Lessons learned from ACES VCON 2023

I love virtual conferences. Not only does it mean I can catch what I want to view and still balance work obligations, but it’s so much more affordable. Plus, I network and meet with so many more people from around the country (and sometimes globe) instead of just those who could make it from the area.

This year’s ACES Virtual Conference was no different, In fact, it was better than last year, thanks to the extension to a three-day event. I couldn’t go to every session that interested me and look forward to catching up on recordings of them (another pro to virtual conferences.)

The sessions and panels I did catch during breaks and lunches this year planted seeds for how I want to grow my freelance editing business including:

If any of these topics pique your interest or you want to learn more about what editors do, ACES is a great organization to join. Even if you are not a member, you can still sign up to participate in next year’s ACES VCON, usually announced in spring.

“When Niching Down Isn’t for You”

Speakers: Genevieve Clovis, Tanya Gold, Emily Stewart, and Carolina VonKampen

This session made me feel -so- seen, much like the one on being a Multipotentialite, someone who thrives on following whatever makes their brain light up, that Emily spoke in an editing webinar before.

My skill set did not grow from the traditional editor English degree to working at a publishing house line. I am a web nerd with a journalism degree with a knack for plain language after working on government websites. I have technical skills and aptitudes that could be helpful for certain clients. However, it’s difficult to balance showing my Cheesecake Factory menu of skills with helping potential clients find out if I’m a good fit for their project. Turns out, that is an okay problem to have. I don’t necessarily have to hide everything but my editing skills for editing jobs. In fact, I could see my technical experience branching off into helping indie authors with self-publishing formatting.

“The Secret Sauce to Becoming Invaluable: Add a Dash of Instructional Design”

Speaker: Hilary Kirchner

Successful instructional design is the creation of educational materials that grab attention and help people retain what they learn.

Turns out, I’ve been doing this with website content for years! Need to know how to use my job’s content management system? Here is a guide filled with screenshots and step-by-step info after you take my class or watch videos from previous ones. That checks a lot of boxes in terms of reaching people at their learning style and giving them easy ways to refresh their memory.

Editors can do the same thing by suggesting alternative formatting (especially with non-fiction where there are usually opportunities) or giving their clients guidance on what they help with. Instead of a big wordy list of things to do, what about a graphic that guides your through the editing process?

Really great insight that helps build upon my interest in providing a myriad of services to keep my own brain engaged with the work.

“The Coaching Instinct”

Speakers: Caroline Malloy and Nadia Pupa

I love teaching, editing, and writing. Turns out, coaching writers through the process is not only an actual thing, but something that hits on all of those loves of mine! Although it is not in the budget to get another certification for at least another year with a big cross-country move coming up, I am very interested in getting certified as a book coach at some point. This will not only be fun to learn more about (and help with my own writing) but also be another great addition to my book service options.

Talks on empathy

It was wonderful to see so many sessions on editing with different groups in mind including:

These are all on my list to check out after work in the coming weeks to give myself time to take notes and learn.

Especially the conversation on editing and writing without creating food and weight stigma. I have a feeling I will be getting a lot of great insight into why those topics make me cringe when diets are the central portion of a story.

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