You may qualify for membership in any of the following ways:
- You have been published by an established American publisher;
- You have published sufficient freelance articles or short pieces;
- Your writing income meets certain thresholds;
- You have been offered a contract by an established American publisher;
- You have been offered representation by a professional literary agent;
- You are a literary agent or other representative of the rights of authors (Membership-at-Large);
- You are a student in a college or university undergraduate or graduate program (Student Membership);
- You are pursuing the art of writing and have demonstrated commitment to it (Emerging Writer Membership).
Yearly dues, which are tax-deductible, are $125 for general membership and members-at-large, $100 for emerging writers, and $35 for students. If you have any questions, please get in touch using our contact form.
All authors, including freelance authors, and self-published authors, may qualify based on income from their writing. Income of at least $5,000 within the previous 18 months qualifies an author for active membership; income of at least $500 within the previous 18 months qualifies an author for associate membership. (We may ask for royalty statements or other documentation.)
Traditional Publishing Criteria
Regardless of earnings, you may qualify for membership as a book author based on publication by an established American publisher. Publishers in this category will generally be selective, have considerable editorial oversight, and produce an initial print run, indicating some investment in the work. Exceptions to these requirements may be made in the case of small literary presses of national reputation.
Co-authors, collaborators (including ghostwriters), and translators can qualify on the same basis as authors. Contributors to collections published by established American publishers can qualify if they have published at least three contributions within the past eighteen months.
Freelance writers must have published three works of fiction or non-fiction, either print or online, within the 18 months prior to applying for membership. The pieces must be published on a freelance basis, with editorial oversight. Compensation must be at a professional level, per piece or per word. Exceptions to these requirements may be made in the case of periodicals or websites of national literary reputation.
Authors who have publishing contract offers meeting the criteria above qualify for associate membership until publication, at which time they become active members. Authors who have been offered representation by professional literary agents also qualify for associate membership. (Associate membership is non-voting but otherwise includes all the benefits and services of regular membership.)
Emerging Writer Membership
Emerging writer membership is open to everyone interested in pursuing the art of writing books who has demonstrated a commitment to the craft. Membership dues are $100 per year. This is a non-voting membership category that does not include legal services.
Student membership is open to all students enrolled either part-time or full-time in any college or university graduate or undergraduate program. Membership dues are $35 per year. This is a non-voting membership category that does not include legal or web services.
Membership-at-Large is a non-voting membership category available to literary agents who have placed more than ten works with American publishers; heirs, trustees, or executors representing the estate of a deceased author who was an Authors Guild member, or whose literary work would have qualified the author for active membership; and attorneys and accountants who represent authors.