The famous expression “No man is an island” emphasizes the interconnectedness of people and is particularly applicable to authors and writing groups. In fact, writing groups date back as far as 400 BC, when Socrates and his pupils met to discuss ideas and philosophy. Even more “recent” authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, and Truman Capote were involved in some form of writing group. But as technology has developed and the exchange of ideas has become easier and, dare I say, commonplace, a new resource for authors has been developed: the writers association.
Unlike writing groups, which are typically informal and comprised of friends and colleagues, writers associations are a more institutionalized version of their companions. They sometimes require potential members to fill out an application or require membership dues from those accepted. But with this selectivity comes many perks, and while writers groups are a fantastic resource that should not be discounted, associations offer a few bonus perks that authors are hard pressed to find elsewhere.
The Historical Novel Society, for example, offers members exclusive access to their critique groups, as well as discounts to various conferences (both their own and others’) and writers retreats. For those looking for a non-genre specific association, there is also the National Writers Association, which offers members advice on both writing and business services, providing industry-related research and contract advice.
These are just two examples of the hundreds of writing associations available to upcoming and seasoned authors, and their perks are seemingly endless. Not only is there an association for almost every genre, they operate both online and in most major cities. Plus, most associations put on an annual conference, allowing authors to network, attend workshops, and meet with literary agents to discuss book pitches. But perhaps the best part about writers associations is their diversity; they offer services for authors regardless of where they are in the writing process and grant access to a plethora of useful information. Combined with the monetary perks and business services, it’s little wonder why writers associations are so popular.
Now, if you’re ready to join one, here is a list of associations for you to check out. This list is by no means complete and listed associations are not affiliated with BookFuel, but it’s a great way to get started.