Due diligence

Three-frame cartoon. Frame 1: A managing editor sits at his desk. Bespectacled editor is standing in his office, facing him. The managing editor says, "You barely changed anything.” Bespectacled editor says, “I suggest changes only when they’re needed. The author was clear and concise, and when I checked all the facts—“ Frame 2: The managing editor says, “And you’re invoicing for how much?!” Bespectacled editor says, “Well, as I was saying, I checked all the facts. Most of them were fine, but I did find a few inaccuracies, and I’m sure the author will appreciate—“ Frame 3: The managing editor says, “How could editing so little have possibly have taken you so this long?” Bespectacled editor, exasperated, says, “I. Checked. All. The. Facts.”
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Sometimes the most important editing is invisible, even to clients.

I’ll be leading a 3-hour seminar on fact checking for Editors BC in spring 2024. It will be online—open to everyone—and include hands-on exercises. If you have any burning fact-checking questions you’d like me to answer at that session, please get in touch!


An Editorial Cartoon, a collection of the first ten years of this webcomic, is available from your favourite online book retailer. One dollar from each copy sold goes to the Indigenous Editors Association.

Midlife No. 2 available to pre-order

Two years ago, before COVID-19 vaccines were widely available and when we were still mostly keeping to our homes, my old student journalism pals got the band back together, and over just four months, 27 of us wrote and self-published the essay collection Midlife.

The project gave us a unique, lovely way to catch up with friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen in two decades. Reading my friends’ witty, incisive, and poignant essays reminded me just how amazing these folks are and how lucky I’d been to have met them and worked with them when I did.

We made the book as a gift to one another but figured that others might enjoy the writing as well, so we sold it online and through a couple of bookstores. After selling out our first print run almost immediately, we reprinted it and even briefly ended up on the bestseller list in Edmonton, where we had all met.

Wanting to keep the creativity, collaboration, and social connection going, we embarked on creating a new collection of essays a few months after launching Midlife. But by that time, the world was opening up, some of us had to return to the office (and to the commute), kids were back at their after-school activities, and life got super busy again.

After writing and editing in fits and starts, and supported by a heap of patience, perseverance, and coordination from the collection’s editors, Sarah Chan and Jhenifer Pabillano, we’re pleased to announce that Midlife No. 2 is available to pre-order. On midlifebook.ca, you’ll be able to preview the book’s introduction and see the list of contributors and essays, as well as get a closer look at the cover illustration, another Raymond Biesinger original.

A purple book embossed with a silver foil M representing "Midlife." The M is an elaborate line illustration of a building with different rooms and people engaged in activities like shopping and gardening. The text next to the book says "Pre-order now. Release date November 24, 2023" Continue readingMidlife No. 2 available to pre-order”

Hands—and book announcement

Four-frame cartoon. Frame 1: Bespectacled editor sits at her desk and types on her computer. Frame 2: She raises her hands toward her face and stares at them. Frame 3: We see her point of view, showing her two spherical hands hovering over her keyboard. Frame 4: She says, "How the hell am I typing?"

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Time flies when you’re living in a slow-motion apocalypse! I can hardly believe it, but I posted my first cartoon about editing and publishing ten years ago.

To celebrate a decade of esoteric absurdity, I’ve compiled my archive into a print book.

Cover of the book "An Editorial Cartoon" by Iva Cheung. The image shows a black-and-white cartoon on a white background, featuring Bespectacled editor and Curly-haired editor sitting at a table with their laptops and chatting over coffee. Continue reading “Hands—and book announcement”

Angry Jelly Donut

Last fall I participated in the annual #Inktober challenge—drawing a picture in ink each day of October, based on a list of prompts. Although a lot of participants use the official Inktober prompt list, I opted to follow Janelle Shane’s AI-generated #Botober prompt list, and one of those prompts was for an “angry jelly doughnut.”

After I posted my attempt on Twitter, Steve Kleinedler (@SKleinedler)
replied, “This needs to be a children’s book, and the angry jelly donut needs to be pissed off all the way thru to the end. No transformation.” I said, “I smell a Kleinedler–Cheung collaboration,” and within days, I had a manuscript from Steve in my direct messages.

It took me a while to find the time to work on this hilariously absurd project, but I finally got it done, and you can download the accessible PDF of Angry Jelly Donut*, the children’s book, for free.

Cover of the book *Angry Jelly Donut*, story by Steve Kleinedler and illustrations by Iva Cheung. The image shows a golden-brown jelly donut with a spot of red jelly oozing out a hole in its side. The top is sprinkled with powdered sugar. The donut has an angry facial expression and is sitting on a green armchair in a room with blue walls and beige flooring.

If you’re interested in getting a hard copy, you can find an 8×8 hardcover or (adorable) 6.5×6.5 paperback wherever IngramSparks books are sold, including Bookshop.org (paperback; hardcover), Chapters-Indigo (paperback; hardcover), and Amazon (paperback; hardcover). If you’d rather get it from your local indie bookstore or library instead, be sure to let them know they can order the book via Ingram Content Group.

Want to show your allegiance to Team Angry Jelly Donut or Team Happy Vanilla Cupcake? Order a shirt from TeePublic!

Steve and I are donating $1 from each hard copy and shirt sold to charity, with half going to Indspire, which supports education of Indigenous children and youth, and half going to the Trevor Project, which offers suicide prevention and crisis intervention programs for LGBTQ youth.

I don’t really consider myself an artist, but I had an awful lot of fun creating the illustrations, and I hope they bring you a bit of delight, too.

Enjoy our ridiculous little book!

*Yes, I’ve retained Steve’s spelling of “donut.” He’s the lexicographer—take it up with him.

UPDATE, December 16, 2022: Steve and I made our 2022 donations to Indspire and the Trevor Project. We sold 122 books and 95 merch items in 2022, so each charity got the equivalent of US$108.50. Thank you to everyone who supported this silly project! We will continue to donate as we make sales, so if you know anyone who’d enjoy an Angry Jelly Donut book or shirt or mug or tote bag, be sure to visit your favourite online book retailer or the Angry Jelly Donut TeePublic store!

Bye, design

I’ve been firmly planted on the editorial side of publishing since my early days as a volunteer writer and proofreader at my student newspaper in undergrad, but my first paid gig in publishing was in production and design: after I moved cities for my MSc, I got a job laying out the student newspaper once a week at my new school.

I absolutely loved it. Continue reading “Bye, design”

Greg Younging—Elements of Indigenous Style

Gregory Younging is a member of Opaskwayak Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba and is a faculty member at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in the Indigenous Studies Program. He has an MA from Carlton University, an MPub from Simon Fraser University, and a PhD from the University of British Columbia. He was the managing editor of Theytus Books between 1990 and 2004 and served as assistant director of research for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Younging held a workshop on Indigenous editorial issues last fall for the Association of Book Publishers of BC (ABPBC), and it was one of the most edifying professional development events I’ve ever attended. I learned then that he intended to publish the Indigenous style guide he’s been organically compiling for the past couple of decades. Now that book is available for pre-order. Continue reading “Greg Younging—Elements of Indigenous Style”

Trena White—Trends in book publishing (Editors BC meeting)

Trena White, co-founder of Page Two, a full-service publishing agency specializing in nonfiction books, gave us a tour of some of the trends in trade book publishing at the March Editors BC meeting.

Subject trends, like adult colouring books, which peaked in mid-2016 or so and have since declined, or the imported Danish trend of hygge, which was particularly popular in late 2016, can be interesting but usually pass within a year or two. White wanted to focus her talk on the broader changes in the publishing landscape.

“Traditional publishing is great,” said White, in that the industry is committed to best practices in editing and design. But when White and co-founder Jesse Finkelstein launched Page Two in 2013, it was out of a recognition that traditional publishing, which tends to be technophobic and slow to react to change, doesn’t serve everyone or every book. There are legitimate reasons people might want to self-publish, and Page Two wanted to help authors and organizations publish professionally by fully embracing all things digital and being interested in changes in publishing.

White highlighted a few key trends: Continue reading “Trena White—Trends in book publishing (Editors BC meeting)”