From the President
by Stephanie Holt AE
What a pleasure to welcome November, with lockdown finally behind us. I hope the chance to see friends and family so much more easily has meant some joyous and meaningful gatherings. Perhaps you’ve even had a chance for some face-to-face work with authors and clients, or have met new colleagues in the flesh.
As the state opens up, we’re lightening up our branch offerings, and stepping up social and celebratory opportunities. How lovely to just chat and reconnect, to compare experiences and share opportunities. Regional lunches, editors’ drinks and an end-of-year picnic are on the way, COVID-19 safely, of course. Some dates to note:
Sunday 7 November for afternoon drinks in Melbourne
Thursday 11 November for a Castlemaine lunch.
Sunday 5 December for a Melbourne picnic.
Thursday 9 December for a Zoom celebration.
TBC for a Gippsland gathering.
TBC for a Ballarat gathering
TBC for Geelong gathering
And if you’re a writer with a new (or new-ish) book to celebrate, don’t forget to send me some details to include in our end-of-year book promotion activities. Our focus is particularly books whose launch or promotion were compromised due to COVID.
COVID-19’s broader impacts on the profession are already emerging — if you didn’t see Tim Coronel’s October speaker meeting on Zoom, you can catch up by purchasing the recording or wait for the report in next month’s Gatherings.
Our final speaker meeting for the year is coming up with Roz Bellamy. Roz is a writer, researcher and Editor-in-Chief of Archer magazine, a leading publication on sexuality, gender and identity. This promises to be a fascinating and instructive session.
And for our student members — or any interested students among your friends and family — we’ll be running a student Zoom or two. All editing, writing and publishing students are welcome, both members and non-members. Keep an eye on EdVic emails, tweets and Facebook posts for details and reminders. Best wishes to our student members as you tackle any final exams and assignments.
There’s plenty on offer to keep you engaged and challenged. But if you’re like me, you’re also filling your calendar with movies not seen, bands not listened to, friends you’re desperate to hang out with and favourite places to finally visit again. And realising you need to retire a few favourite comfy outfits and spruce yourself up for the silly season that’s almost upon us.
Enjoy it all.
Stephanie Holt AE
EdVic is pleased to welcome our new student member, James Ferris.
We look forward to seeing you at our workshops and events and encourage you to make the most of IPEd’s networks for news and support.
October speaker meeting report: Pooja Desai — Editors and the design process
by Margaret Trudgeon
Pooja Desai presented a fascinating talk on picture-book design, taking about 60 attendees on a journey through the various aspects of graphic design from imparting some basic design principles to briefing a graphic designer, and how an eye-catching cover is created.
Pooja mainly works with children’s books, an area that offers the designer a rich landscape within which to practise their craft. This award-winning designer is currently Head of Design at Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing. This year she won an award for Best Design and Children’s and Young Adults series from the Australian Book Designers Association.
Pooja began by describing the design process, taking us through the steps from acquisition through development and storyboarding to the design brief, roughs, feedback and eventually the final product. We discovered many people have input into the first stages of creating a book — marketing, sales, design, publishers and editors. In the early stages, the publishing house needs to consider where the book will sit within the market, consider its possible competition, and work out who will buy it and what sort of design direction to take.
For in-house designers, their journey begins here as they work alongside the editor, publisher and author to develop the manuscript and make some decisions on aspects such as the title, which can have a big impact on the cover visual.
Storyboarding, the next stage, is carried out on computer these days. Here, the elements can be quickly altered and moved around, thus speeding the process for all involved.
Pooja showed us some examples of design briefs, and shared images of the covers of several picture books, enabling us to see the progress of a cover design from first rough sketch through to the final cover art that would appear on the published book. She took us through some of the thought processes that go into creating the final version, and introduced us to some basic design principles used to create the best result. It was fascinating to see the many changes and tweaks as ideas were distilled into the final product.
Book covers are made up of several elements. The title and illustrative components are the main ones, but other things to consider are composition, balance, contrast, size and placement. Designers work closely with the publishers and in-house marketers to tease out the elements that will make a final punchy design — the one that makes the customer want to pick up the book and take a look inside.
Pooja talked about her freelance experience, saying it had been a lot less satisfying for her than working in-house. She found she had much less influence and input in the early stages and found the design process more time-consuming and problematic as she struggled to develop ideas that would please the in-house team and move the process on.
At the end of her talk Pooja answered a wide range of questions from the audience. We certainly got a great insight into an aspect of making books that many editors can only dream about.
Upcoming EdVic events
Keep an eye on your emails for invitations and booking links to these upcoming EdVic events:
November speaker event, Thursday 25 November at 6pm
Addressing gender and sexuality as editors, with Roz Bellamy.
This event will explore how editors can best support inclusion and diversity, particularly for LGBTIQA+ writers and readers. Roz will discuss keeping up with evolving language and commissioning, working with and publishing diverse writers. Roz will draw on their experience with magazine and online editing to explore what respectful, inclusive and safe practices around gender and sexuality might look like as an editor.
Roz Bellamy (they/them) is a writer, Editor-in-Chief at Archer magazine, Sub-Editor at Broadsheet and a PhD candidate at La Trobe University researching life writing. Roz’s memoir, Mood, about gender diversity, Judaism and mental illness, is forthcoming with Wakefield Press in 2022. Roz’s writing has appeared in Growing up queer in Australia (Black Inc), Going postal (Brow Books), Living and loving in diversity (Wakefield Press), The Big Issue, Going down swinging, the Guardian, Kill your darlings, Meanjin, Overland, SBS, Seizure and the Sydney Morning Herald.
End-of-year picnic, Sunday 5 December at 1pm
Fitzroy Gardens (near Cook’s Cottage), East Melbourne
EdVic invites you to a members’ picnic in the park to say a firm farewell to 2021.
The picnic will comply with any public health restrictions in place at the time and you will need to register to attend. Check your email for the invitation and further details. We look forward to seeing you there.
End-of-year event, Thursday 9 December at 6pm
Save the date to celebrate with your fellow members, having survived another challenging year. More details to come.