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Should You Join the Editorial Freelancers Association? 5 Factors to Consider

Evan Jensen

Have you heard of the Editorial Freelancers Association? It’s an organization that’s been around for more than 40 years, created to help connect writers and creatives.

Because the truth is, writing often feels like a lonely endeavor.

You know, like you’re in the middle of a deserted island. And the only people you really talk to include your family, your clients, and maybe even a volleyball named “Wilson.”

Organizations for writers like the Freelance Writers Den and the Editorial Freelancers Association, are designed to help freelancers level up, make connections, develop skills, and even find work.

The Freelance Writers Den, created by MALW founder Carol Tice, has helped thousands of writers move up and earn more over the last decade.

But what about the Editorial Freelancers Association? Should you join this organization for writers? And what does it have to offer to help you build your freelance career?

We took a closer look at the EFA. Here’s what you need to know.

What is the Editorial Freelancers Association?

Back when traditional journalism and publishing were going through an industry-upset about four decades ago, two editors joined forces to form the Editorial Freelance Writers Association.

The goal: Provide a collective voice for writers, editorials, designers, and creatives and improve networking, job searches, and professional development.

Membership fees: You can join the Editorial Freelance Writers Association as a guest for FREE, and get limited access to EFA content, tools and resources.

With a paid membership (it costs $145 for two years + a one-time $35 processing fee), you’ll get full access to the EFA platform.

EFA membership: Who’s it for?

Maybe you’re looking for a writer’s organization to help you build your freelance business.

Maybe you’re tired of working in isolation and want to connect with other freelancers.

Or maybe you’re kind of on the fence, and not sure if joining an organization for freelancers makes sense.

The Editorial Freelancers Association might be a good fit if you’re:

  • A freelancer (writer, editor, proofreader, graphic designer, copywriter, etc.), looking for help to build your freelance business.
  • A publishing professional or marketing director looking for a network of creatives you can hire for full-time, part-time, or contract projects.
  • Looking for networking opportunities to connect with other freelancers and professionals in writing, publishing, marketing, and content creation.
  • Want access to training and job leads to help you build your freelance skills, compare market rates for freelance work, and find potential clients that pay pro rates.

editorial freelancers association

Find a writer organization that fits your needs

If you’ve been looking for a writer organization to join, chances are pretty good, you’ve experienced at least a little information overload or analysis paralysis.

There’s a lot to consider. Maybe the Editorial Freelancers Association is a good fit for you. Maybe it’s not.

After all, there’s no shortage of organizations for writers, editors, and creatives.

For example, some writer organizations take a broad approach to support writers and have a diverse audience from newbie to experienced.

Others are industry-specific with a defined member demographic and a more narrow scope of tools and resources.

EFA membership: 5 factors to consider

If the Editorial Freelancers Association made your short list of writer organizations to join, you’re probably wondering if it’s ultimately the right fit for you.

The truth: Most writer organizations have at least few things in common.

On the fence? Trying to decide? Here are 5 reasons writers, editors, and publishing professionals use the EFA:

1. Find freelance writing jobs

With a paid Editorial Freelancers Association membership, you’ll get access to the Jobs List. It’s probably the EFA’s most popular feature.

If you’re new to freelance writing, that probably sounds pretty good.

You know…a curated list of jobs for writers, and all the details to apply or pitch an editor.

“There is only one site I know of that has jobs paying $30 to $75 an hour for writing and editing…the Editorial Freelancers Association,” says Emmy award-winning writer and producer Terry Irving. “The reason it has better jobs is that you have to pay. Once you get in the door. you’ll get 3 to 4 serious offers a day.”

Here’s the reality of any job board…

You’re just one of many. You’re competing for a small list of jobs with hundreds or even thousands of other writers.

It’s not uncommon for an editor to get hundreds of applicants for a single job posting or project.

Even Reedsy found that the EFA jobs board isn’t an ideal resource for writers:

“While the EFA advertises high-quality job postings, it doesn’t offer a high quantity of opportunities.”

It’s really just the nature of most job boards, including the EFAs.

TIP: If you want to find freelance work, there’s nothing wrong with using job boards. But it shouldn’t be your only method for finding clients. Tapping into your network and pitching editors can open doors most job boards can’t.

2. Get publishing help

So you want to write a book and get it published. Maybe you already have a manuscript but need an editor. Or maybe you’re looking for help to get help with a book cover design, Kindle formatting for Amazon, marketing, etc.

Where do you find the right people with the skills and talent to help you go from an idea to a published book?

Since you’re here…there’s the obvious choice: Self-Publishing School.

But it’s not the only resource you can use to find an editor to help you put your book through the editing and publishing process.

“As far as where to find a qualified editor or proofreader, check Editorial Freelancers Association or American Copy Editors Society,” says freelance writer Dianna Graveman.

Looking for an editor? Graves recommends the following:

  • Ask how much the editor charges per word or per hour for the type of service you require.
  • Expect to work out a payment plan (typically half up front, and half upon completion).
  • Ask for at least one or two references and/or a link to a portfolio.

TIP: Instead of trying to publish a book on your own, getting help from others who know the ropes can help you speed up the process (like from zero to published book in 90 days). Tapping into a network like the EFA can make it easier to connect with writers and editors who can help you navigate the publishing process.

3. Compare freelance rates

How much should you charge? What are your rates? Per project or per hour?

In the world of freelance writing, this question comes up a lot. And frankly, a lot of new freelance writers undercharge and undervalue their services.

Just check out content-mill sites like Upwork and Fiverr where writers are taking on projects for peanuts. And stop undercharging…OK?

If you’re trying to figure out what the going rate is or what you should charge for a freelance project, the Editorial Freelancers Association has a useful resource.

Every year, the Editorial Freelancers Association contracts with Venture Research Associations to survey writers and get a snapshot of what current freelance rates are:

How much should you charge for writing and editing services?

Or what should you expect to pay if you were hiring a writer or editor?

“A great resource would be the Editorial Freelancers Association,” says writer, editor and book designer David Kudler. “Not only do they have a database of professional editors of all stripes,…but they maintain a rates list that serves as a standard for the industry, and that should give you a sense of the range that various services should cost you.”

TIP: Here’s another resource to help you set your rates: Freelance Writing Rates: What Hard-Working Writers Earn in 2020

4. Network with other publishing professionals

One of the big challenges freelancers often face is working in isolation.

And COVID-19 only increased the freelance workforce and number of writers working from home.

But that doesn’t have to mean you’re all alone. You can still grow your professional network through social channels like LinkedIn and professional organizations.

“The Editorial Freelancers Association has a member directory that lists thousands of publishing industry professionals,” says freelancer Carol Peschke.

TIP: Most professional organizations encourage networking through forums, events, and training. If you’re trying to grow your network, reach out, ask questions, participate, and offer to help others.

5. Improve your skills

There’s at least one other popular reason freelancers seek out the Editorial Freelancers Association: Professional development.

With a paid membership, you get access to a variety of courses and webinars. EFA’s current training includes:

  • Copyediting
  • Word Macros A to Z
  • Beyond Books: Gaining Corporate Clients with Ghostwriting

“If you want to learn more about the book business, courses in editorial should teach you about formatting, copyediting, line editing, and interaction with authors,” says Sasquatch Books Editor Jill Saginario. “I don’t know of any free courses, but the well-respected ones are through freelance associations like Editorial Freelancers Association.”

TIP: If you’re thinking about joining an organization for writers to access training and resources for professional development, make sure it aligns with your goals. And if you take a course, do the work and implement it…instead of being a professional course collector.

Should you join the Editorial Freelancers Association?

Ultimately, it’s up to you. When you’re a freelancer largely working alone, being part of a professional organization or association can help you avoid feeling isolated, grow your network, connect with potential clients, and level up your freelance skills.

Are you a member of an organization for freelancers? Tell us about it in the comments.