There are all sorts of professional organizations for writers, and all sorts of reasons why you should probably join at least one. The organizations fall into two rough categories – those that serve writers in general and those that address a specific group of writers.
The Authors Guild and the National Writers Union (NWU) are examples of organizations that serve published writers as a whole. Both offer a variety of services, including warnings about problem or defunct publishers, tax information, news and, in some states, health insurance. Both have requirements that you be published and have annual dues. And both lobby on behalf of writers. The NWU has locals in many metropolitan areas that have regular meetings that are informative, sometimes fun, and almost always a way to meet fellow writers.
No matter what kind of writing you do, there is a professional organization for your specialty.
One of the best known is Romance Writers of America, or RWA. This national organization offers awards, lists of recently published romance novels, conferences and has a network of local groups.
Sisters in Crime is aimed at mystery writers of both sexes and the Society for Technical Communication is for technical writers of all types. The list of groups goes on.
Google makes it easy to find national and many local groups. For example, a search on professional writers organizations or writers organizations brings up a ton of responses. You can do the same for writing specialties like tech writing organizations or organizations for horror writers, or, or, or… try a few searches and see what you get.
Study the website of the organization you’re considering. Make sure you understand their fees and spend some serious time thinking how you will be able to use the services offered. If it looks like a good deal for you, join for a year. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.
You may also want to read: 9 Keys for a Successful Writer’s Group
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