The Editorial Freelancers Association just might be the book publishing industry’s most powerful secret weapon, when deadlines loom and staff resources are already stretched beyond reasonable limits. EFA, which was founded in 1970 and is a nonprofit organization primarily staffed by volunteers, provides a free searchable database of more than 2,000 experienced freelance professionals wanting to edit, proofread, index, and manage projects. Résumés and preferences are listed in member profiles. EFA also manages a free jobs listing service for publishers.

Sheila Buff, EFA’s JobList chair, says that EFA volunteers have been exhibiting at BEA for the past few years to raise the organization’s visibility and because it’s “fun”; she notes that hiring qualified freelancers to assist in producing books is catching on, especially among self-publishers. “There’s a greater awareness out there that spell check is not enough,” she says, adding that booksellers maintaining Espresso Book Machines in their stores also might want to know about EFA, to better help their customers wanting to produce professional-looking products.

Margaret Moser, EFA’s co-executive director, encourages all BEA attendees to visit EFA’s booth (1024), saying, “We welcome visits from publishers and others who need freelance help to keep their projects moving forward.”