Reprinted from the Winter–Spring 2022 issue of the Authors Guild Bulletin
In talking to some of you, I’ve discovered that not everyone is aware of the extensive benefits that come with Guild membership. Please take a moment to look through the list, because there are some truly excellent Guild benefits that you may not be aware of.
1. Free legal advice
Our staff attorneys are experts in copyright, media, and contract law. They will review members’ writing-related contracts, assist with disputes with publishers or issues with payment, provide legal advice on copyright, trademark, libel, and right of publicity matters, all for free. We will review or advise on contracts, including but not limited to book publishing agreements, film and television contracts, agency agreements, freelance journalism agreements, and any other contracts involving creative content. Our attorneys will also give you free legal advice on other publishing concerns. If we determine that a company or entity has acted in legal bad faith, we will go to bat for you by writing legal letters and by publicizing unfair and illegitimate practices. Being a member of the Authors Guild is like having a lawyer on retainer—for only $135 per year.
2. Authors Guild regional chapters
In many parts of the country, we maintain chapters where local authors can meet in person, connect, network, get to know each other—and have fun.
3. Seminars, webinars, and events
Authors Guild members have access to a vast range of special programs, seminars, and webinars focusing on all aspects of publishing, including finding an agent, getting published, building a social media platform, marketing your book, and understanding the business of writing. We offer information on virtual marketing, legal vetting of manuscripts, libel insurance, tax advice, publicity and promotion, career building, and much more.
4. Grants and fellowships
Members have access to comprehensive information on grants, fellowships, scholarships, awards and prizes, workshops, and retreats.
5. Access to the online community bulletin board
The Guild’s “All Member Discussion Board” is a place where writers can connect with fellow authors, discuss their books, provide mutual support, seek advice, report scams, and complaints.
Members can create websites using the Guild’s website platform, designed for authors, with staff assistance. Members may also host their websites through the Guild, register domain names and personalized email accounts at low cost. Using our web services gives you access to a dedicated support team—it is like having a tech person on retainer.
7. Press credentials and cards
Working journalists who are Guild members can receive press credentials and cards through the International Federation of Journalists.
8. Health insurance advice
The Guild offers concierge services to members through LIG Solutions to help them locate the best health insurance. Members can also purchase supplemental dental, vision, critical care, RX, and other insurances through LIG.
9. Media liability insurance
Our partnership with Dingy/NSM Insurance Group allows members access to affordable media liability insurance.
10. Self-publishing support
Guild members have free access to The Authors Guild Guide to Self- Publishing, by the renowned expert Jane Friedman and available exclusively to Authors Guild members.
A definitive guide to everything you need to know before embarking on self-publishing and marketing, the Guide is updated regularly. Frequent webinars and articles on self-publishing provide additional, targeted advice for the novice and the experienced. We also provide comprehensive information on choosing an e-publishing platform, hiring editors, designers, and publicists, working with retailers, registering ISBN’s, and more.
11. Problems with Amazon?
The Guild has direct, high-level access to Amazon executives. If you have a problem with piracy on Amazon platforms, with Amazon’s marketing, procedures, reviews, or if there are mistakes regarding your books, we will take your problem to the top.
12. Copyright registration
The Guild’s legal staff will assist you in registering your copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office and will guide you through the small copyright claims process with the Copyright Claims Board (CCB).
13. Guides to literary agent agreements
Members have access to comprehensive guidance on finding an agent, navigating the mysteries of agency agreements, query letters, pitching, and much more.
14. Model contracts
The Guild has drafted an annotated Model Trade Book Publishing Agreement, a Model Translation Agreement, and a Model Film/TV Option agreement—all of which provide concrete advice on how to negotiate contracts and what to expect.
15. Writers Marketplace
Members can advertise their writing, editing, proofing, coaching and other writing related services to the general public and other members. Prospective clients can connect with members through this portal.
16. Back in Print services
The Guild has partnered with the Independent Publishers Group to offer ebook conversion and print- on-demand formatting and publication services, with distribution to all online retailers—Amazon, Apple, B&N, and Kobo.
17. Member profiles
If you wish, we will add you to our member profile list, an important resource consulted by industry professionals. Your listing can include a biography, list of works, pictures of book covers, services you offer, social media handles, contact information, and more.
18. We do good in this crazy world
Perhaps the most important benefit is what the Guild does to support and defend American literary culture. The Authors Guild is the nation’s oldest and largest professional organization of writers. Since our founding, we have served as the collective voice of American authors and have long supported the rich and diverse literary culture of our country. We promote the rights of all authors to write without interference or threat and to receive fair compensation. We advocate for authors on issues of copyright—a right enshrined in Article 1 of the Constitution. We fight for fair contracts. We work with Congress to make sure authors are treated fairly in tax law. We fight piracy. We push back against big tech companies like Google and the Internet Archive that expropriate content from authors and deliver it to consumers under the “information wants to be free” banner. We vigorously represent authors’ concerns in Washington with a full-time lobbyist. When necessary, the Guild litigates against corporations and other malefactors who have trampled on the rights of authors or taken their work without permission, and we have won millions in compensation for authors. The Guild is a remarkably effective organization, and we accomplish a great deal with tight but well- deployed finances.
As an author, I know that most of us prefer to work on our own and are not enthusiastic joiners.
By being a member of the Authors Guild, we have come together to create an influential and respected coalition of the country’s authors and journalists that is 12,000 strong. That is real power. When we speak through the Authors Guild, our voice is heard, and we can accomplish great things. Thank you for being part of that.
— Douglas Preston
The Authors Guild