But blogging can go only so far in righting this wrong.
The need will remain for advocacy groups for writers regardless of the changing publishing scene—or maybe because of it.
So I would challenge Nate Hoffelder’s recent headline in The Digital Reader: The Authors Guild Now Recruiting Writers Before They Know Better Than to Join TAG.
“Emerging writers” can now join for the Authors Guild for $100 a year, under a new arrangement. Here’s the form. The cost is $25 less than the $125 for full and associate members, and you don’t have to earned such-and-such an amount for your work.
Newbies will be able to enjoy such benefits as “publishing industry updates and advice; marketing and social media advice; website building and hosting; access to members-only workshops, seminars, and events, digital access to the Authors Guild Bulletin; discounted media liability insurance; listing in our member profiles; exclusive discounts on services and goods designed to help you with your writing business, as well as discounts on hotels, car rentals, and more. If you have a contract you would like us to review or require other legal services, please apply at the full membership level.” Here’s more on the benefits of various kinds of membership.
“For those who fret about legal issues, the legal services and the option for media liability insurance might be worth the cost,” Mike Perry, a frequent TeleRead commenter, said in urging me to write on the new membership class. I agree.
I know: questions have arisen about the Guild’s past deals with providers of publishing services—about whether they were optimal for writers. But the Guild offers plenty else, as shown by the items above.
Granted, I have disagreed with the Guild on some copyright-related issues. But whether it’s the Guild vs. Google, writers’ groups vs. libraries, authors vs. publishers, or anything else, the big question isn’t how the pie is sliced. It’s the pathetic size of the pie. American households are spending just a pittance on books compared to the thousands lavished on other forms of entertainment.
I’m not the only one concerned about those numbers. So is Mary Rasenberger (photo), the Guild’s executive director, who I found to be most open minded on the topic of a national digital library endowment, one way to grow the pie for writers, publishers, and everyone else. She is also eager to reach out to libraries.
So let’s give her and the Guild a chance, and meanwhile if you can benefit from the organization’s services, why not join? Besides, whether you’re a voting or nonvoting member, you can speak up and help the Guild with your feedback.