The EFA’s 3,000+ members work primarily—but not only—in the publishing and communications industries. They include skilled:
- project managers
- researchers / fact checkers
- desktop or digital publishers and designers
- beta readers
- sensitivity/authenticity readers
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. Note that the terms “developmental editor,” “substantive editor,” “structural editor,” and “content editor” overlap and are sometimes used interchangeably for editors who identify and/or implement different large-scale strategies for improving a manuscript.
- Line editors work at the sentence or paragraph level of a project. Like copyeditors, they correct errors, but their main focus is on improving the language and style of the text. Line editing may be performed as a separate service, in conjunction with developmental editing, after big-picture issues have been addressed, or in conjunction with copyediting.
- Permissions editors verify the copyright status and ownership of works requiring permission to republish (written material or images whose copyright is held by someone other than the author) and either advise the author on how to obtain these permissions or acquire the necessary permissions on behalf of the author.
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.
Project managers focus on projects that are already in the production workflow (as opposed to those still in the initial or developmental stages) and work to push the project toward completion. They may supervise and coordinate the editorial process and, when necessary, hire copyeditors, proofreaders, indexers, and other editorial professionals. In some fields, this position is referred to as “managing editor” or “production editor.”
Researchers / fact checkers
Researchers / fact checkers find information to support the writing of a work or to verify information already supplied by the writer or editor.
Desktop or digital publishers and designers
Desktop or digital publishers and designers use software 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.
A beta reader is an individual who reviews a book manuscript, offering feedback to the author, and identifying errors, plot issues, inconsistencies, or unclear sections in the manuscript. They serve as a test audience, representing the target readership, and can provide insights on overused tropes or missing elements. Additionally, beta readers with expertise in the subject matter can be consulted. Although beta readers need not be professional editors, many of our member editors offer beta reading services. However, the process of beta reading should not replace the other elements of the editing process.
Sensitivity/Authenticity readers review a manuscript for statements, portrayals, or perspectives that might offend, upset, or misrepresent people from a given group. Sensitivity/Authenticity reads are generally performed by members of the community referenced within the work. The purpose is to avoid misrepresentation of groups and the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes.
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.
For a more granular breakdown of a range of editorial skills, see the definitions of editorial services used for the 2020 EFA rates survey.