Quality should always take precedence over quantity when it comes to membership in professional writing and editing organizations. If you don’t belong to at least one such group, what is holding you back? The yearly dues for such organizations vary widely as do membership perks. The key is active involvement, and like any habit, regular participation needs to be cultivated. As with any endeavor, you tend to get out of the group in proportion to your willingness to commit.
I currently belong to six professional writing and editing organizations. While I don’t see this number changing any time soon, it’s important to note the need to continually reassess the pros and cons of remaining a member when it comes time to renew and pay annual dues. It’s also important to note I do not go to every single meeting or webinar. It’s a given some topics are not of personal interest or conflicts can arise with my freelancing project schedule. I also belong to a book club, poetry club, and writing club that I found via Meetup.
Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA)
Member dues run $145 for one year or $260 for two years. A $35 fee is charged to new members as well as those who let their membership lapse more than thirty days. The online membership directory as well daily job post emails make this a worthwhile resource. Also noteworthy is that they do not list low-paying or nonpaying jobs or internships in an effort to uphold common editorial rates. Thousands of members equates to fierce competition at times, but the visibility is worth it. Member discounts are offered to education programs of interest to freelancers as well. One downside is the absence of free webinar offerings. I most enjoy the tips in the bimonthly newsletter as well as the active email discussion list where I have learned a lot from those who participate.
Idaho Editors Association (IEA)
Membership is free and luncheons are held on the second Wednesday of each month at Bella Aquila in Eagle, Idaho. The group is primarily organized by Stacy Ennis and utilizes a closed Facebook group to facilitate communication between group members. Many of the members also belong to the Idaho Writers Guild, which is where I first learned about this group. Their Facebook page contains a cohort file where members can list their editing and writing specialities. It’s not uncommon for members to refer other members to clients when their project plate is already full. Other helpful documents are available and members are always willing to answer any questions members may post to the Facebook page.
Idaho Writers Guild
Membership runs $35 a year. Luncheons are held on the third Tuesday of each month at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, Idaho. The luncheon fee runs $15 for members and $20 for non-members. In addition to the monthly luncheon topics, members can register for a variety of Saturday writing workshops. A yearly Pitchfest offers slots to meet with literary agents and participate in panel discussions or pay an extra fee for a manuscript evaluation of your book’s first ten pages. A yearly writing contest is held as well and entrants receive the judges’ scorecard. Other perks include a free monthly book club as well as the meet and mingle Wordplay group that gives fellow writers the chance to gather informally on the first Tuesday of each month at The Drink Waterfront Bar & Grill.
Nonfiction Authors Association (NFAA)
Free and paid memberships are available. With 10,000 members and growing, local chapters have now been formed. I currently help co-organize the Boise group with local NFAA leader Cristen Iris. Free memberships include listing in the searchable member directory, access to monthly live educational teleseminars, and a site badge. Paid Authority memberships run $19 a month or $190 for a yearly membership (that’s two months free plus a welcome kit). Authority members do not have to pay the $10 fee for local monthly chapter meetings. The discounts and resources offered are not to be missed! Authority members gain access to recordings of the teleseminars and discounts for BlueHost, Office Depot, the annual nonfiction conference and more. Exclusive weekly site content and emails are offered and random members spotlighted.
Northwest Independent Editors Guild (NIEG)
This regional group based in Seattle functions much like the Editorial Freelancers Association described above. The membership fee is $65 a year and open to residents of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. The member directory is searchable by prospective clients. The job board can be viewed once logged in or subscribed to via RSS, but not yet via email. The group strives to post meeting notes or videos for members who are unable to attend the bimonthly meetings in person. A daylong conference takes place every two years. In addition to online resources for career-building, opportunities are also available for speaking and teaching opportunities with colleagues and clients. A set number of members can also take advantage of a nearly $10 discount off the online version of the Chicago Manual of Style each year.
Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA)
Memberships run $65 a year and $25 a year for students. Members receive a discount on the yearly writing conference held at the DoubleTree Hotel by the SeaTac Airport. Numerous sessions on the craft and business side of writing are offered in addition to great keynote speakers. For writers ready to do so, pitch sessions with agents and editors are available. The yearly literary contest offers numerous categories and a discount for members. Each submission receives detailed feedback from two judges. Monthly meetings can also be listened to online. Groups can also be accessed online for conference attendees, the interview video archive of Author Magazine, as well as genre groups for finding critique partners. An impressive workshop series is offered as well as a $65 discount on a subscription to Publisher’s Weekly.
Finding the national, regional, or local professional writing and editing organizations that are a good fit for you is only an online search away. Get started today, and you won’t regret taking that step to become more involved.
What national and regional professional writing and editing organizations do you belong to? What benefits have you reaped?
Jeri Walker will shower you with editor love if you share the quote image in this post!
I’ve belonged to groups on and off (mostly off) over the years. The biggest problem for me isn’t so much the dues, but my own lack of participation. I belonged to an online mystery writing group for a year and rarely made my way over their website or took advantage of any of their offerings, so I let my membership lapse. I know there is a local writer’s association, but with my work and yoga schedule, I’m again hesitate to start something that I won’t follow through on. I understand, especially if you’re a freelance writer/editor, that joining groups is a great way to gain exposure as well as a supportive network. It sounds like you’ve really thought through the groups you belong to and you participate at a level that makes your memberships integral to your success. Maybe some day … . Right now I’m enjoying the occasional free online course, not always to do with writing, but the courses are a good way for me to come out of my shell and make new friends.
Marie, that’s great that you’re taking advantage of free online courses. We all that to find what works for us at different times in our lives. With my switch to full-time freelancing, I really buckled down on joining groups and networking. I have a feeling I might switch one or two of the regional/national groups next year that don’t prove as fruitful and give another a try.
I need to move to a larger community. Being without a car, I can’t get to the one group that’s in the next town. I’ll try Meetup to see if there’s something there for me.
Glynis, I hope you can find something via Meetup. Nothing can substitute for in-person meetings, but there are lots of great resources available online.
My experience has taught me that writing organizations differ widely per state and/or community. Online can be cumbersome. But I have both benefited and been disappointed. But it’s worth pursuing, if you hunger for like minds.
Jacquie, I couldn’t agree more. There’s always going to be organizations that don’t work out for one reason or another, but for everyone that doesn’t turn out as expected another group turns out to be much better than ever anticipated. It’s a give and take that’s definitely worth it.
I belong to two local writing guilds. Unlike your Idaho Writers Guild they don’t meet on a regular monthly basis, but they do publish newsletters via emails on a regular basis and put on events or workshops throughout the year. I find the information in the newsletters useful, which includes submission and contest information, news about members, information about events in the community relevant to writers and sometimes links to other information (writing tips for example). I have attended some of their events and workshops as well and found them helpful. In the past year I have also joined two travel writing groups (international, not local) and am still discovering what the benefits of these are. I think making some connections with others is the biggest thing so far, but I will also be attending a conference soon.
I believe there can be a lot of value gained from belonging to professional associations, from making connections with others to learning more about your craft to finding out about opportunities. But not all associations are alike and you have to find one that fits.
Donna, discovering an organization’s benefits truly does take time. I hope the travel writing groups you’ve joined work out for you. Hence one reason that I decided to do this blog post. Each organization I belong to offers a lot of great stuff, but it’s been hit and miss in how much I take advantage of what’s offered. One important point is that not every meeting or webinar will be of personal interest or value, so I’ve gotten better about not spreading myself too thin. I pay attention to what’s being offered and schedule it as an important part of my freelancing day.
The only one I’m a member of is the New Jersey chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists. Used to be for active journalists only. I guess when the number of journalists started to seriously shrink they decided to take exes like myself.
Ken, even though you’re not an active journalist it’s still great that you take the time to join in with fellow journalists. I let my membership in the National Council of Teacher of English lapse, but often think about renewing it so I can stay more current on what is going on in my former profession since my former profession will always be a part of me, and I will always value what’s going on in education.
Bookmarked, thank you!
Thanks for much, A.C. I hope you find it useful even if the groups are on the other side of the planet from you 😉
I am a member of a poets and writers group, however I contribute very little in comparison to my bloggers groups. I get a sense of belonging and share my ideas and offer advice. The saying “knife sharpens knife” really is true.
Phoenicia, our commenting community here is proof of how much support blogging groups can give. Even better is that my guest writers and new readers often make a point of telling me what supportive community I have here. I just say, “Awww shucks.” We help each other so much.
I think that saying is “iron sharpens iron!!”
These resources are certainly interesting and useful… Not to mention their `social corollaries´…
Job boards and pitch sessions with agents and editors seem to be a key component aiming to improve the writing quality… And as you have well pointed out: “Quality should always take precedence over quantity when it comes to membership in professional writing and editing organization”.
Thanks for yet another enriching reading, dear Jeri… All the best to you. Aquileana ?.-
Aqui, hands down the fear and allure of going to pitch sessions really helped me get a handle on my novel (even though I’ve now put it to rest again). There’s so much worth to be had to devlving into a likeminded community.
Helpful list. Thanks, lady! I just joined AWP this year (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) and am giving their conference a whirl at the end of this month. Also, a new thing through PNWA: they’re offering members-only 1-day masters classes at this year’s conference (extra fee applies). It’s a smart and helpful way to keep their long-time members engaged and learning.
Laura, I’ve thought about AWP as well. For now, I’d probably be best served to drop at least one of the organizations I belong to. Six is a lot. Four is probably a more manageable number to take fuller advantage of all that’s offered. The one-day masters classes for PNWA sound intriguing. I know I’ll make another conference one of these years! My writing plan actually has more clarity than ever. Now I just need to balance it with full-time freelancing.
Nicely put together list of organizations to check into or find similar ones locally. I’m not a big joiner, so it’s really important that I investigate a possible group and weight out the pros and cons. A big one being if I can truly visualize myself participating.
Rose, it does take a while to find a good stride when it comes to how much you are likely to participate in a given group. Sometimes a lot comes down to the particular mix of people involved more so than the particular organization itself.
Jeri, my husband told me to allow down on my blog posts and take my time on editing. He tells me this all the time. Quality over quantity. I am finally listening took him. Haha I am stubborn sometimes. I have a membership the writers digest magazine and it is encouraging. That writers guild association seems interesting. I might check one out here in Nashville. I admire your hard work Jeri! 🙂
Crystal, I’m sure there must be a ton of great groups in Nashville. Good luck in finding one that works for you. As I’ve gone on blogging, I’ve focused more and more on quality as well. It can be hard to even do a weekly post when running a one-person show. We all find our paths in different ways, and along the way so many people are willing to help and offer advice if only we let them and look for those opportunities.
I participate in a few writer’s group but the only association I’m a member of is NFAA. A friend suggested another nonfiction authors association but when I read their guidelines they pretty much declared self-published authors to be the dregs of the industry so I wrote them off pretty quickly. Truthfully I’m not much of a joiner anyway when it comes to business organizations, but in your business, I can see where it would make a lot of sense.
Marty, I go back and forth in my joy of joining in. Mostly, being a freelancer means creating opportunities for one’s self, and the organizations above have definitely helped in that area. Glad to hear too that you’re a fellow member of the NFAA.
WOW! You belong to a lot of writer’s groups. I didn’t belong to any groups before moving to Germany. At the time, I was still dipping my toes into the waters.
Denise, indeed I do. It’s taken a good year to get more involved with the ones that don’t have any local ties, but the stronger effort I make to get involved, the better prospects that keep coming my way. It’s a win-win situation.
I’m not a member of any group but that doesn’t mean, like the Henry Ford quote, that I’ve stopped learning. One way I’ve learned a lot is from reading posts like yours and other bloggers, especially the BHB members. I did note and agree with that when you join a group you generally get out in proportion to what you put in.
Lenie, even being committed to reading blogs posts is a great way to immerse one’s self into a given community of experts. I just will never understand the person who tends not to avail themselves to all the resources that are available for the taking.
Another Great Post.
It is important to belong to organizations like these.
I have joined a couple here in the Northeast, and they do help in creating contacts.
It also helps for writings to get information about promoting and marketing.
Thanks for sharing this with us.
Hi Jeri, great list and very useful ideas. My issue as always is trying to fit everything I want to do or join into not enough time. Makes a person truly thankful for great editors! 🙂
Susan, time is indeed always a factor. However, joining just one organization can bring so many resources and new ideas your way that would be unlikely to happen otherwise. I hope you’ll considered getting involved in at least one such group. The power of community is so helpful. Just look at the blogging community we’ve nurtured. Professional organization for editors and writers are as equally, if not more so, helpful.
There look like so many writing groups in your area that it makes me wonder if they exist here in the Triangle. Online communities are so awesome these days that it’s easy to forget the relationships you can make from in person meetings. Thanks for sharing this and for reminding me to get out there and find some writers in the area!
North Carolina has produced so many writers of merit. It’s quite the literary state is what I came to realize after living in Charlotte for a while. I’m sure you’ll find a group or two that you can get involved with.