Two Songbirds Press > Blog > EFA > Reflections on the 2020 Publications Campaign
  • Robin Martin
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EFA Booklets on desk, monitors show EFA bookstore and booklets pages

My Role as Publications Director

Back in September 2019, I took on a new volunteer role for the Editorial Freelancers Association as the director of the Publications committee, and in January of this year, invited all members of the EFA to submit proposals to the 2020 Booklet Campaign.

We received excellent proposals and ultimately spent five months writing, copyediting, revising, and designing three brand new titles and three revised classics.

The revised booklets are Elsa Peterson’s Copyright and Permissions: What Every Writer and Editor Should Know, Ruth E. Thaler-Carter’s Freelancing 101: Launching Your Editorial Business (with some additions and updates by yours truly), and Sheila Buff’s Resumés for Freelancers: Make Your Resumé an Effective Marketing Tool… and More (co-written by Ruth E. Thaler-Carter).

The new booklets are Respectful Querying with NUANCE by returning booklet writer Ebonye Gussine Wilkins (co-author with Lourdes Venard of Sensitivity Reads: A Guide for Professional Editors), Just the Facts: On Researching Your Nonfiction Children’s Book, by Lisa L. Owens, and Tell Them a Story: Using Narrative Nonfiction in Your Everyday Writing, by Ben Riggs, an occasional contributor to the Freelancer, EFA’s members-only bi-monthly newsletter.

The 2020 EFA Booklets campaign was five months of working every weekend, but seeing the products in the new bookstore feels like a real accomplishment.

This was my first time in the role directing booklet publication for the organization, and, while the original deadlines I had set for the project (rigorous and aspirational) weren’t met—due in no small part to the coronavirus pandemic, subsequent surge in new clients, and more work with existing clients, I could adjust these dates to be more appropriate. (I had set them, after all!) This, I reminded myself, was a growth year, for me, and for the booklets campaign, which did not publish anything in 2019.

I’ve been through the publishing process before, as a writer and also shepherding my self-publishing clients, but that was never more than one book at one time. This booklet campaign contained six books. It was more arduous than I anticipated, though I’m very happy with the resulting products—both print and ePub versions are available for purchase from our newly established bookstore—but there are things I still want to do for this campaign.

We did a lot, including:  

  • Establishing criteria for selection, contracts, budget, process, scheduling, also procedures for writers, copyeditors, proofreaders;
  • Selecting an interior and ebook designer and a cover designer, writers, copyeditors, and proofreaders;
  • Copyediting and proofreading, approving final content and designs;
  • Compiling metadata, assigning and recording ISBNs, making copyright decisions;
  • Navigating Ingram-Spark, our new publishing platform—setting up accounts, uploading booklets and data, setting up distribution, pricing, navigating the testing and approval process;
  • Establishing the Aerio bookstore account, setting up the bookstore, adding our new booklets to it;
  • Submitting invoices, and financial record keeping;
  • Some other stuff I’m forgetting. But, whew, all done!

What is ongoing?

Promotion and marketing.

Sales and follow up.

Planning and moving forward on the next steps for the Publications committee during the 2020/2021 fiscal year.

It’s an incredible experience to work with a small team to take a book(let) from soup to nuts—conception to the shelf—(and it’s another thing altogether to do six at one time as a volunteer!). In the revised Freelancing 101, two of the things Ruth and I cover are how to prepare for the freelance life and how to find clients and assignments. Ruth talks about building skills before embarking on a full time freelance career, and being sure you have the skills and resources to complete a task at a professional level before accepting a paying project that utilizes those skills. “A paying client is not a guinea pig,” she writes. I believe that volunteering is a tremendous opportunity to develop new skill sets, try new specialties, or cover new topics.

I took on this position in the 2019/2020 fiscal year because I knew I could do it. With enough experience working in the industry with the technology that I could establish a plan and a budget, I embarked from a place of self-confidence. But what I found is that there was still so much more to learn about the entire process!

The next time a client receives my help navigating the self-publishing process, they will be receiving the assistance of a professional who understands so much more about the appropriate responses to technical snafus, the minute details of setting up distribution and pricing, some of the tricks to avoiding error messages upon file upload, and how to set up a store.

I’ve been an active member of the EFA since 2009.

This post was written for, and appeared on, the Editorial Freelancers Association blog, whose primary audience are the nearly 3,000 members and many guests who visit the site. Three things I passed on to EFA members to end this reflection:

  1. There is tremendous value in volunteering with this organization. The support is superior, the learning opportunities are vast, the people you’ll work with are incredible, and you’ll never have nothing to do. I recommend you try it.
  2. Make sure you show your appreciation for the volunteers in your personal and professional realms, because without them, very little would be new or exciting. Most of them are already very busy people who make the time to do even more for causes and organizations they believe in. They aren’t sitting around waiting for more work to come to them.
  3. If you would like to join the Publications committee, it is in a growth phase. I will ask you for a commitment, and, yes, I’ll be annoyed if you flake. But if you are serious about learning and helping, please volunteer. I am willing to delegate and also to help you figure things out.

Keep your eyes out for great things coming from Publications.

Author: Robin Martin
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