virtual events offers registrants opportunities to learn or refresh some editorial skills while also connecting with other editors.
Similarly, indexers looking forward to their annual conference will also be attending virtually this year. Virtual fireside chats are open to new indexers looking for tips on how to transition from studying indexing to becoming a professional indexer, and registrants will have access to a range of presentations. Some of the slated presentations relate directly to indexing, and others are concerned with more practical matters, such as cybersecurity and financial literacy for freelancers.
Literary festivals, such as TIFA’s upcoming MOTIVE festival, offer editorial professionals opportunities to come together under a common banner and talk about their work. For authors, these festivals offer relatively inexpensive publicity, and for editors they offer chances to meet and talk to prospective clients. Chances are that many of the authors who are slated to speak or perform readings of their work, such as Kathy Reichs and Linwood Barclay, are already contracting with an editor or editors, but many festival attendees are likely to be budding authors looking for editorial help. As long as you’re willing to spend the day handing out your contact information, meeting prospective clients at literary festivals can be very rewarding, since having face-to-face meetings is usually more memorable than receiving an unsolicited email blast.
Although attending Toronto’s The Word On The Street festival doesn’t technically count as attending editorial professional development programming, this is one of the best-attended literary festivals in Toronto, showcasing a wide range of exhibitors in book and magazine publishing, and any of them could be searching for an editor. The Word On The Street also usually boasts some high-profile presenters, and, although 2022’s program hasn’t yet been announced, past guests have included Thomas King and Chrystia Freeland.
While interested book lovers wait with bated breath to find out whether their favourite authors will be presenting this year, the festival’s website assures prospective patrons that festival staff will employ physical distancing and all other applicable safety measures to try to keep this popular outdoor literary festival as safe as it always has been. If you’d still prefer to stay home, though, don’t worry: the festival’s website also promises live virtual access to the festival.
There may be some editorial professionals who are frustrated that so many of their professional development opportunities remain online-only this year. For freelancers just starting out, growing a brand while learning the ins and outs of the job is challenging enough as it is without having to worry about never being able to meet mentors or prospective clients in person.
Online conferences serve as a welcome stop-gap measure while public health guidelines continue to advise against our gathering. And, making full conferences and festivals available to stream online increases their accessibility significantly, so it’s good to know the option exists for those who prefer to attend online. That said, meeting someone through a computer screen just isn’t the same as meeting in person, so I look forward to a day when online access is an option, not the only option.
Here’s to your successful networking this spring and summer!
Michael Bedford is a freelance editor, copywriter, and performer living in Stoney Creek, Ontario. He can be reached at https://mgb-editor.com/.
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