Red Pencil Conference 2019: July Conference News

July 15, 2019

Contributed by the 2019 Red Pencil conference committee

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Early bird registration has been extended through August 15!

Dear editors, here’s a friendly reminder to register for the Guild’s biennial Red Pencil Conference before early bird rates fly away. Prices go up after July 31, so you’ll save money if you register now!

Eager for more news about the upcoming Red Pencil Conference 2019: Voice & Voices?

On the blog last month, the June conference news post shared a first peek at sessions you’ll have the chance to attend in September. This month we’re offering a peek at the rest of the lineup—from presentations on building your business and taking care of your health to sessions that address the conference theme of Voice & Voices in different ways and from different perspectives.

Want to get involved? You can still contribute your voice to the choir—figuratively and possibly even literally. More on that after a look at conference presenters and sessions.

Conference Sessions: The Business of Editing

The June blog post introduced conference sessions focused on what we edit, such as medical or technical texts, government reports, social media, or graphic novels. Here are a few sessions that address how we edit and how we build an editing career.

Macros 101: Work Smarter, Not Harder

Are macros a mystery to you? Amy J. Schneider, who has been a full-time freelance copyeditor and proofreader since 1995, long ago discovered that macros are marvelous, magical tools that editors can use to increase efficiency and accuracy. In this session, you’ll learn how to record macros, view them in Visual Basic Editor, and save them to a template. Amy will then share several of her favorite and most commonly used simple macros.

Working with Independent Authors

Tanya Gold is a book editor and writing coach from Cambridge, Massachusetts, who edits fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry (she’s also events coordinator for the Editorial Freelancers Association’s Boston chapter). In this session, she’ll present tips and strategies for working directly with authors. Learn skills for better understanding an author’s goals, setting expectations, establishing good communication, talking about pricing, and giving effective feedback that creates a positive working relationship.

Proof Your Health, Performance, and Finances: Wellness for Editors

When K. Aleisha Fetters was working as assistant editor and associate online editor for Women’s Health, she used to joke that she “sat at a computer all day, writing about how bad it is to sit at a computer all day.” Putting her writing into action, she became a certified strength and conditioning specialist. In this session, Aleisha will explore some of the biggest health and wellness concerns for editors while sharing practical, data-driven strategies for improving your energy, performance, and career.

Saving Your Voice: Freelancing Outside the Box

Joanie Eppinga has a bachelor’s degree in English, has a master’s degree in counseling psychology, and studied medieval mysticism and literature at the Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies in Oxford, England. In this session, she aims to demonstrate how editors at all levels can—as she has—follow their own unique “business voice” to become successful, creative, and even idiosyncratic business owners. If you sometimes feel that you love your clients and your work but hate your business, this session is for you!

Conference Sessions: Voice & Voices

The following sessions directly address the conference theme—as do some of the sessions introduced in the June blog post, and even one of the “business” sessions above. It turns out, voice is relevant in so much of what we do as editors.

Retaining the Narrator’s Voice: The Push & Pull of Correct & Respect

Julie McDonald Zander was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years before launching her personal history business, Chapters of Life, in 1999. In this session, she’ll discuss issues of voice that editors who work with memoirs, personal histories, and creative nonfiction often face. How do you preserve the narrator’s voice? How grammatically correct should a memoir be? What if a writer is politically incorrect? Learn Julie’s approach to the challenge of maintaining good grammar, clear writing, and an author’s unique voice.

Conlangs: Languages with Stories to Tell

Sea Chapman describes herself as a geek of many interests. Since 2006, she’s been editing fiction manuscripts, graphic novels, and visual novel and narrative game scripts. Her session will explore the invented languages often encountered in speculative fiction—and often poorly designed, according to both linguists and readers. You’ll learn about the history of conlangs (constructed languages), what makes a conlang believable, where to begin creating a language, and how to help your clients create languages that are effective for their purpose in a story.

Holding Space: The Importance of Helping African Americans Heal through Storytelling

Christy Abram is a best-selling author and founder of Brown Girls Write—a self-care initiative that helps women and girls of color heal through expressive writing. Christy says: “African American people have stories that are rich with joy, pain, and genius. Our experiences have nurtured broken hearts, healed wounds, and shaped generations, but our voices are often diminished, or even silenced. To fully understand black and brown narratives, allies must stand beside us, open to feeling their way through our narratives.” Come to this session to learn how.

True Confessions: What We Learn on Our Journey toward Inclusive Editing

Join your fellow editors at the end of the day for an open and honest discussion of questions, mistakes, success stories, and fears surrounding our work to build a more conscious and inclusive industry. Guild member Brittany Yost will moderate this discussion and Q&A with panelists Julie Van Pelt of University of Washington Press, Rachel Payne of The Pokémon Company International, and Viniyanka Prasad of The Word, A Storytelling Sanctuary.

Get Involved

Volunteer with the Guild

Ready to get involved? Don’t forget to register to join in the fun and learning—rates go up after July 31, and you’ll want to get your ticket early in any case. (The 2017 conference sold out, and this year’s conference may also.)

The conference committee members agree on this: working on a project together is a great way to get to know other editors and build relationships. And we need a few more conference volunteers. So if you’re interested in building relationships with fellow editors through service, email us at The volunteer roles we’re seeking will not affect your ability to attend your choice of conference sessions—but you may end up having more fun!

(Also, if you literally like to sing, please email us—when you do, we’ll tell you why.)

Donate to support conference scholarships

On July 21, we will be awarding our first Voice & Voices scholarship, which covers 50% of the conference registration fee. We will be accepting further scholarship applications (and donations!) through August 25, at which point we will award one or more similar scholarships—depending on the amount that editors like you contribute.

Anyone can support the scholarship fund, and donations of absolutely any amount—from $5 to $500!—are appreciated and make a difference. To contribute, please donate via PayPal at Include the words “Red Pencil Scholarship Contribution” in the comment field. (Please note that donations to the Northwest Editors Guild are not tax-deductible.)

For more information about the scholarship, and how to apply, email

Join the fun

We’re looking forward to seeing you all on September 21!


The seventh biennial Red Pencil Conference is on Saturday, September 21, 2019, on the campus of Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington, northeast of Seattle. Registration is open now at

Check the Guild’s website, Facebook page, LinkedIn page, or Twitter feed for updates, including reminders of the July 31 early bird registration deadline. Use the hashtag #EdsGuild2019 to start new conversations!

To feature your company or organization, email For questions about accessibility, email For all other inquiries, email

The 2019 Red Pencil Conference Committee is Polly Zetterberg, Ivonne Ward, Tori Smith, Barbara Mulvey Little, Tina Loucks-Jaret, Erica Akiko Howard, Lea Galanter, and Kyra Freestar.

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