IFTTT and how to use it – a screencast This is also my entry for the screencast challenge

So earlier on in this post I explained that IFTTT saves me a lot of time looking for work opportunities. And people at the conference wanted me to explain more about IFTTT and how to use it in detail.

At the same time Malini Devadas and Hilary Cadman challenged us all to try screencasting so I thought this was a perfect way to try and screencast a quick explanation of how to build an applet in IFTTT.

I am rather soft spoken and stilll figuring out how to get my headset mic to record me at a louder volume so please use headphones when watching the following video:

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So here’s step by step instructions for IFTTT:

  1. Sign up via email/Google/Facebook for an account with IFTTT. It’s free.
  2. The bits of the IFTTT equations you create to get things happening are called applets for some vague weird reason unknown to mankind. IFTTT also needs you to connect to your Gmail/Facebook/Twitter – basically any program you want it to use to get info from or put info into. It calls these services.
  3. So you are going to make an applet that says if condition A is met in Service A then make condition B happen in Service B. It’s simple logic.
  4. Go to My Applets and click on New Applet.
  5. Click on the +THIS part of the header.
  6. In this example we are going to go through Twitter looking for call outs for editors so we click on Twitter. Presumably you have connected to your Twitter account by now otherwise you get a pop up so you can do so.
  7. It gives you a series of what information you want to get from Twitter to fulfill condition A.  Choose New Tweet From Search.
  8. It then asks you what search parameters you want and I typed in “editor wanted” 
  9. You then go to the +THAT part of the equation and choose how you want the info from Twitter to be saved or what you want to happen. I chose Google Drive. 
  10. I then chose Add row to spreadsheet and chose to name it Example, add in that it should include any links within the tweet itself and then saved it.
  11. After setting up an applet, it can take an hour to get started with its searching so in the screencast, I show you an example of what it will look like using a similar search I created for the words “pitch” and “writer” and also show you how it can show retweets of the same tweet and how it can pull in other things as well. So it is by no means perfect but it does help me and it might help you. 
  12. Please play around with it and adjust it to suit you. Maybe you have different search terms, maybe you want it saved in a different format.

Other notes on using Jing for screencasting:

  1. Jing only saves in SWF format. You may need to use another program to convert the SWF file format to a video file format.
  2. You may have to fiddle a bit in the settings to get it to recognise your microphone because apparently I am a bit too soft in the above video despite wearing my headset mic.
  3. You can place the screencast.com link for each video straight into the body of a WordPress or Facebook post and it will automatically embed the video for you so you don’t have to go to Screencast.com to view it. That’s what I was able to do for this post.

Tell me what you think of the video. What other videos do you want me to make with Jing about editing or freelancing or other such things? How can I improve on them? Do you need me to explain more things about IFTTT?

Building alliances – a panel on organisations working together

So I was asked to be on this panel about building alliances which mostly came about because I had previously contacted IPEd with ideas about how IPEd and MEAA could collaborate.

The panel consisted of myself, representing all things MEAA, Juliet Rogers of the ASA, Sherrey Quinn from ANZSI, Queensland Writers Centre’s CEO Katie Woods and the Rosanna Arciuli from the Copyright Agency.

In a nutshell we definitely agreed on several points:

  • It was vital for us to band together on several big theme issues because there was power in numbers no matter which organisation spearheaded the issue and campaign.
  • Such big theme issues that we cared about were copyright issues and PIRs amongst other things.
  • Other issues were centered around pay and working conditions for freelancers and diversity within the industry in both editors and authors published.
  • We also agreed that it was worth creating some sort of alliance so that members could learn from each other across oganisational lines but also so that no one reinvented the wheel when it came to professional development because resources could be shared.
  • We wanted some sort of practical action to start happening.

Karen Lee, IPEd’s CEO, pointed out that the new structure and her strategic plan meant that she had to ensure that practical action started occurring because she had targets that she had to meet by doing so.

I would like to make some points here that I did not get to make due to a lack of time during the session itself:

  1.  Do not stress that practical action is not being taken if you aren’t immediately or constantly informed of it. At this stage all this involves a lot of discussions with various people in each organisation to figure out what can be achieved and how and then how quickly and what resources are needed. Until specific plans are put in place to achieve the goals we set ourselves after discussion, it is mostly all going to happen behind the scenes. For example, if I have an idea during NFC (National Freelance Committee) I go ahead and chat to them about it, we come up with a plan and then I go back and tell freelancers, ok this is what is happening.
  2. Most of this stuff will involve for the most part various commitees and sub-committees getting together and working out plans of action. This involves people volunteering their time and energy to be on such committees and help out. When said plans are ready, then they will be explained to members so that members can do whatever is required to move them forward if needed, such as signing petitions or things like that. That is generally how these things work and if you want to be in the know, the best way to do so is to involve oneself in a committee. This is the only way I find out anything before a sudden campaign launch email turns up in my inbox. It’s the only way I also ensure plans are logical and that the pathway to said goal makes sense.

And since many of you asked inbetween panels and sessions, here’s some info on MEAA to help you all out with general union related queries:

  1. MEAA is an union with several sections: Media, Equity, ECS, Musos and so on and as editors you fall under Media at the moment.
  2. You can only join one union at a time. IF you feel your current union does a good job of representing you when going through negotiations or enterprise bargaining agreements or gives you good advice about contracts and other things etc, THEN stay with your current union, whatever it may be. IF NOT, THEN consider MEAA as an option to switch to.
  3. Your workplace cannot and should not dictate which union you get to belong to. You get to choose. Choose one to suit not your role title but to suit the work you do in your role – a union that understands what the nature of your job is like and what it may require. Interview various unions – call and ask them if you need to.
  4. You also do not NEED to join an union. It is entirely up to you and I will never ask you to join MEAA.
  5. MEAA used to have a reciprocal fee arrangement with the different Editor Societies and we need to rejig that again with IPEd post transition so perhaps hold off for awhile till we sort these things out. The prior agreement was taking the IPEd fee out of the MEAA fee.
  6. MEAA’s Media section fee structure is based on your income for the year. At the lowest level, the least I have paid was $300 or so but there is a nifty calculator on the MEAA website that allows you to work out what you would pay in fees.
  7. MEAA’s freelance rates card was created by taking into account what mid level career journalists would make in-house in 2012 and making a freelancer version of that level. It’s not for entry level, it does not always seem plausible and I, personally, think that $150 per hour for an editor is more likely in the ballpark than $215 but also feel it needs more finessing to figure out an easier means of recommending a rate. I do however agree with a rate per word of between $0.60 and $1 per word for writers – this is viable and should be adhered to as much as possible. As I said at the AGM plenary and the panel session, MEAA has said to me that they want to revisit and update the rates card and I think this is something that IPEd should collaborate and offer input on.
  8. The Book Industry Award as I understand it was created in collaboration with MEAA in the distant past, put forward to Fair Work through whatever due process was required and is now on the Fair Work website who handles it. MEAA merely has a copy of it under Member Resources on their website but does not have any dealings as far as I know with updating it. I would like to know if it is perhaps time to revisit the award and check if it is relevant to pay rates and conditions in 2017.
  9. MEAA is focusing on freelancers in its strategic plan for the next two years. I would like to include editors in that by representing them at NFC and Federal Council and National Media Section. To do this, I need to consult with IPEd. I also know that there are members of IPEd who are currently MEAA members so if they can let me know any specific issues and concerns they have that MEAA can fix or help with, then I can ensure that happens. There may be issues that are specific to editors only, there maybe issues that MEAA is already tackling on behalf of freelancers that happens to be relevant to editors too.
  10. MEAA has a Freelance Pro option – basically that means that you can just join as a member, freelance or not, and access all the usual benefits but if you want public liability and professional indemnity insurance, then you can add a little extra on top of your fee and get designated as a Freelance Pro member and get the insurance. It will require you to spend an extra $250 or so every five odd years to attend a media law class to keep the insurance but this may be waived for editors so let me go verify that with someone and get back to you. But if you see Freelance Pro anywhere, that’s what that means. You can however just join as a member and be designated a freelancer and not pay anything extra – you don’t miss out on any benefits, don’t worry.

Things to start with that I think we can start collaborating on (I did say I had a list):

  1. Reciprocal fee agreement or an agreement on alliances.
  2. Revising recommended pay rates together because even if we can’t set a legally required pay rate, minimum or otherwise, just yet, then at least all the organisations have the same information on recommended pay rates when clients find them on Google. We have already agreed to set up a group to look into this and I will discuss with MEAA and see how best to proceed.
  3. Sharing resources particularly resources on freelancing, finances, negotiation techniques, promotion, technology, marketing and other business related topics.
  4. Promotion of members and services across organisations.
  5. Allowing for cross-organisation advocacy or resources to train people to do so or provide information they need.
  6. Creation of Josephine Brown’s amazing idea for an Editor’s Week.
  7. Forming a coalition/alliance/bloc to work on big issues together. Allowing members to access resources from organisations across the bloc as needed perhaps.
  8. Revisiting the Book Industry Award to see if it is relevant.
  9. Conducting several surveys into pay rates, work details and mental health conditions across IPEd members and MEAA members to see if award conditions and rates are being adhered to and if there are gender or race based gaps present in terms of wages and conditions.
  10. Working on means to encourage and include diversity in both media and publishing sectors in terms of who is published and who is working.
  11. Creating guidelines like the MEAA’s Code of Ethics for how editors should think about and treat diverse people in their work practices and offering training and assistance where needed to understand how to avoid unintentional appropriation, ableism, sexism and racism.

NOTE: Not all these ideas may be workable and even if they are, some may take some time to put together and get going. But they are a start I think. We have a lot to discuss.

So:

  1. If you have an idea for collaborating between IPEd and another organisation, please leave it in the comments below. Let’s start discussing what we can do.
  2. If you are both a MEAA and an IPEd member AND happen to be a freelancer, I would like to invite you to join the National Freelance Committee (it’s just email and Skype) and help me make sure that the editors’ concerns are included in whatever we do.
  3. IF you have questions, consider me your MEAA rep for editors and email me.  Or leave a comment. Seriously. I can help sort things out for you or get in touch with people who can help you.

Screencasting for editors by Malini Devadas and Hilary Cadman Because it was easily one of the best sessions available at the conference

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a session on screencasting. I have screencast before using different software programs and edited videos for Youtube. And I was a bit puzzled as to how all this could be used by an editor for the purposes of editing. Or as part of a business.


Part One of the presentation was telling us what screencasting was. And what is wasn’t. Screencasting is basically like taking a screenshot but instead of an image, ending up with video as the result. Video of whatever may be on your screen at that time.

I am aware of people using screencasting for gaming purposes to showcase what playing a game is like when they review it or run a walkthrough. I have done this myself.

But I used different software. Malini and Hilary had found Jing – a free tool from the people at TechSmith for making 5 minute screencasts. They walked us through the simplicity of creating such screencasts and uploading them somewhere where they could be shared with others via a link.

Part Two was a list of dos and don’ts for the most efficient use of screencasts. These were a list of simple things: don’t ramble, be short and succinct and repeat information, keep it to about two minutes max if possible and so on.

Part Three was really interesting. This was where they got everyone to discuss with each other how they would use screencasts. People got very excited. They felt they could use screencasting to explain to clients why certain changes had been made or use screencasting to train people on using certain parts of software. Malini and Hilary even suggested using screencasting to create e-courses with short snippets of video inbetween for demonstrations or to spice up a blog post.

I will spice up my blog posts in future but not this one just yet. I have plans for my first such non-gaming screencast.

Part Four was telling us about the next step up where you could pay a bit of money and invest in a good microphone and different editing and screencasting software so that you could embed a second screencast of yourself or add in music and effects.

They ended with a  screencasting challenge to all of us: to create and post a screencast within the next week of something, anything in a particular online group and that the best one would win a picture of a trophy.

All in all, it was quite an entertaining session. And I have another idea for screencasting: social media promotion. But you will have to wait to see what I mean. I have a trophy to win.

My thanks as always to Malini Devadas and Hilary Cadman. But what would you use a screencast for? Leave a comment below.

Evolving tools for digital publications: Stephen White’s presentation at IPEd 2017

This session was really eye opening. Stephen started with the question of what exactly constituted a digital publication. What is a digital publication? 

He urged us to think beyond text alone on a page. Digital publications can include maps, atlases and other interactive works online or offline. 

But there is a problem with editing such works. While the tools to create and deliver such works exist, there often are no simple functions built into the tools for the ease of editing the information in the work. Information within the works has to be pulled out, edited in other software and pieced back into the work, looked at in context with other pieces of information and then if needed, be taken out to be edited again before being put back together. This messy workflow only gets more complicated when graphics and additional layers of information for interactivity are also included or required in the work. 

Stephen’s question was simple – was there a program out there – either an add on or standalone software that could allow easy editing while within the work, where changes and comments could be tracked and linked to points in any dataset or database that came along with an interactive work or atlas or map? 

And if there wasn’t anything available, then why not? Why not develop something that could do this even if only for a very niche market? 

The question and answer session indicated that there might indeed be some proprietary software developed for exactly this problem in use in some states government departments already but it was unclear whether it fit the specific needs of Stephen’s department. There was also much consideration as to how best to develop it whether it would be best to involve additional functionality in the existing content creation programs or create a new program to run concurrently. 

If you have any ideas, please leave a comment. Keep an eye out for more updates from the conference as well as a wrap up. 

Mentoring writers as an editor and writer Notes from my panel session on mentoring at #IPED2017

This blog post is intended to be a summary and cheat sheet on my part of the mentoring panel on 15 Sept 2017 at the IPEd 2017 Conference in Brisbane.

Proceedings will be published online by the conference organisers so you can always check those out for more information but here are my tips, tricks and my experiences of mentoring writers as opposed to mentoring editors.


First, a definition of mentoring and what I mean by it: I don’t mean actively editing a writer’s work but more reading it and discussing how they go about developing the story, how they go through the process and if it’s a business/practice related mentorship, how they can achieve goals they set for themselves. To edit work, you would have to hire me as an editor not a mentor. As a mentor, I provide a person to chat to and someone to guide you.


  1. Writer mentees are usually (for me, so far) in one of two general camps: “How do I run my business/practice better?” and “How do I tell a story about ___/ in this form/way?”

  2. When it’s the former category, they usually want to know more about freelancing, finances, marketing, opportunities, grants and so on. When it’s the latter category, they want to know more about the process of writing, the practice of it and have a lot of questions and ideas about all of it.

  3. I try to ensure that there is a goal for each mentee to meet. If they have a long term goal, I try to make sure that the process is broken up into steps or phases and that the first goal of the first round of mentorship is getting to the end of phase one. A short term goal that perhaps they can meet within two or three months.Goals have to work with the mentee’s individual personality in terms of schedule and energy and time and pace. That has to be taken into consideration. Goals also make sure that when other things come up in the process, I can ask the mentee if they feel said other things will detract or help them achieve the goal, if they can be postponed till the goal is achieved or if the goal needs to be altered.

  4. Writers seem to come to me because they see me as someone approachable, successful (thanks, I think), because I run it all as a business or attempt to and because they know I also work as an editor and can use that insight as well. This is just something I have noticed. Editor mentees will come to me for something very specific that they think I am good at – usually something to do with technology or social media.

  5. My writer mentees tend to turn up right at the start of or partway through writing the first draft of a specific work. This is useful to me and probably the best timing. If you turn up with a first draft done, then you need me as an editor not a mentor per se for the writing or storytelling process unless you really have mucked it up. Most complete first drafts I have seen generally have some sort of intended story structure that you can see though.

  6. I often have to dismantle misconceptions about how easy it is to make money as a writer or be a bestseller or whether one should have a drug or drink of choice while writing or whether one should wait for the muse or whether having put words down on paper is enough and one is immediately a literary genius. And then there is the “if I can’t get it out perfectly the first time then I am not a good writer and shouldn’t write at all.” concern.The best way to deal with these is to be honest and to have some humour thrown in. I try to size up each person and judge how they will take feedback but in the end if they can’t handle a misconception being corrected, it will be hard for them to pursue writing.

    It’s my job to be honest and critique politely and with care – it’s the writer’s job to take criticism and feedback gracefully. But there are few people who expect you to manage their emotions and emotional reactions for them by being nice to them to the point of dishonesty and I cannot do that.


  7. I read work and ask a lot of questions. A lot of questions. I find this is one of the best ways to get the writer to think about their work or story and also one of the best ways for them to figure out where the story will go and what will happen next and what they want or need to change and what they want or need to keep. Ditto for anything to do with business related goals.

  8. Sometimes the mentorship requires that I am there to hold the mentee accountable for a schedule they want to keep to or just to be the person who understands the field and practice and can discuss any issues the mentee has, bring up possible potential consequences for them to think about and just listen.

  9. All decisions about work and writing are left up to the mentee to make. It is my mentee’s business and my mentee’s writing, not mine. I want my mentees to have the courage to try and to fail and to try again. So while I can discuss issues with them and point out potential options, the ball is entirely in their court and they are always free to try something out and come back to chat to me afterwards.

Do any of you have any insights into the mentoring process either as a mentee or mentor yourself? Let me know in the comments below. And if you liked the panel session, tell me all about it.


And if after all that, you want me to mentor you as a writer: $50 per hour or $1000 for a block of 20 hours to be used within a three month period.  If you are looking for mentoring as an editor, I am happy to help but it is useful to go through the IPEd Mentoring Scheme.

Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellowship 2017 Report – Annabel Blay A year in the US looking at the role of the editor in commercial fiction

Every two years, one lucky editor gets to go on an all expenses paid research trip to work with publishers in the US as part of the Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellowship and this past year it was Annabel Blay.

Part of the Fellowship involves speaking at the next IPEd Conference on what the outcome of the research was and presenting a report to IPEd that is made available to all members and the public.

Annabel Blay wanted to see what the role of the editor was in commercial fiction in the US and compare it to the role in Australia. In point form below are some of the things she was able to cover in her presentation at the IPEd 2017 conference.

  • She found that having a larger market to sell to both domestically and internationally meant that there was a lot of money around and that this possibly explained some of the results she found.
  • She also found that the role of agent differed – that quite often they took on the responsibility of multiple edits of an author’s work prior to it being presented to editors in-house at publishers.
  • Editors working in-house did commissioning work, liasing with agents, project management and acquisitioning and other such work as well as doing line editing and copy editing work.
  • There is a pressure to look for the next buzzbook and there is a greater volume of work in the pipeline to get through which leads to a blurring of lines between work and non-work hours with editors resorting to various means to do get their work done as soon as possible.
  • Editors in-house or freelance working with publishers do several more rounds of edits with authors, up to about eight even after an agent has done about three rounds prior.
  • There is a notion that the career pathway is that people must get a college degree and then take on internships, often unpaid, to work their way up from the bottom.
  • Freelancers seem to have more resources than those in Australia do. There are more organisations to support them with professional development. (There are unofficial and official organisations in Australia that editors may not be aware that they are eligible to be members of).

You can read more of her findings in her report on the IPEd website.

Freelancing panel at IPEd 2017 The cheat sheet/summary notes for the freelancing panel

I’m not necessarily going to write these notes out in order but here is a quick run down of my bootstrapping for a freelancing business.

Use tech to bring freelancing work to you:

I find that my work comes through being the first person to email someone as soon as an opportunity comes up. I also find it useful to work across time zones.

So how do you bootstrap this? And for free?

Facebook groups: figure out which group has the most posts for the sort of work you want to do popping up and change its settings so that you are notified by Facebook of new posts popping up. You also should tell people you know what you are looking for and let them know to tag you whenever they see a useful or relevant opportunity.

Twitter: Using IFTTT, you can set up a little applet/sequence of commands, that states that each time a tweet matches a certain set of criteria such as the words “need an editor” or “editor wanted”, a copy of the tweet is saved into a Google Docs spreadsheet along with any links in the tweet as well. You can then log into the spreadsheet from time to time and go through the list. This method will have a lot of repetitions especially if someone retweets a tweet so be prepared for that. But it means you have a means of capturing information that you would otherwise miss in all the Twitter chatter and it allows you to respond when you have time.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn’s job search function will also let you save searches that match certain criteria and you can set it to alert you each time it finds something that does match it. You can then receive the alerts via the LinkedIn Job Search app or via email and go through to the post on LinkedIn.

Sites with RSS feeds: An RSS feed is a summary of posts on a site, usually used for blogs but in some cases for websites too. Some job sites have an RSS feed. You can specify search criteria on the site and then use the relevant RSS feed along with IFTTT again to put it into a spreadsheet that will automatically update itself and you can then go through it at your leisure.

Sites without RSS feeds: Sign up for newsletter updates if possible and set up a filter in your email inbox that signals it as important, puts it into a set folder or stars it or all of the above. You can also, using IFTTT, set it to alert you on your phone as soon as you get such an email.

Mailing lists and email networking groups: Sometimes I get news of a job opportunity via email from the freeline oz network or other groups I am part of. I then tell IFTTT to notify me as soon as a new email from such networks comes through so that I can respond as fast as I can.

Other options: Slack is a messaging service and I use it with some journalism clients to respond quickly to work they need people to take on. It can pop up in my browser and tell me if I am working on something else even when I don’t have it open.

Booking clients for meetings:

I can often only see clients on certain times on certain days. Rather than going back and forth via email, I send them to Calendly which is a scheduling app. Doodle is also another good one.

They are able to see my free times and days and pick a slot that works best for them. The appointment goes into my Google calendar and confirms it with them and I don’t have to do anything. I can also then use IFTTT to search for such appointments and set up times beforehand for me to use to prepare for them.

You used to be able to schedule appointment and meeting times straight into Google Calendar with all this functionality built in but this has been moved into the paid Google For Businesses section.

Calendly also allows you to ask a few questions upfront as the client makes an appointment such as what sort of services do they need and so on. If you keep a client mailing list, you can integrate Calendly with IFTTT and any mailing list software that you use such as MailChimp.

Accounting, billing and tax time when freelancing:

Billing: I use an online cloud based app called Rounded. It’s not free but it is very affordable and it is built specifically for Australian freelancers. I use it to invoice clients and it keeps track of people who haven’t paid and allows you to send quotes and reminders and it then also totals your income and expenses and calculates GST and presents you with a lovely profit and loss statement come tax time.

This allows me so much time because I don’t have to fill out invoice templates any more. I can track hours and bill by the hour as I go and it will update an invoice. It allows me to bill by word if I want to or add a specific cost in.

There is also Billings for Mac which is a very good option as well though built with US small businesses in mind.

Super: I set up and automate weekly deductions into my super. This allows me to claim the co-contribution payment at the end of the financial year. $20 per week is enough to get the $1000 you need in order to get $500 from the Federal Government.

This seems like very little but your fees for managing super are usually around $2-300 and so the co-contribution means it can pay for your fees and a bit extra and you can keep more of your own money in super working for you. I also recommend changing the investment pattern with your super and choosing how to invest it and letting it do its thing.

General finance stuff: Please put your money into a savings account, ask your bank manager for a higher interest rate with no fees on that account (St George’s Bank will give you 3% per annum) and then withdraw a set amount of money to spend per week and make it an automatic transaction into your checking account whether it is $50 or $250 or more per week that you think you will need for expenses apart from rent/mortgage and bills. Pay your bills out of the savings account and set up a debit card to use for business expenses that takes it out of the savings account so it is easier for you to track your business expenses but you aren’t tempted to use it for personal expenses.

Every three months look online to see who has the best interest rate offer and if you find a better deal, discuss it with your bank manager to see if they can beat it.

Set up bills to be automatically deducted. Use your credit card very sparingly or only for emergencies or try to get rid of it alltogether. All this should ensure you save as much as possible, earn as much interest as you can and spend as little as you can.

Promoting myself and my freelancing services:

Every single time I publish a blog post, it goes out to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Some of these things are built into WordPress’s functionality. Some aren’t.

When they aren’t I use IFTTT to make sure that they go through. This ensures that some of my Facebook page posts go through to Twitter. And if I have images I post them on Instagram so that they can go through to Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr automatically.

It saves me a lot of trouble with having to make sure I post each new article or blog post on each social network.

I also use IFTTT to automate certain messages – I ask people regularly what they are up to at the start of each week on LinkedIn and I post political updates on Twitter using IFTTT as well.

I try as much as possible to automate the parts of social media where I am providing information to people or making it accessible. See a writing gig? Set IFTTT up to retweet it for example.

It’s important to remember that you should not automate any part of a social media conversation that needs you in it and communicating. I do have to get on and chat and be myself – the people I am speaking to on social media don’t need just a robot, they need some genuine interaction too so while this does save me time I am very careful about exactly what sort of communication I use it for.  So if I write an original social media post in my own words, I can use IFTTT to push that through to other platforms and networks but automating a message to turn up at a set time each day or week as some sort of routine can’t be done all the time on every platform.

I also use a hacked together system of IFTTT and Google Calendar where it regularly reposts or shares older blog posts of mine. You can pay for this to be done using an app like MeetEdgar but it is rather expensive so I hacked together my own but it is still a work in progress.

This would theoretically save me time because I can then ensure new audiences get to see my blog posts and come visit my site and see my services.

Back up and other odds and ends:

Make sure you scan and back up all documents to an online folder like Google Docs/Drive or Dropbox. This allows you to have important documents ready and right there when you need to apply for something online or send them to someone. It gives you a back up in case of emergency but is also safe even if your computer crashes.

I also use IFTTT to back up all attached documents I receive in my email inbox to be saved to Google Drive so I never lose anything from a client.


That’s the end of my specific topic on the freelancing panel. I will be adding notes I took while the other speakers were chatting in a few minutes to the end of this blog post, so please check back again as I have a lot to say about what they had to say too.


Robin Bower’s notes on promoting oneself and other tips and tricks

Robin Bower had an awesome model of “Sand, River and Ocean” whereby you set yourself up with a website, three social media platforms and a free incentive for people to join your mailing list. The Ocean section of that is about going out and building a profile by guest posting on other sites and answering questions on Reddit and Quora so that people can be aware of your expertise.

You can also check out her website and a PDF of tips and tricks.

IPEd 2017: Workshops, whirlwinds and welcome Because it isn't a good conference if I haven't forgotten something.

Today is sort of the first day of the IPEd 2017 conference. Sort of but not quite.

There are lots of things that have evolved into traditions over the years with this conference. One of them is the running of workshops the day before the conference actually starts.

So today there were workshops on marketing and freelancing and technical aspects of editing. From all accounts they were wonderful – unfortunately I didn’t get to attend any this time around.

But I needed that time.

I had landed in Brisbane sans business cards. And so after brunch committments, I had to have a catch up meeting with fellow IPEd 2017 panelists and speakers and then go pick up business cards. New business cards that I managed to put together and order online in the morning from ePrint Online who were absolutely fantastic at dealing with my last minute panicking. And were also very affordable. Do drop them a line. They do ship across Australia.

After fixing that I had to fix my hair. So I did and then promptly ended up in a windy part of Brisbane climbing up a hill to get back to where I’m staying to get dressed. Bye bye curls.

Another tradition at IPEd Conferences is the welcome cocktail function the night before. Hence the dash to get curls in the first place. Must have curls. And cards. And cute cocktail dress.

The welcome party gives everyone a chance to meet and allows us to put faces to names before we are too rushed the next day. Because such is the nature of such a conference.

And it was exciting to see more diversity in the room at IPEd 2017 this time. I found another Sri Lankan – editor Niranjala Hillyard, a few East Asian heritage editors and Wiley publishing turned up with 20 people in tow including one of my fellow women of colour activists who for some unknown reason decided to surprise me with the fact that she was attending IPEd 2017.

Hella Ibrahim from Wiley Publishing and I at the IPEd 2017 Conference cocktail function in Brisbane
Hella Ibrahim from Wiley Publishing and I at the IPEd 2017 Conference cocktail function in Brisbane (c) Hella Ibrahim.

Let’s do a roll call of the cool people I met whose names I can remember after one glass of champagne: Robin Bennett, Janet McKenzie, Renee Otmar (whom I missed), Niranjala Hillyard, Hella Ibrahim, Robin Bower, Michele Drouart, Kate Hawkins, Belinda Pollard, Mary Jo Rourke, Sally Aniscar, Ted Briggs, Elizabeth Speigel, Ruth Davies, Karen Lee, Malini Devadas, Stephen White, Phil Bryant,  Georgiana and Anna, fellow representatives from WA … ok I give up now. There were lots of you. I will recall and recognise people over the next few days. Slowly.  Some of you I haven’t seen since IPEd 2013.


The rooftop bar at the Rydges at Southbank was packed.

Ruth Davies had a great little speech welcoming us all and reminding us of the land we stood on and letting us know that the entire committee had beauty queen sashes with “Miss ___” on them. We managed to find Miss Communicate, Miss Direction and Miss Manage but there’s more I hope to spot during the conference.

Angel Strings gave us beautiful background music of jazz classics and standards rendered with cello and violin.

It was a great start to the conference. I will try to blog as much as possible during the conference if I can but I will tweet and instagram as well so follow me and the hashtag #iped2017 to keep up. Ten minutes after each panel I am on is over, there will be a cheat sheet/summary of my presentation on this blog so remember to check back.

And if you have photos of the conference, my camera on my phone isn’t great, send them my way and I will give you credit and drop a note in the comments below.  If you have a blog you want me to link to as well and I have mentioned your name up above, please leave a comment and I will link to it.

Amanda Jay’s The Other One is a Fairway Literary Award finalist! Which means two of my authors have been shortlisted in a row.

Ok, first things first, who is Amanda Jay?

Amanda Jay is a Sri Lankan writer – Amanda Jayatissa – who wrote a book titled The Other One.

I edited it earlier this year and she decided to self publish it in both e-book and hard copy format. It’s not doing too badly sales wise.

But yesterday she got the news that it was shortlisted for the Fairway Literary Awards in the English Language section.

The Awards are handed out to the best literary work by a Sri Lankan author in each of three languages -Sinhala, Tamil and English every year as part of the Galle Literary Festival in January.

Rewind to January 2017 and a book I edited two odd years ago for Theena Kumaragurunathan called First Utterance won in the English language category.

And now, seven months later, another author of mine, Amanda Jay, has been shortlisted.

If she wins in January, that’s two authors in a row.

And of course I am excited for my authors. Definitely. But I am also excited for me.

Every time an author wins an award, it’s a bit of reflected glory for the editor and publisher. Apart from the Rosanne Fitzgibbon Award for Editorial Excellence administered by IPEd, there is no “Best Editor of the Year” award that I know of.

And I have been lucky – this year has seen two books I worked on win awards and accolades and now Amanda Jay’s The Other One shortlisted so far. In 2014-5, it was Jane Rawson‘s Formaldehyde being one of the winners of Viva La Novella.

Each time an author wins or is recognised, it’s not just “Yes, we all knew they wrote a good story.”, it’s also “Yes, I did the right thing as an editor when working on it.”

I hope that makes sense in explaining how awesome this is, of course for Amanda Jay, but also why I am so thrilled. I actually called her while on the street, yelling excitedly and getting quite a few strange looks. Congrats again Amanda, you are making me look very good! 🙂

You can buy Amanda Jay’s book on Amazon. Read it and let us know what you think.


If all this has got you thinking, “Wait, I have a manuscript.” that’s great. I do hope it has inspired you. But I am not magic, I cannot guarantee awards or prizes. But I am doing something right.  If you still are keen after that disclaimer, I do still offer editing services.

IPEd Conference 2017 is next week and guess who is going? Pssst. It will be me.

Marisa Wikramanayake waiting to present during the IPEd Conference freelancing workshop in 2013

Yay! I am off to the IPEd conference!

And then of course you would ask “Yeah, ok Mari, what does IPEd stand for?”

IPED: Institute of Professional Editors. Professional society of editors working either in-house or freelance throughout Australia.

Basically, once every two years, somewhere in a state capital, the IPEd conference is set up and run by the local branch of IPEd. In 2013, it was our turn in Perth and yours truly was the IPEd Conference convenor. Yes. There is a video on the about me page. Go watch it. We were cool.

In 2015, the IPEd Conference was in Canberra but I could not go. I was all things IPEd Conference burnt out.

But this year, the IPEd Conference is in Brisbane and not only am I going but I am also speaking! On three panels! Upon my word and honour!

So if you are going to the conference and you want to come and catch up with me or come and meet me, you are most welcome to and here is where you can find me:

13 Sept: Wednesday night – I will be at the welcome cocktail function at the Rydges Southbank
14 Sept: Thursday morning  – I will be on the freelancing panel.
Thursday night – I will be at the gala dinner.
15 Sept: Friday morning, find me on the huge building alliances panel.
Friday afternoon, find me on the mentoring panel.
Every morning and afternoon tea and lunch break I will be somewhere warm and near the food. Please take note of this. Food will be key.

If you will be attending the conference, the hashtag is #iped2017 and the program is here.  I won’t be liveblogging the conference unless I have energy after having deep meaningful thoughts but I will be livetweeting and instagramming so make sure you follow me on @mwikramanayake and @marisa.wikramanayake to keep up.

You can definitely talk shop with me, take photos of me and all that stuff. And if you are going to be there, please let me know and leave a comment below. It will be awesome to keep an eye out for you. Also ask me about my manuscript because it is looking for a home.