Why You Need to Join the Society of Authors Pronto

So I recently registered to join the Society of Authors and today received my information pack, replete with stylish journal, pamphlets and helpful bits of info on all things authorly, including;-

  • How to register with the ALCS (Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society), who by the looks of it are a ridiculously useful organisation to sign up to – their whole raison d’être being to recoup collective payments on the behalf of authors (e.g. and I quote, anything ‘from photocopying in schools and universities, cable transmission in Europe of some TV and radio, and monies from loans from foreign libraries’). Meaning any secondary/tertiary earnings due from work you’ve published, these guys will record and retrieve on your behalf. Like your own private Gestapo, but without the violence. Perhaps.
  • A list of benefits and perks ranging from specialist insurance arrangements to exclusive discounts and even lowered rates on stays at certain residential (authorly) establishments.
  • Helpful links to tax advice and services, which will come in handy as although I’m improving in this area I’m still not always the savviest when it comes to the toxic combo of minutiae and numbers.

The Society of Authors also provide advice on contract agreements for authors who don't yet have an agent.

But the crown jewel for me at present is the quarterly journal. I have a thing for journals anyway. Something about the sleek waxy covers and the glossy feel of the pages. As though the whole thing is an oblation to your legitimacy, designed to remind you, ‘hey, you’re a professional, you’re worth it.’ And when said publication is accompanied by a light-hearted broadsheet-style cover design, all the better. I’ll admit I spent a decent amount of time admiring its surfaces before delving into the inevitably edifying content within.

Funny thing was I got a cheap giddy thrill from looking through the pack. Similar to the one I experienced when attending the Northern Lights Writer’s Conference late last year. Like having been admitted into some private fraternity (or whatever the non-gender specific equivalent is).

I guess when you’re involved in work as solitary as writing often is, anything that reminds you of being part of a community, a club of others experiencing similar challenges, gripes and joys to you, feels especially gratifying. Which reminds me of a quote from one of my favourite authors:

“Writing is difficult. You do it all alone without encouragement and without any certainty that you’ll ever be published or paid or even that you’ll be able to finish the particular work you’ve begun. It isn’t easy to persist amid all that… People who want to write either do it or they don’t. [Which is why I] say that my most important talent – or habit – was persistence. Without it, I would have given up writing long before I finished my first novel. It’s amazing what we can do if we simply refuse to give up.”
― Octavia E. Butler

Which is as good a reason to keep going as any. And if it isn’t, well, you should join the Society of Authors. Their information pack alone will perk you right up.

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