Like many word workers, I am a confirmed introvert. Being able to work by myself in my quiet office without the distraction of office chatter is one reason I chose to freelance. None of this would have surprised my younger self. What would have surprised her is that I have also learned to love in-person events—I can network with ease, give a presentation without breaking a sweat, and cheerfully spend hours at the EFA table at our sponsored events answering questions from authors and fellow editors.

This took practice, of course, and I’ve also learned that I need to prepare well and build in time afterward to rest. Volunteering for the EFA—first as a chapter coordinator, then as an event volunteer, and now as the Events chair on the Board of Governors—has given me that practice and training, and this practice and training is open to all of our members!

The EFA sponsors and exhibits at ten to twelve events a year, ranging from book festivals like Printer’s Row Lit Fest in Chicago and the Brooklyn Book Festival, to subject-specific events for specialized audiences, like the American Medical Writers Association Conference and the Association for Asian Studies. Our presence at these events helps bring in new potential clients to our Member Directory and Job List, as well as new members who will add their expertise and voices to our organization.

In addition to all of these benefits for the EFA, volunteers themselves get many benefits:

  • A chance to spend substantial time getting to know other EFA members, who often live in the same geographic area
  • The opportunity to meet new clients (we always encourage you to bring your business cards along!)
  • The potential to connect with organization and industry professionals in your field, which could lead to other opportunities, like speaking appearances
  • A broad sense of the kinds of conversations and questions trending in your industry
  • Photos and experiences that can be turned into social media or blog posts, adding to your professional credibility

Having an official role at an EFA-sponsored event means that you have an easy way to introduce yourself—and, in fact, many attendees and fellow exhibitors will approach you first. You’ll also get training, support, and talking points from us so you’ll feel prepared before your event. (We even pick up your lunch tab and your parking or transit costs!)

Even if you are fairly new to the organization or to editing or related fields, you might be surprised at how much you can offer. Volunteering can show you how much expertise you do have, as well as give you the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped someone along their path.

Here are just a few of the questions we answered at our most recent event, the San Francisco Writers Conference:

  • How do I know which of my manuscripts I should work on first with an editor? (It depends on your author goals, but potential editors can help you decide.)
  • What are standard rates for editing help? (The EFA has a soon-to-be-updated rates survey on our website.)
  • Would EFA courses help authors improve their self-editing skills? (They definitely could—and you might discover you’d love to edit the work of others too.)
  • How do you find the best match for your work among so many editors? (Look for someone who specializes in your genre or subject matter and ask for samples from a few editors.)
  • Do you have members who offer ghostwriting? (We sure do! You can search for ghostwriting as a skill in the Member Directory.)
  • What’s the ideal path to becoming an editor? (Join the EFA, take courses, and participate in the Discussion List, chapters, and other networking opportunities.)

We put out calls for volunteers to chapters and on the Discussion List, as well as emailing local members directly. Upcoming events in April include ACES in San Diego and the LA Times Festival of Books. Do you want to volunteer? Or do you know about an event close to you that you think would be a good sponsorship opportunity for the EFA? We’d love to hear about it!

Kristen Tate, Events Chairperson
EFA Board of Governors

Office Closed Monday April 8.

The EFA Offices will be closed Monday, April 8, 2024. We will reopen on Tuesday, April 9. Job postings, discussion list subscriptions, and other customer service requests may not be responded to until then.

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