Meeting Notes – July 14, 2016

Attendance

  • Brian Buckley (Coordinator)
  • Rebecca Neuman (Secretary)
  • Cheri Dellelo
  • Barbara Donohue
  • Renee Ergazos
  • Julia Phelps
  • Lori Paximadis
  • Samantha Enslen (Guest speaker)

Time

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Format

Virtual. Phone conference.

 

[In the notes below, plain text means the coordinator (Brian) is following a prepared agenda. Blue text is general discussion among the group. Green text is our guest speaker (Samantha).]

Opening comments

Welcome, introductions, etc.

Update on chapter news

Brief discussion of new conference call service, FreeConferenceCall.com, being used for this meeting.

  • Conference phone number and access code never change, exclusively for us, no reservations needed.
  • Why we changed from Google Hangouts – limit of 10 people for video, some lag due to Internet.
  • With this service, it’s possible to record calls as mp3s (although we’re not recording this one). What are everyone’s thoughts on recording calls?
    • Benefit: It’s easier to take notes. And we could upload mp3 recordings to website, so those who didn’t attend could listen.
    • Drawback: People might be less willing to talk or share ideas if it’s recorded.
    • Several people said they’d be fine with having meetings recorded.
    • Recordings, if put online, should supplement rather than replace written notes. People might not want to listen to an entire meeting recording afterward.
    • Is it possible to fast-forward through the recording when listening? Yes. Recordings are mp3s, so all standard audio controls apply.

New member – Mark Allen. Welcome!

  • Mark attended our last meeting, in April, in Columbus.
  • Mark has served on the board of ACES since 2012.
  • On Twitter: @EditorMark
  • Membership total is up to 15.

We now have a Chapter Secretary – Rebecca. (Thanks!)

  • Nobody called for a vote, so it’s official.
  • She and Renee both volunteered, and agreed to decide it with a coin toss, which Rebecca won.
  • Job: Take notes during meetings so they can be sent out later.

Go over our new website (http://ohioefa.org).

  • This is separate from our page on the official EFA site.
  • Purpose: A single, easy-to-access location for all our chapter information.
  • Sections
    • Welcome – Overview of who we are, invitation to join. Links to EFA and ACES.
    • Calendar – Past and upcoming meetings, or other events if we have them. Planning to add meeting notes as well.
    • Structure and Guidelines – The document sent out before, now available online.
    • Member Directory – Suggested at our last meeting. Photo, geographical location, links to EFA page and website. All this is publicly available information. If you’d like your information updated or removed, let Brian know. Stats at bottom of page.
    • Contact – Email for Coordinator and information about mailing list.
  • This website is just something Brian put together as a starting point. Always open to suggestions and ideas for changes, new content, etc.
  • Website looks good. No suggestions at the moment.

Go over our new mailing list (ohioefa@googlegroups.com).

  • Purpose: Lets any member easily email the entire group.
  • This is separate from the EFA mailing list – it’s just for us.
  • Brian will keep this current as members join or leave.
  • It’s for everyone, not just Coordinator. You don’t need anyone’s approval to send emails. Share news, events, useful or interesting links, things you’ve learned. (Like Cheri did with her Facebook page.) Ask questions. [But see discussion about mailing list further down, under “Discussion of where the chapter is headed.” This philosophy has changed somewhat.]
  • If you’re not on the list and would like to be, let Brian know, and he will re-send the invitation.
  • If you’d like to unsubscribe, instructions are on our website, on the Contact page.
  • A message archive (visible only to members) is available. Link is on Contact page.

Next meeting will be in October, in Cleveland. Brian probably can’t organize it because he and his wife are expecting their first child around that time.

  • Judy and Cheri have both volunteered to help. If you’d like to assist, let them (or Brian) know.
  • Renee also volunteered to help, and will contact Judy and Cheri.
  • If anyone knows of a good location for a meeting in Cleveland, please let us know.
  • An email will follow soon, asking about which dates and times work best for everyone.
  • Can we use this meeting as an opportunity to recruit more members, especially in the Cleveland area? Yes, definitely. [Further discussion on recruitment below.]

Discussion of EFA events and resources

EFA national conference in New York, Aug 29-30.

  • If anyone is going, it would be great to hear about their experience at our October meeting.
  • Rebecca and Lori are planning to go.
  • Barbara has gone in the past and found it very valuable. She especially liked a session on helping freelancers prepare résumés.

Discussion of EFA classes that are available.

  • Barbara has taken some in the past, including one on the basics of copyediting. A lot of material, very good quality.
  • Brian took the developmental editing courses (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) last year, and also found them intensive but very good, with a lot of individual attention. Worth the $350.

EFA booklets Brian received in the mail.

  • Booklets are available on the EFA website under Resources, following the link to EFA booklets. The most recent ones are marked NEW. Available to buy via Lulu.
  • Seven new booklets sent to all chapter coordinators (including Brian) recently, for free. About 50 pages each, official EFA branding on covers.
  • Titles:
    • Freelancing 101: What You Need to Know to Run a Successful Business by Michelle Dalton
    • How to Prepare Your Book Manuscript in Word by Iris Bass
    • Building a Freelance Client Base by Grace Murphy
    • It’s All About the Niche by Cheryl Smith
    • Should Freelance Editors Charge by the Hour or by the Project? by Jon Harrison
    • Post, Share, and Tweet Your Way to the Top by Susan Hughes
    • Freelancing as a Business: 7 Steps to Take Before Launch Day by Katherine Pickett
  • Brian’s thoughts:
    • Having these booklets seems like a good idea. But the booklets themselves were disappointing, unfortunately.
    • They don’t appear to have been copyedited – numerous glaring errors in grammar, punctuation, formatting, etc.
    • “Rough” appearance may be because these are display copies rather than final versions. Not sure.
    • Content seems rather basic (i.e., aimed at less experienced editors). Might be valuable for editors (including chapter coordinators) to better understand areas of editing they’re not as experienced in.
    • Lori agrees that booklets seem to be low quality.
    • An earlier booklet, Making Word Work for You, was not helpful.
    • Recommended as a better alternative for learning about Word macros is Jack Lyon’s book Macro Cookbook for Microsoft Word.
  • Brian will bring the new booklets to the next meeting.
  • Idea: Everyone attending the next meeting should bring along any books they’ve found especially useful. Enthusiastic response to this suggestion. Specific books mentioned:
    • The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn (now in 3rd edition).
    • The McGraw-Hill Handbook of English Grammar and Usage by Mark Lester and Larry Beason.

Talk by guest speaker Samantha Enslen

Samantha, from Dayton, Ohio, is the founder and president of Dragonfly Editorial.

Her main topic was how she started Dragonfly and the challenges she faced along the way.

Initially she just planned to be a freelancer, not to start a company. But she began to get client requests for more work than she could take on personally, and she didn’t want to say no, so she brought in other editors. As the business grew, she hired someone part-time to do invoices. Other positions were added. Today, Dragonfly employs about five full-time employees and contracts with about thirty freelancers.

At one point, when the business was doing very well, she began to increase spending. The following year, profits were much lower, which made finances difficult. Lesson learned was to be careful with spending and not expect next year to be like the last one.

What has been your strategy for growth?

Growth has been largely organic, and fairly gradual, as opposed to following any strict strategy. Word of mouth has been the biggest driver. Little formal advertising per se. Going to conferences has also been very valuable, especially for making business contacts, letting others know that Dragonfly exists.

How did you learn how to run a business? Did you have any formal training?

Mostly on-the-job informal training, learn-as-you-go. But she did get some business training from a Dayton-area nonprofit called Aileron.

Have you cold-called any clients?

Not really. Cold-calling may work for some, but Dragonfly has typically built on prior existing relationships.

Do you personally still do any editing?

Very little. Mostly just very small jobs, or jobs with a major time crunch.

Thanks to Samantha for giving this talk!

Discussion of where the chapter is headed

What do we want to get from this organization? Do we want to be only about quarterly meetings, or do we want to be something more? How do we make this a resource that’s really valuable for all members?

We have interest, energy, willingness to participate. What do we do with that?

Brian would like to put together an action plan, a document that outlines specific actions (based on everyone’s thoughts and input) that our chapter will take over the next year to become more valuable to its members.

Ideas:

  • More discussion via mailing list?
  • Email discussion topics once a month? (e.g., What challenges have you had with clients recently, that would be useful to share?)
  • Chat in a chatroom once a month? (No agenda, talk about anything.)
  • Have a separate web forum?
  • Remember, we have an annual budget of $700. Anything we’d like to do with that?
  • Brian should talk to the EFA national organization and ask what other chapters are doing.

Want to volunteer? Several people have volunteered already (Rebecca as Secretary, Judy and Cheri and Renee for Cleveland meeting, others as well). Ideas for how volunteers might help:

  • Keep track of events and opportunities going on in Ohio and update the group.
  • Speak at a meeting, or find a speaker.
  • Recruit new members – anyone can invite someone new.
  • Send out a quarterly newsletter? Could be small, even one page.

Thoughts/discussion?

  • Recruiting – It’s easy to find EFA members who live in Ohio, via the EFA website. Can we reach out and invite them to join?
    • Good idea.
    • We could divide up the state into regions and assign someone to recruit in each region.
    • Invitations should probably come from Coordinator so it feels “official” – more likely to get a response.
    • Maybe a chapter member for each region could make a list of people to invite, possibly creating a somewhat personalized email for each person, which the Coordinator could send from the official chapter email address.
    • Recruitment strategy could be the topic of our first monthly discussion.
  • Discussion is fine, but we already get lots of emails from many sources, including national EFA group.
    • Probably better to restrict our mailing list to official announcements, and have discussion somewhere separate, like a web forum.
  • Web forum ideas
    • EFA national group uses Yahoo currently, but there’s been negative feedback on that. Rebecca attended (via webinar) the EFA’s annual meeting on June 15, and they announced they would be moving to Vanilla Forums in the fall. Few additional details. [Possibly not everyone on the call heard this part, due to technical difficulties.]
    • Could Google Groups work for this? Possibly. Might only be available for people with a Google account, though, not sure.
    • Brian likes Reddit as a discussion tool – just an idea.
  • People liked the idea of doing an informal chat in a chatroom once a month.
  • Willing to try different ideas and see how it goes.
  • An email will follow soon to build on this discussion and get more detailed feedback.
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