I hope you and your families are safe and well. The Authors Guild staff are working from home, and we continue to remain intensely focused on what we can do for authors to help all of us get through this crisis.
When the pandemic first emerged, we reached out and engaged in discussions with publishers, the American Booksellers Association, bookstores, authors, and others. Our goals were to: first, define the problems authors faced in this unprecedented crisis; and second, develop and implement specific plans to address these issues. Our goal is to help all authors (not just our members), and especially the most vulnerable.
We’ve also been working with state and the federal government to understand exactly what programs are available to help authors facing financial hardship, and to make absolutely sure authors and freelance writers are not left out of the relief effort.
Please use this link to connect with the Authors Guild “COVID-19 Resources Page” to get comprehensive information on the resources available to you, and to read about the programs the Guild has launched and how they can support you.
We’ve been working with our excellent lobbyists in Congress to insure that freelance writers and authors are covered under the CARES Act PUA unemployment insurance and other federal programs. We’re doing the same advocacy for writers at the state and local level, making sure that unemployment insurance benefits and other programs are available to authors and freelance writers.
We’ve launched a #SupportAuthors social media campaign and we’re launching a series of COVID-19 webinars on a whole range of issues, from how to get CARES Act and other government relief, to marketing books online, holding online book tours, and organizing speaking events through Zoom.
We’re fighting for authors who have not been paid money owed to them or whose contracts have been otherwise violated or suspended. And we’ve exposed Internet Archive and its despicable use of the pandemic as a cover to massively violate authors’ copyrights for its so-called “National Emergency Library.”
These are just a few of the things we’re doing to help authors. Again, I’d urge you to look over the Guild’s COVID-19 Resource Page to get more specifics.
The situation continues to evolve, and the Guild will continue to double down on advocacy, education and industry leadership that is at the core of our mission.
Authors and others have asked how they might help. The Guild has created the Authors Guild Response Fund. If any of you are in a position to donate to this fund, we would be extraordinarily grateful. (The Authors Guild Foundation is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.) To be frank, like many nonprofits we’re in sudden financial straits, having been forced to cancel our gala benefit, which contributes a quarter of our revenue. So if you can help, that would be wonderful.
There is another way authors can help each other. This is a pet project of mine, because I recall—as acutely as if it were yesterday—what it was like to be a struggling author trying to find a readership. If you’re an author with a large following, it would be wonderful if you would make a video to promote the work of a few emerging authors you love, especially those with books coming out at this time. Here’s a video I made along those lines. Use the hashtag #SupportAuthors and the tag @authorsguild so that we can repost your video.
I send all of you fellow authors and freelance writers my heartfelt hopes and wishes for a safe and healthy passage through this crisis.
The Authors Guild