Professional Organizations?

1 week ago | Ephemerality (Member)

I wonder what people think of writing organizations like SFWA, HWA, RWA, etc.?

Joining one hadn't even crossed my mind until recently, and even then I hesitated to apply because these organizations tend to be more for traditionally published authors. They are only now beginning to accommodate self-published authors and web fiction is a step beyond that, but I figure that if you want your voice heard it's probably better to do so from the inside. (There's also the whole prestige thing, and maybe connections to be made, though my networking skills are poor.)

Personally, I'm pretty much pro-union in general and think that organizations like this tend to help more than they hurt. At the same time, I think web fiction doesn't quite have the same risks associated, as there is no Amazon or Google Books or Itunes controlling the platform—WordPress is free and open-source (though I suppose Patreon is becoming a major force). I do worry about what I'd ever do if I found someone web scraping my book and profiting from it, I doubt I could afford legal fees and would try to get a takedown myself. (A fan recently made a git repo that had everything on my site, and wanted to make it public so people could contribute to fix typos, which, while a cool idea, I don't think works for intellectual property reasons.)

Anyways, I was just wondering if people had thoughts on the matter since I don't think it's come up recently as a topic.

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Responses

  1. DrewHayes (Member)

    Posted 6 days ago

    I actually just joined SFWA, although not so much for the organization itself. In terms of what these organization actually do, I'm still very uneducated, something I'm hoping to fix in the months ahead. The reason I joined was to be able to add it to whatever passes for a resume amongst authors. As I've been getting more into the convention scene, I've talked with other, wiser authors who explained that being associated with those sorts of organizations can open new doors to you, including helping you get in to the tougher conventions. While we all know such affiliations don't really prove whether or not a writer has merit, to some folks out there its the equivalent of check-mark, something to show you've met some level of accomplishment, even arbitrary ones. I'm sure being part of these orgs has other benefits, hopefully I can expand on some once I've learned more, but what got me to take the plunge was the idea of opening as many options as possible. Working with one company (Tantor) helped me in a lot of ways because of the weight they carry, so I'd say it's definitely worth exploring similar opportunities.

    Super Powereds & Corpies
    http://www.DrewHayesNovels.com/
  2. ubersoft (Member)

    Posted 6 days ago

    I believe the SFWA also provides members access to health insurance pools that will allow them to buy into a health insurance plan that is better than they would otherwise be able to afford on their own. A lot of professional organizations provide benefits like that.

    Curveball (Updating)
    A Rake by Starlight (Updating)
  3. Alexander.Hollins (Member)

    Posted 6 days ago

    Joining SFWA has been on my lists for a long while, I need to get the proper wordcount published though.

    There are benefits and negatives, the SFWA for example has been plagued by gatekeepers for a while, with some hidden political agendas that just recently have started to be cleaned out, the focus back on writers as a whole.

    I do think an organization like that for online serial writers would be useful, but like herding cats to organize and fund.

  4. Naeddyr (Member)

    Posted 6 days ago

    It always helps to keep the immortal words of Groucho Marx in mind: do not join a club that would accept Groucho Marx as a member.

    In this, the SFWA of course qualifies, but I don't think the quotation is meant to be taken completely literally.

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