2019 Conference Topics and Speakers

Communication Central’s annual Be a Better Freelancer® conference, held every autumn, offers a wealth of information and resources for colleagues seeking to launch or improve their editorial businesses. Presentations by experts in various aspects of the field range from the practical, such as using key tools of the trade, to the conceptual, such as developing marketing and networking systems. This year’s conference, “Gateway to Success,” is co-sponsored by the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) and will be held October 11–13, 2019, in St. Louis, MO — the historic Gateway to the West!

Each conference day (8 a.m.–6 p.m. Central time, Friday, October 11, and Saturday, October 12, 2019) features continental breakfast, two concurrent morning presentations, lunch and networking time, two sets of two concurrent afternoon sessions each, and more time for networking. Dinner outings will be arranged (not included in registration fees).

On Sunday, October 13, there will be a workshop (additional fee) from 9 a.m.–12 noon on “Freelancing 101,” presented by Meghan Pinson.

Conference topics and presenters include:

Friday, October 11, and Saturday, October 12                 

• You Oughta be in Visuals: Make Your Social Sizzle to Fire Up Your Freelancing, Walt Jaschek

Most of us are “word people,” but nowadays, it’s more and more important to promote a freelance business through visual media as well as the standard networking, social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.), website, press releases and other traditional efforts. Video content is expected to make up 80 percent of all Internet traffic by the end of 2019. Learn how to use video, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, podcasting and similar visual outlets to get the word out about your skills and services. This lively session will get you excited about adding visual elements to your promotional efforts.

• Finding and Working with Independent Authors, Dick Margulis

Independent authors might be the best, and fastest-growing group of, clients for many freelancers to work with, especially because many will pay for skills and services in editing, proofreading, design and layout, and publishing. Learn how to build up your freelance business by finding clients in, and structuring effective, profitable working relationships with, this sector of the publishing world.

• New Angles in Editing, Marilyn Schwartz

Those who revere Amy Einsohn’s classic Copyeditor’s Handbook will be thrilled to know that the University of California Press has published a new fourth edition, substantially revised and updated, along with a new companion workbook that includes many new exercises. The Handbook has long served as a valuable resource for writers and an essential reference for editors and proofreaders at every stage of their careers and in all areas of editing. Get the insider’s take on both the timeless wisdom of this beloved text and some critical new angles in editing that are explored in the revised edition and its accompanying Workbook.

• Working with Word/Acrobat, April Michelle Davis

Whether we like it or hate it, Microsoft Word remains the big dog on the word-processing playground and we all have to use it for writing, editing and proofreading work because it’s what most of our clients use — but using it effectively still presents challenges for many freelancers in publishing. Acrobat is also becoming a standard for not only proofreading, as it was originally designed for, but editing as well. Learn how to make the most of these essential tools, including practical tips and shortcuts/macros, educating clients unfamiliar with the programs, and rescuing documents from those dreaded crashes.

• Build a Better Website to Promote Your Freelance Business, Meghan Pinson and Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

It’s become common knowledge that freelancers need websites to build and support their business efforts. Find out why, and learn how, with tips on how to name your site, what to include, what not to do, how to make your site — and your business — look their best, and how to generate traffic through effective search engine optimization. If you don’t have a website yet, this session will get you started. If you already have one, this session will help you make it better at promoting your business and laying the groundwork for better interactions with clients.

• The Art of Persuasion: How to Get Paid What You Deserve, Jake Poinier

Getting paid what we’re worth is a challenge for freelancers both new and established. There always seems to be a new twist in how clients try to pay less than we expect or think we have earned. Pick up on practical, effective insights into positioning yourself with clients to ensure you generate the fees, rates and overall income that your experience and skills deserve, including tactics for increasing rates from current clients, developing referrals and more.

• Get it in Writing!, Dick Margulis and Karin Cather

The very idea of a contract for freelance editorial work scares many of us silly, so we often agree to projects without having agreements or contracts in hand. That can work — but it can backfire. The authors of The Paper It’s Written On (developed as a result of a previous Communication Central presentation) — one long-time freelance editor/book developer and one attorney/editor — will walk you through why a contract is important and what to include in one.

• The Business of Being in Business, April Michelle Davis

It takes more than good writing skills, a sharp eye for typos, a love of reading, the ability to alphabetize, a cellphone camera, etc., to be a successful writer, editor, proofreader, indexer, graphic artist or any other freelancer. Succeeding means taking seriously the concept of being in business. You can be brilliant at what you do and still fail if you don’t set up your freelance effort as a business and treat it as a serious venture. Find out how to incorporate key business skills and tools to make your freelancing a success — or a bigger and better one.

• Effective Résumés for Freelancers, Rose “JobDoc” Jonas

Even in these days of online visibility through websites, LinkedIn profiles and similar ways to tell the world how great you are in your freelance niche, you often still need a résumé. Crafting one that works is a challenge, especially for those turning to freelancing after (or while still) working in-house. Find out what does and doesn’t work so you have the right document at hand whenever you need it.

• Your Best Publishing Option: Traditional, Hybrid or Entrepreneurial, Roger Leslie

As a freelancer, you decide how your books come to life. Knowing the key elements of book production, marketing and distribution direct you to the best publishing option for you. Choosing the publishing route that best suits your time, money and energy empowers you to do what you love most as your business and brand grow from a colleague whose goal is to help you “Live the Life You Dream.” Writers can use this session to get their work published; editors and proofreaders will find the session helpful in understanding how to work with aspiring authors.

What Freelancers (Can) Do, Panel Conversation

You don’t have to be a writer or editor to freelance. Learn about opportunities for proofreaders, graphic artists, website developers, indexers and other types of freelancers — and resources they can use for success.

Sunday, October 13

Freelancing 101: Launching and Managing Your Freelance Business, Meghan Pinson

Freelancing is a dream for so many people nowadays, and the “gig economy” is only expanding as time goes by. Learn when and how to launch and manage your freelance writing, editing, proofreading, indexing, graphics or other publishing business to minimize the risks and maximize the advantages, along with tips about balancing work and family, among other important considerations.

For information about this year’s speakers, go to Speaker Bios.

If you have questions, feel free to contact Communication Central here or use the contact form.

Read Testimonials here

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