Expanding Your Network, Part I: Associations
Social media is great for beginning to build your writing (or editing) community. Whether your book is out and you need it boosted, you’re in the querying trenches and need to feel understood, or you’re navigating the frustrating self-publishing changes being pushed out by Amazon and IngramSpark, there’s someone out there who gets it. And while we may have lost one of the strongest platforms for finding those people, alternatives have stepped up and those writing and publishing community voices are coming together again.
But as those manuscripts are completed and you start to think about your longterm goals and potential career as a writer, you may want to stretch beyond the cozy nooks forged on social media. When that time comes, writers' and editors' associations can be a way to level up your community and support.
Why Join an Association
First and foremost: writing can get lonely. And frustrating. And a lot of us have that imposter monster looking over our shoulder.
We have to find the people who will lift us up when we run out of steam or start to doubt ourselves. Associations are made up of like-minded, professional creators who understand the highs and lows of the writer life. But if you've already found your community on Bluesky (or Instagram or Threads or Mastodon or Discord or... or...), then you may wonder what more an association could offer.
Here are just a few other reasons you may want to consider an association:
Professional Contacts. Publishing is still in many ways a "who you know" industry. Associations help you grow that supportive community into a strong network of professional contacts who can help you find open doors.
Skilled Feedback Opportunities. Find solid critique partners and peer mentoring/feedback groups.
Professional Development via workshops, webinars, conferences, etc.
Additional Resources may take the form of legal advice, grants, contests and prizes, etc.
Marketing. You may have an opportunity to add your information to a directory, be a featured member on the site/social media/in newsletters, and other methods of promotion.
Discounts. Some associations have discounts available on professional tools and software, and professional associations may even have discounts on healthcare for freelancers.
List of Writers' and Editors' Associations
There are numerous options out there for you to check out. Below are just a few that I know of for you to consider.
(Know a great association that’s not on the list? Share in the comments!)
The Authors Guild (has eligibility requirements)
Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Horror
Bonus: Editing Associations
Whether you're an editor yourself and looking to meet your colleagues or you're a writer in need of a professional editor, here are a few places to find them:
A Cautionary Note
Just as you’ll occasionally come across new agencies, publishers, etc. that seem to be waving a big ol’ red flag, there are associations that are questionable as well. (IAPWE, for example, is a well known scam.) Do your research before committing any funds to a new association.