Category Archives: EFA

EFA Conference, NYC, editing, Sacramento Editing

Highlights from the Editorial Freelancers Conference

I’d met Mary Norris and taken care of my obligatory awkward-stuttering-fan first words at the Under the Gum Tree booth at AWP in LA earlier this year. So starting the day chatting with Mary Norris, the Comma Queen herself, was nothing but a pleasure.

My takeaway: There is no need to be intimidated by your heroes.

Jane Friedman’s Keynote was called “The Competitive Creative.” Self-awareness led to Friedman’s departure from the daily grind of her Writers Digest job into something that she felt was more energizing and fulfilling, and now she loves her day job— freelancing!

My takeaway: If you are ignoring the call to be creative, stop! As Jane said, “Art and business don’t have to be at war.”

During two hour-long sessions, attendees could choose to attend one of four simultaneous programs in small breakout rooms. I enjoyed Jake Poinier, who provided pro tips on pricing our freelance editorial services, with the reminder that “the best deals make you and the client happy.”

The takeaway message: “Do what you want, it’s your business!”

Then, Laura Poole and Kristen Stieffel introduced us to some new (and reminded us about some old) ways to organize our clients, jobs, and general to-do lists, including this gem: “Make your to-do lists the night before!”

The takeaway for me: “Don’t let the tools get in the way of your work.”

The incredible, funny, Mary Norris had the ideal crowd for her Keynote address on Day 2. “A Life Squandered on Words,” revealed a love for language that every person in that auditorium seemed to share. She discussed her prescriptivism, and unabashedly held it higher than descriptivism—everyone in the auditorium did not necessarily share this view. One man in the audience felt the need to take her to task on what he perceived as the failings of The New Yorker’s editorial staff, to which she replied: “You’re fired!” Wonderful. This got some play on Twitter (#EFACON16).

Erin Brenner presented the last session I attended about editing for the web. She provided valuable reminders in this session sponsored by

My takeaway: What I am doing at Two Songbirds Press is consistent with best practices.

It was so nice to meet the new members of the Board of Governors, the EFA Chapter coordinators, and those members interested in starting a chapter in their part of the world (shout out Florida!), as well as fellow freelancers from the EFA Discussion List and Social Media. The next EFA conference may be as soon as 2018, and I hope to attend.



2015 San Francisco Writers’ Conference Rundown

editorial freelancersGetting back to SFWC after a couple of years away was quite enjoyable for me. Representing the Editorial Freelancers Association at a table there with EFA colleague Chris Rose (we also went to graduate school together and interned at the same literary agency), we talked with conference attendees about how an editor might be able to help them with their current writing projects.
One particularly memorable conversation was with a woman who mentioned that her website content and blogs often fall short when it comes to simple proofreading. She was extremely receptive to the idea that for just a little money she could hire someone to proofread her content before she puts it out there to represent her business. If only I could get the ear of restaurant owners about their menus!!
I attended just one conference session. It was “Creating a Marketing Plan for your Novel” presented by Cynthia Frank. I came away with a better understanding of how brick and mortar bookstores and libraries discover what they put on their shelves, and why it is still important not to have Create Space™ be the publisher of your book. (The right thing to do if you’re self pubbing is to create your own publishing brand. You can look back at my posts from 2012 and 2013, and also the story of this client to learn about the right way to self-publish.)
Speaking of the right way to self-publish, I had an opportunity to catch up with the marvelous Carla King of Self-Pub Boot Camp and the Self-Pub Boot Camp Guide for Authors, 3rd edition (which I downloaded for free just last week!). She is such a neat woman who is very generous with her wealth of experiences and knowledge and it’s always a pleasure to see her. I had the opportunity to present at her boot camp once and hope to be able to do so again.
It was also fun to see the many SFWC regulars with whom I worked in prior years and missed last year (too much on my plate) and the year before (broken from a bike accident). Until next time…


Editing, writing, digital publishing, from textbooks to fiction, meetings and events…

This has been a wonderfully busy first quarter, with a cornucopia of activities to keep me sharp.

The Nor Cal EFA hosted speaker Judith Horstman in January, and she provided the participants with insider information about writing for magazines and talked a bit about her new book.

I attended the California Writers Club and met Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, who confirmed for me the importance of digital publishing and presented a convincing argument regarding the obsolescence of the old publishing model and its gatekeepers. While there, I ran into an author whose debut novel I had just downloaded to my Kindle, at the suggestion of a mutual friend, but had not yet started reading.

Uploading a correctly formatted document into Smashwords was actually more difficult than the founder purported it to be, but getting it to work was a technological learning experience that didn’t kill me and therefore made me stronger.

Completing a substantive edit on a statistics textbook for a non-native English speaker contracted to Wiley allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief, and confidently say that my comprehension of statistics increased tremendously!  It also allowed me to use my APA knowledge, neglected in the fiction world.

San Francisco Writers Conference orientation was held in January and the event is next weekend, February 17-19.  I’ll be there. Will you? Come visit me at the Cafe Ferlinghetti, where I’ll be hanging out early Saturday morning and throughout the afternoon on Friday.

I’ve got fiction manuscripts lined up all quarter; working with a 630 page suspense novel currently, and this will be followed right away by a suspenseful love story, then a contemporary fiction/social justice novel, then Brad’s sequel comes in to me, then a mystery.  Phew!  Gotta love it. Thanks to Mark Coker and others like him, there are a lot of people out there taking the bull by the horns and going for it.  Thankfully, they are embracing the need for an editor before they put it out to the world.

Two recent articles talk about the importance of an editor in the self-publishing process.  This one, in Huff Post, and this, in the San Francisco Book Review.

You keep on writing and I’ll keep on reading. And writing.

Nor Cal Editorial Freelancers Association

It is nearly always beneficial to join a professional organization for support and information when one embarks on a career.  I am a member of the Popular Culture Association, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and the Editorial Freelancers Association. I have enjoyed participating in conferences and reading the resources of each. The EFA, however, has been the most helpful to me as a freelancer.

It was so helpful to me, in fact, that I organized a chapter in Sacramento. Our members and guests have a wide range of backgrounds and specialties, and we have interest from EFA members as far away as Santa Cruz to the south and Reno to the north.

The organization meets on the last Monday of each month (holidays excepted– the website has the most current info) at Sacramento’s premier downtown co-working space, Thinkhouse Collective, 7 pm.

The topics of our meetings do occasionally engage writers of all kinds, not just freelance editors. September’s meeting, for instance, will feature an independent publisher talking about How to Start Your Own Press. October’s meeting will be about Generative Writing.

July NorCal EFA meeting will be on Marketing Oneself Monday, July 25, 2011 (7:00 pm) at our regular meeting space, the beautiful Thinkhouse Collective in downtown Sacramento. Kristin Singhasemanon, owner of Satin Web Solutions, and Chris Wilson, owner of Word Design and Get Healthy Copy, will be presenting on the topic of professional marketing strategies to solicit clients for our editorial freelancing businesses.

Join our Yahoo Group to be on the mailing list:

Interviewed in Creative Writing Now, EFA, workin’ it

Things are busy here, as I’ve been working with several writers on their manuscripts, newsletters and blogs, writing reviews, including one for Gently Read Literature, and preparing for an interview with Peter Grandbois for Rain Taxi.

This morning I turned on my computer to discover myself the subject of an interview on Creative Writing Now. I’d like to thank Nancy Strauss for the opportunity to share some of my opinions with her readers.

Last night was the June meeting of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Northern California chapter. Due to the summer vacation syndrome, it was a small group, but Janna Marlies Santoro and I were able to share what it means to be a member of the EFA and what we’ve gained from membership. Chris Wilson, owner of Word Design and Get Healthy was in attendance.  She and Kristin Singhasemanon of Satin Web Solutions will be the presenters at our July 25 meeting, as always, at the beautiful downtown collaborative work space, Thinkhouse Collective. The subject of next month’s meeting is Strategies for Marketing Oneself and Soliciting Clients for Editorial Freelancers.

Keep on workin’ it, and don’t forget to enjoy the summer.

Developmental vs. Copy/line editing

What kind of an editing do you need?  

These are job descriptions from the Editorial Freelancers Association website.

Developmental Editing

Any or all of the following

  • working with the client and, usually, the author of a book or other document to develop a manuscript from initial concept, outline, or draft (or some combination of the three) through any number of subsequent drafts
  • making suggestions about content, organization, and presentation, based on analysis of competing works, comments of expert reviewers, the client’s market analysis, and other appropriate references
  • rewriting, writing, and researching, as needed, and sometimes suggesting topics or providing information about topics for consideration of authors and clients

Copyediting/line editing

Any or all of the following:

  • correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, and word usage while preserving the meaning and voice of the original text
  • checking for or imposing a consistent style and format
  • preparing a style sheet that documents style and format
  • reading for overall clarity and sense on behalf of the prospective audience
  • querying the appropriate party about apparent errors or inconsistencies
  • preparing a manuscript for the next stage of the publication process
  • cross-checking references, art, figures, tables, equations, and other features for consistency with their mentions in the text

Indie Professionals/Freelancers Soiree

The Editorial Freelancers Association Northern California Chapter is hosting a holiday soiree for independent professionals both inside and outside of editorial/journalism/publishing on Monday, December 13, from 7 pm until 8:30pm at Sacramento’s ThinkHouse Collective.

This will be an opportunity for, yes, the consumption of wine and brownies, but also for mingling and chatting in an informal setting with other independents who might be able to help each other out, send work in each other’s directions, barter for skills, and connect.

If this is you, bookkeepers, web designers, graphic artists, caterers, & & &, come join us Monday night.

EFA No-Cal Chapter




The Northern California chapter of the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA-NoCal) is holding its first meeting on Monday, August 2, 2010, at 7 pm in mid-town Sacramento.  Topics for this meeting will include a discussion of goals for the chapter, establishing a meeting schedule for 2010/2011, introduction of coordinators and participants, and nomination of officers and/or committee chairs.

This meeting of EFA-NoCal is free and open to working freelance editorial professionals and those interested in becoming freelance writers, editors, proofreaders, indexers, website and graphic designers, etc. New participants are welcome!

EFA is the only national professional organization in the U.S. for independent editorial specialists in all disciplines. Services include a members-only electronic discussion list, job list, affinity groups, health insurance (in some areas), publications and more.

To RSPV and get the exact location, or for more information about EFA-NoCal, contact chapter coordinator Robin Martin 916-837-3017 or

For information about EFA services and membership benefits, go to

Editorial Freelancers Association, No. Cal Chapter

Get Ready…

Regional Chapter Mission Statement:

The purpose of the Editorial Freelancers Association is to further a wider understanding of the crucial role of the independent editorial professional in the modern publishing and communications industries, and to enhance the performance and improve the skills of those professionals.

Regional EFA chapters will enable members throughout EFA membership regions to meet with fellow members at a minimum of twice a year; chapters can be formed with a suggested minimum of five to six members.

Chapters may hold informal, networking-only meetings or organize and present seminars, panel discussions, speakers, meetings, workshops, and other presentations in which the needs of the modern publishing and communications industries are discussed and addressed. Regional chapters may offer academic instruction in the form of nondegree workshops and seminars, concentrating on the skills needed to be a successful independent editorial professional in a changing environment.

The EFA will assist regional chapters in organizing and communicating with regional members, and helping to publicize regional chapters’ activities within designated regions and through the organization’s bimonthly newsletter, The Freelancer, EFA’s online discussion and job lists, and its Web site: