After having poisoned its reputation with established writers and retired writers by blatantly serving the interest of corporate publishers for decades, The Authors Guild has found a new way to boost its flagging membership roles.
The Authors Guild had already set a relatively low bar for membership, and today they created a new type of membership solely for aspiring writers.
The Emerging Writer Membership is designed to provide resources, information, and community to writers—young and old—who are in the early stages of their careers.
Writers face unique challenges in today’s publishing environment. 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 Emerging Writers Membership gives writers access to almost all of the resources that the Authors Guild provides, including free or discounted services such as marketing and social media advice, media liability insurance, website hosting, as well as seminars, workshops and networking opportunities that have been developed exclusively for emerging writers.
The membership cost is $100 a year, and there is effectively no requirements for joining. All you have to do is identify as an aspiring writer when you fill out the paperwork.
In comparison, full membership in TAG has a relatively low financial requirement. To qualify as an associate member you have to have either a book contract or have earned $500 from your writing in the past 18 months, while a regular member has to have earned $5,000 from their writing in the past year and a half, or have a book published with a publisher. (Membership dues are $125 a year.)
Yes, I have qualified for a membership in TAG since 2011, and so do nearly all paid bloggers and online journalists.
And yet no one is joining TAG. The group currently claims "almost 9,000 members", while in 2008 the membership count was described as "more than 8,000 writers"(Wayback Machine).
Hmm, I wonder what that says about the group, and its relevancy?
On the face of it, $100 to $125 for a membership is a great deal. You get access to all sorts of resources, including seminars, legal advice (full members only), a discount on insurance, member discounts on other services, and so on. They even help with website hosting, and domain registration.
And yet, even though the ebook revolution has launched tens of thousands of careers, those authors aren't joining TAG.
Nor are the tens of thousands of writers in other professions.
What does that say about The Authors Guild?
image by starmanseries