Post 1 in my Professional Authors Association Series
Every professional or aspiring writer should join a writers association. This could be one of the most prominent organizations I intend to highlight over the coming weeks, but you can easily find others, including local groups or branches of national groups, by doing a little research.
Writing is an isolated endeavor. Joining a writers group offers you many benefits that offset the negative effects of working alone. By connecting with other writers, virtually and in person, you become part of a community of people who share your professional interests and from whom you can learn current relevant market information. Information equals power in any negotiation, and membership in at least one writers organization will improve your knowledge of the legal and business environment and thereby help you enhance your negotiating position. Even the most successful writers with powerful agents gain from being part of a writing community, and most bestselling authors belong to at least one prominent organization.
There are numerous organizations for published and aspiring writers of every genre. Each offers varying benefits, such as substantive feedback on ongoing projects, practical advice about the market, writing competitions and awards, networking opportunities with agents and editors, current payment rates and industry information, legal advice and individual advocacy, lobbying for writers’ interests, health and liability insurance group plans, website- and blog-building software, self-promotion advice, and discounts to services. In general, membership dues are small and can usually be deducted on tax returns as a business expense against your writing income.
To give a brief glimpse into the well-established associations, I will post every other week with some basic information about another organization. Check back here for some ideas of groups to join to expand your network and your knowledge.
This information has been adapted from the 4th edition of The Writer’s Legal Guide by Kay Murray and myself.