Nothing can beat the thrill of attending an editors’ conference, and if your first conference also happens to be an international one, it is the icing on the cake. In June 2015, I attended Editing Goes Global in Toronto, the first international conference held by the Editors’ Association of Canada.
Once I was back home from Toronto, I was trying to figure out a way to get Indian editors together on a common platform. The thought was partly motivated by my burning desire for continuing professional development. I wanted to keep myself updated and also combat the isolation that Indian freelancers often face.
On June 28, 2015, I started the Indian Copyeditors Forum on Facebook and added about 35 editors to the group. The forum is open to freelance and in-house editors and other publishing professionals (writers, indexers, designers, abstractors, journalists, content editors). Slowly, I started receiving requests to join the group, mostly from STEM editors. Those who joined invited others they knew. Now, the group has a fair share of all kinds of editors.
Some of the forum members decided to meet at the Delhi Book Fair in Pragati Maidan on August 31, 2015. There were five of us, three of whom I was meeting for the first time. We were excited to meet fellow freelancers, one of whom had come a fair distance from Bhopal. We discussed each other’s work and possible opportunities for collaboration.
This initial meeting was followed by another at YMCA Delhi on October 3, 2015. We were glad that Isobel Stevenson, an international editor whom I had met in Toronto, was able to join us, as she was in India for a book launch. She explained how being a member of an association had helped her become a better editor and had provided work opportunities.
Meanwhile, we were also approaching other editing associations, asking whether they would be willing to have an international chapter in India. We knew that it would take a lot of time to form our own organization and that we should collaborate with other organizations to spread awareness about editing in India. We received a positive response from the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA), and National Capital Region (NCR) Delhi was recognized as the first chapter of EFA outside the United States. We had our first EFA meeting on October 31, which was attended by four EFA members and three nonmembers. We discussed the benefits of being a member and also the wonderful EFA booklets that we had received just a day before the meeting.
To reach out to more editors, we started the Indian Editors website (indiancopyeditors.wix.com/
In March and April 2016, the group members met again to discuss how we should take the group forward by registering it as a formal body. We have also been discussing the need for training and certification. The example set by these meetings in Delhi has encouraged editors in other cities to gather. Meetings have been held in Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, and Gurgaon, allowing editors to get acquainted and share their working methodologies, concerns, tips, and techniques. One of the EFA NCR Delhi chapter members traveled to attend the Gurgaon meeting.
Members have benefited a lot from the information that is posted in the forum. The best compliment I have received came from a member who said that she no longer faces isolation as a freelancer. We have received tremendous support from editing associations all over the world in our quest to form a registered editing association in India, and we are coming closer to realizing our dream with each passing day. The Indian Copyeditors Forum has managed to connect editors of all kinds of material — scientific/technical/medical, news, fiction, journals, books, Web content — and to create opportunities for work and professional development. That is why we decided on “Connecting Editors, Creating Opportunities” as the group’s tagline.
Vivek Kumar is a professional freelance editorial services provider specializing in medical editing and based in India. Visit the Indian Copyeditors Forum on Facebook or the Indian Copyeditors website. Find Vivek on LinkedIn, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.