Updated: June 2014

Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 11:49 AM


Hi Al,

My name is Jan and I found your name as I was doing my research on the Editorial Freelancers Association. Seeing that you're a fellow Filipina, I'm writing to get your feedback on the organization. I've been a writer and editor for about 10 years, but it is only recently that I ventured into freelancing on the side (I still maintain my day job).

If my goal is not so much to get new business but rather to get freelancing advice/tips from an established network of writers/editors, would you say that EFA membership is worthwhile? Is the EFA newsletter (The Freelancer) any good? How about the e-mail discussion list? And what about the courses, have you actually participated in one and what can you say about it? Finally--though I know I've said this is not my main goal--have you garnered new business from being listed on the EFA website?

I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you very much.




Hi Jan,

Thank you for your email. I'll address your questions one by one.

If my goal is not so much to get new business but rather to get freelancing advice/tips from an established network of writers/editors, would you say that EFA membership is worthwhile?

My goals for joining the EFA were similar with yours. But I say, make "getting new business" a part of your goal. Any association gives job leads to its members, and the EFA is one association that does that.

"Worthwhile" is such a broad term. The answer to that will depend on how you will make use of your membership in any professional association. In my case, I was encouraged to join EFA because I wanted to hear from and speak with people who I can relate with and who can relate with me as a freelance editor. With the EFA, I discovered fellow freelancers who share their knowledge in the work I do, being a newbie that I was (and still am, in many aspects of the work) . . .

Is the EFA newsletter (The Freelancer) any good?

. . . The EFA, being U.S.-based, tends to relate mostly to editors residing in the U.S. But at one time, The Freelancer featured a member located outside of the U.S. From this instance, we can say that the EFA is shifting its gear, as it tries to reach out to members who are non-U.S. residents by giving them opportunities to engage in the activities of the association. The Freelancer also publishes the names of new members--a way to welcome them. I was welcomed there too with my name listed as "Al Sabado, Marikina City, NC." That's nice, except that I'm not from North Carolina. I'm from the PHILIPPINES!

How about the e-mail discussion list?

I joined the EFA discussion list, but when I was bashed for thanking God after surviving Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) sometime in 2009, I thanked everyone's messages in the e-group and departed from it. Some say that we should love the people who treat us right, and that we should pray for those who don't. So that's what I did. About a year after the incident, I learned that the man who bashed me died of brain tumor. That saddened me. Despite what he did to me, I didn't wish him to die because I knew that God loved him. God loves the rest of them at the EFA who didn't (and still don't) believe in God and His sovereignty.

I maintained my EFA membership for two years (2009-2011) . . . . Within that time, I also joined another editorial discussion list, Copyediting-L, with members coming from numerous parts of the globe. (That link goes straight to my name, but just scroll up and you may read through the directions on how to subscribe and enlist in the online directory.) The membership here is free, unlike the EFA where the membership fee has been adjusted to US$145 annually for both U.S. and non-U.S. residents.

And what about the courses, have you participated in any of them and what can you say about [them]?

No, I have not participated in any of their courses. But I recommend taking them if you can squeeze in your budget the fees involved. Otherwise, you may take online courses offered at lower rates by other reputable copyediting sites such as Copyediting. It has training modules (priced at US$50 each) that may lead to certification. Meantime, you may also access free online reading materials, some of which I have included in this website's database of freelancing tools. The three important words we must embrace in our work are obvious: READ, READ, and READ. :-) However, while we can freely read every material out there, we also have to be selective.

Have you garnered new projects from being listed on the EFA website?

No, I didn't get work while I was listed on the EFA directory. But I was so glad to be part of it because everything seemed "quiet" when I began working as a freelance editor. With the EFA membership, online colleagues seemed to say time and again, "You've got company!" (Just don't talk about your faith, and you're OK there. Freely talk about your Christian faith in your websites. ;) That clearly tells me I don't fit in the EFA discussion list or anything like it because my faith in my God defines who and what I am. That means, my work and my faith are inseparable. See the left sidebar of this page? ;-))

Going back to your question--a few colleagues, however, shared some good news of being discovered and hired for editorial jobs while they're listed on the EFA directory. And that's hooray for all. Success stories of editorial colleagues give hope to all who wish to land similar freelance opportunities.

I also subscribed to the EFA JobList for a year, but I didn't get any job from the list either. My first break for being an EFA member came when a fellow EFA member I met from the discussion list invited me to a collaborative editorial work which turned out to be a success. It was followed by another project (and hopefully, more to come).

Overall, my EFA membership encouraged me to continue the work that I love doing--freelance editing from home. (Sure, I have my share of low periods.) Hearing from several EFA colleagues also urged me to come up with a website--one's calling card online. Although, mine isn't so techie, my website led me to clients who hired my editorial services. :-) Lastly, with the EFA Rates Chart, I've been motivated to price my work following the going industry rates. With that, I'm one with all editorial freelancers around the world.

Jan, it's nice talking to you, kahit dito lang sa email. I hope my answers had been helpful. :)