The EFA’s 2,800+ members work primarily—but not only—in the publishing and communications industries. They include skilled:

  • writers
  • editors
  • copyeditors
  • proofreaders
  • researchers
  • picture researchers
  • desktop publishers & designers
  • indexers
  • translators
  • other communications professionals


If you need words on any subject, the EFA’s experienced freelance writers can write them—anything from a book-length project to an annual report to a short newsletter article. Our members also write magazine and journal articles, advertising and catalogue copy, speeches, technical manuals, and anything else. Our members can create original material, rewrite or rework existing material, collaborate with others, or ghostwrite.


Editors do it all. Their primary job is to take the words and turn them into your final product, but editors also manage projects and hire the writers and other contractors. In fact, the editorial function is so broad that many editors are specialists:

  • Developmental editors develop a book or other project from the initial concept onward, working closely with the author or client to study competing works and create a product that stands out.
  • Also called project managers, project editors see a project through from start to finish. They supervise and coordinate the editorial process and when necessary hire copyeditors, proofreaders, indexers, and other editorial workers.
  • The terms substantive editors, content editors, and line editors are often used interchangeably for editors who make significant changes to a manuscript, such as rewriting and reorganizing the text.
  • Production editors see the manuscript through the production process, starting with the edited manuscript and ending with approval of the final product. They also often hire other editorial staff, such as copyeditors and proofreaders.


The role of the copyeditor is as broad as it is important. Copyeditors correct spelling, grammar, usage, and punctuation, check cross-references, and prepare the style sheets that guide consistency and accuracy across the manuscript.


Proofreaders check the text for errors, including typographical errors and problems with typesetting specifications and page makeup. They compare the latest stage of the project to earlier stages and make sure changes have been made correctly.

Researchers and picture researchers

Researchers find information to support the writing of a work or to verify information already supplied by the writer or editor.

The job of a picture editor is to arrange for photographs, drawings, maps, and other illustrations, and to negotiate permissions and fees for the artwork that is used.

Desktop publishers

Desktop publishers use personal computers and design and layout skills to create materials that are ready for publication. The client often (though not always) provides the text, and the desktop publisher then creates a design, lays out the pages, formats the text, adds the illustrations, and creates the final product. Many newsletters, brochures, and other short publications are done using desktop publishing.


Indexers create the index—an alphabetical list of references to important terms and concepts in the text. This work is usually done near the end of the project when the final layout is available.


Translators re-create a work, published or unpublished, from one language into another, or review a translation for overall consistency or tone as well as accuracy.

Other communications professionals

A growing number of members specialize in corporate communications, practicing a broad range of skills—writing, editing, graphic design, proofreading, fact checking, and more—to produce business-to-business, in-house, and consumer materials.