To Join or Not to Join

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Why join professional organizations? Isn’t it just a big waste of money?

It’s not money thrown away if you take advantage of all that memberships offer, such as:

Specialized training/education in the form of webinars, podcasts, tutorials, etc.

Conferences.

Networking opportunities, encouragement, relationship-building, friendships.

Discounts on products and materials

Leadership opportunities; Chances to “give back” to your profession.

Professionalism (just another way to show that you are serious about your profession).

Ways to showcase your abilities, achievements. Awards, recognition.

**Since this is tax season, let me include that the cost of association dues are often tax deductible. However, the membership must be ordinary and necessary and actually help you in your trade. If your reason for joining is only for pleasure or social purposes, the dues are not deductible.

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Oh, Where Will You Go?

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In elementary school I was taught to separate various words/phrases from the rest of the sentence with commas. Now, my editor tells me that the world of computers—and especially texting, Twitter, and Facebook—have changed the rules. The less use of the comma, the better.

Authors need to stay up on all of the latest information in writing, publishing, and marketing.

One way to do that is by going to meetings of local writing chapters and to conferences. It’s time to plan which ones you would like attend (you can sandwich them between your family vacations and yearly physical exams).

If you are a Christian author, you may want to attend the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference. I try to go at least every three years, myself. Others I would recommend are: Glorietta Writers Conference, Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Colorado Christian Writers Conference, Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, and Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

Since these conferences can be expensive and require travel and hotel costs, you may want to begin your conference “experience” at local conferences. Here in Arizona, our local CWOW (Christian Writers of the West) conference, held each January, is always excellent and very affordable.

Other conferences, geared toward mainstream writers are: The Muse and the Market Place (Boston), ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors) Conference held in New York City, San Francisco’s Writer’s Conference, and Literary Writer’s Conference (New York City).

Expensive? Perhaps. But well worth it because of the added bonus of networking, opportunities for pitching, etc.

Now that you know, where will you go?