Being successful as a writer takes hard work, dedication, and support from a network of equally dedicated writers. Professional Associations can, and should, be an important part of this process. As I continued my research into the publishing world, I explored the benefits of joining an association. What I thought would be a simple task, evolved into a complex attempt to weed through marketing mania.
I began my search by considering what professional associations and my quest to understand the publishing world had in common. As I considered the question, my thoughts centered on the struggles writer’s find when navigating the massive publishing arena. I decided to use this philosophy as a baseline when evaluating the sites I found. While I know associations serve many purposes, I wanted to find ones that focused on helping writers with the business end of their craft.
There are an abundance of writing associations listed on the web. However, many of them are focused on helping the writer learn their craft, for a fee of course. While on the surface many seemed to fit my needs, further research made me question their creditability. When reviewing their membership benefits, the sites were geared towards utilizing the association’s services instead of promoting a community of writers.
I did find associations where the focus revolved around the writer and building a supportive writing community, but unfortunately, ones specific to my genre have stringent membership requirements (usually a publishing success threshold). At first, I was discouraged, but soon understood that in order to have a truly beneficial community, membership needs to be restricted to those dedicated to the craft. Without membership requirements, the countless “make a quick buck” population would infiltrate and deaden the effectiveness.
Building a network within the writing community is an important part of the business model. Without connections, even the best writing will fail. However, belonging to an association is not the only way to succeed. I belong to a local writer’s group and have found the experience far more rewarding than anything else I have encountered. The feedback is genuine and not concerned with making a profit and members truly understand the struggles a writer endures.
Associations are still a great opportunity to explore, and I hope to someday meet the publishing threshold. However, writers looking to join associations should be careful about the organization’s ultimate goal. Is it to promote a community of writers or increase their own pocket book?