The association’s new Emerging Writer member tier, which will be offered to writers who are currently seeking ways to publish their work, gives those still working to establish themselves in the field the opportunity to receive benefits from the guild.
The Authors Guild is making room for authors who haven’t yet been published.
This week, the guild, which represents working writers, announced it was expanding its membership to support nonprofessional “emerging” writers who are actively seeking publication of their work but previously wouldn’t have met the association’s income requirements for members.
The new membership option, which costs $100 per year, represents an outstretched hand from an industry that can be tough to break into.
“Writers face unique challenges in today’s publishing environment,” the guild states on its website. “On one hand, there are fewer barriers to entry than ever before. On the other, a career as a writer is difficult to build, and the publishing industry can seem intimidating and unwelcoming.”
The membership comes with benefits such as invitations to writing seminars, discounts on media liability insurance, and access to website hosting services. Starting next year, the guild will offer resources for marketing and building a social media presence.
In a news release announcing the new member category, the guild noted that in the past it has frequently changed gears to adapt to the many disruptions in publishing, including electronic books, self-publishing, Google Books, and Amazon. (The guild spent a decade locked in a legal battle over Google Books. Earlier this year, however, it lost its final appeal when the Supreme Court decided not to hear the case.)
“Yet no change has prompted such a significant expansion of [the guild’s] membership structure as the democratizing effect of online publishing,” the association stated.
Offering help with the new membership strategy is Electric Literature, a storytelling group focused on digital platforms.
“Today, writers build their careers through a combination of freelance work, social media, and personal web publications like Tumblr, Tinyletter, and Medium as often, or more frequently, than they do from book contracts,” Electric Literature Executive Director Halimah Marcus said in the news release. “Writers today aren’t following a traditional career path and need different resources accordingly.”
The guild currently has close to 9,000 members.