It was great fun to volunteer at the EFA booth on a beautiful and warm Sunday in October at the Brooklyn Book Festival. When I first arrived, I felt like hiding under the table—I hadn’t seen that many people in ages … but I soon remembered that it’s fun to meet strangers who share interests! I spoke to several dozen people in my four-hour shift; the flow was just enough to keep us busy and engaged but not overwhelmed. In addition to writers and editors, I met people in other niches of the industry, like freelance web designers, marketers and lawyers who specialize in the book market.

As usual, having to explain the topic to other people boosted my familiarity—in this case, reminding me of all the neat resources accessible through the EFA that aren’t on my everyday radar. The excellent EFA collateral (brochures, handouts, bookmarks) made it easy to remember and point out the information to booth visitors. People especially loved a handout that lists EFA publication titles … They’d be reading and muttering, “Oh wow! Oh yeah!” Both with potential editing clients and potential EFA members (I’d say we saw about equal numbers, plus some people who straddle both categories), it was neat to talk for a minute and figure out what aspect of the EFA they’d most benefit from. For example, there were editors who might not be ready to join, but would want to buy an EFA booklet in an area of interest (which is how I first got involved, too; slow engagement over a couple of years). We got lots of email sign-ups. Two booth visitors who seemed like potential fits for my business took my card and have already been in touch.

Volunteers Katie Herman, Jen Rappaport, and a client
EFA staff member Vina Orden with Anita Mondello, EFA newsletter editor from 1988-1995

EFA Events and Communications Coordinator Vina Orden made the logistics of volunteering super easy, with very clear instructions ahead of time. It was lovely to meet and swap stories with other EFA volunteers. Fellow volunteer Katie Herman agreed, saying, “I had fun volunteering. It was great to get a chance to get to know some other EFA members in person, and we met some interesting people and even potential clients.”

Anna Schnur-Fishman
EFA Member and Events Volunteer