The Authors Guild is the nation’s professional organization for writers, aiding and protecting author’s interest in copyright, fair contracts, and free expression since 1912. It supports working writers, advocates for author rights, and provides a community for its members.
Any author who has been published by an established U.S. book publisher or by periodicals of general circulation in the US qualifies for membership. You may be eligible for membership by demonstrating income from writing, whether in print or online.
Swenson Book Development LLC belongs to the Authors Guild as a Member-at-Large, a non-voting membership category available to literary agents who have placed works with American publishers.
The Author’s Guild does important work. Most recently they published a survey of members which documented income is down 30% for full-time professional writers in the last five years. There are many reasons for the decline in income, yet unfair terms in publishing contracts is an important one.
Executive Director Roxana Robinson announced the Authors Guild Fair Contract Initiative in May 2015 at Book Expo America. In the world of publishing, the standard book contract is filled with terms, conditions, and language that insulates publishers from any potential loss and places all the risk on the author. If you question author-unfriendly terms, publishers tell you the clauses are “not negotiable.”
An experienced legal team at Authors Guild offers reviews of publishing contracts at no cost to members. I advised Cathryn Prince to join and she became a member in 2012. When offered a contract from Palgrave Macmillan for Death in the Baltic: WWII Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, Prince turned to their legal team.
“They advised me on areas in the contract where I should raise questions and advocate for changes in the contract,” Cathryn Prince said. “I was impressed with the thoroughness of comments and suggestions.”
There are many benefits of membership in the Author’s Guild. In addition to a quarterly publication covering the latest in publishing news, you have access to member profiles and resources listings useful to authors including publicity and agent information. Throughout the year, they offer seminars, panels and social gatherings to keep authors connected and informed about the business of writing. They offer liability insurance at group rates, a Back-in-Print program, and a website that serves as a portal to information you can trust.
“Another advantage is their website building,” said Cathryn Prince. “I recently changed over and updated my website.” The Authors Guild offers a free website building service for new members. Take a look at CathryPrince.com. They provide a wide range of services to help members manage their online presence. Services include website hosting, domain name registration, and personalized email accounts.
Consider becoming a member of the Authors Guild. Join today and take $25 off your membership dues if you sign up before October 31 here at this link.