Author Groups to Help You Write, Publish, and Promote Your Books

by | Jan 27, 2016

There is plenty of help for you online if want to know how to improve your craft, create better book covers, and market your books.

Some of the top blogs include this one, Joanna Penn’s TheCreativePenn.com, Mark Coker’s Smashwords.com, and Jane Friedman’s JaneFriedman.com.

Then there are the websites whose sole purpose is dedicated to helping Indie authors write, edit, publish, and market their books as well as network and support other Indie publishers. If you’ve been looking for an online group to join, consider one of these online organizations.

The Alliance of Independent Authors

ALLi is a nonprofit association of authors from around the world who self-publish their books. Orna Ross founded this organization just four years ago and has since expanded to thousands of members. Services include an online forum, author guides, seminars, a blog, and an author advice center. ALLi’s mission is “ethics and excellence in self-publishing.”

There are three levels of membership:

  • Author members must have self-published a full-length 50,000+ word book or a series of short books. This membership level entitles writers to free education, information, services, and cross-collaboration. The membership fee is $99/year.
  • Professional members earn their living as an author-publisher. The membership fee is $139/year.
  • Associate members are writers who haven’t yet published a book. The membership fee is $75/year.
  • Partner memberships are for organizations with employees. Fees range from $199 to $599/year.

Its blog covers a range of topics, including advice on writing, editing, design and formatting, production and distribution, marketing and promotion, and book rights and contracts.

My perspective: Orna Ross is a respected author, so I trust that she founded a great group. The resources appear to be top-notch, and here you’ll find articles from Mark Coker, Jane Friedman, David Gaughran, Joanna Penn, and Joel Friedlander. If you’re looking for a group, this seems like a great one.

American Society of Journalists and Authors

If you write nonfiction, this is an organization to consider. Its members include more than 1,200 freelance writers of magazine articles, trade books, and other forms of nonfiction. Its services focus on professional development of its members. ASJA is the only professional association focused on independent nonfiction writers.

The ASJA sponsors an annual writers conference, and the organization offers a member blog, newsletter, mentoring program, emergency assistance fund, and writing awards.

My perspective: The ASJA is a respected group that’s been around since 1948. There seem to be too few organizations dedicated to nonfiction authors, so if you write articles and nonfiction books, this organization is well worth joining.

Author Marketing Club

The Author Marketing Club boasts more than 25,000 authors and readers. One of its loyal advocates is Joanna Penn.

What is unique about AMC is that it serves the interests of both authors and readers. Writers enjoy help with promotion and training and readers get notified about discounted books and can use the site to discover new authors.

There are two membership levels. Premium members pay $149/year while members with a lifetime pass pay $295.

AMC certainly has some excellent benefits. For example, if you want to promote your eBook for free for five days, use this site to find 37 online venues that will list your book. The website also offers:

  • training videos
  • pre-made book covers
  • events
  • an academy that includes tools
  • videos on a range of topics important to Indie authors
  • a publishing checklist
  • and more

If you are confused about how to best position your book on Amazon, AMC has a tool that you can complete, and it will automatically insert the appropriate HTML codes for you. This website seems to offer an excellent array of services for Indie authors.

My perspective: I value Joanna Penn’s opinion, and I like the services AMC offers and the option to pay a lifetime membership fee. Including readers as members is also a good move on the part of this organization. If you are new to self-publishing, you might want to start with this group. Its lifetime pass makes it economical to join and stay.

BlogHer

If you are looking for a blogging community, BlogHer is one way to find colleagues. I discovered this site when doing my research for an eBook on blogging. If you join, your inbox will immediately become inundated with bloggers looking for collaborators. Try not to be overwhelmed.

My perspective: If you want to share blogging responsibilities, review books for other authors, or find authors who also write in your genre, this might be a place to check out. I just didn’t find a place where I, as a nonfiction author, could easily fit. And I confess that I found the onslaught of emails from people I didn’t know overwhelming. I didn’t last long as a member.

BookWorks

BookWorks offers three levels of membership:

  • Core – Free
  • Committed – $99/year
  • Professional – $199/year

BookWords is a community for authors that also provides:

  • a resource directory
  • customizable author profile
  • bookshop
  • discounts on a range of subscriptions, memberships, and tools

Its goal is to help its members prepare their books, publish, and promote them.

The professional membership entitles authors to a 20-minute phone consult, a blurb for your book cover, and priority consideration for book-of-the-week status.

My perspective: Many of its features were available only to members, so it’s difficult to assess whether this organization is worth joining. I’d like to hear from some of you about BookWorks. To learn more about it, visit the website or subscribe to its blog, which is available to nonmembers.

IBPA

The IBPA claims 3,000 members and has chapters in the U.S. It provides a range of services, including:

  • support and guidance
  • discounts on subscriptions and tools
  • a publishing university
  • awards programs
  • monthly magazine

For individual authors, the membership fee is $129/year; publishers with employees pay anywhere from $129/year to $615/year.

The organization has staff and a board of directors. The website has a blog and sponsors a publishing university. Its benefits include:

  • book awards
  • a sample translation rights licensing agreement
  • publisher’s liability insurance
  • free one-year subscription to Foreword Reviews magazine
  • discounts on a range of services from Constant Contact to Publishers Weekly to Bowker

For a fee, IBPA will include your titles in listings of books sent to a variety of venues.

My perspective: I belong to a local chapter of IBPA, and I believe it’s indispensable for new Indie authors. Meetings include question-and-answer sessions, speakers, training, and camaraderie. This is definitely an organization to seriously consider joining. It offers the broadest array of discounts and services and if you below to a local chapter, your annual fee to IBPA will be discounted.

Nonfiction Authors Association

Founded by Stephanie Chandler, the NAA acts as a community for authors to learn, exchange ideas, and polish their book publishing and promotion skills. The best part of this group is its educational resources for all areas of nonfiction writing.

You can join for free and still benefit from the twice-a-month educational teleseminars. But if you want to enjoy all of the benefits of this organization, you’ll need to pay its membership fee of $190/year. The association has expanded and now there are chapters available. And it offers an online, three-day conference.

My perspective: If you are serious about developing your nonfiction writing career, this organization is worth joining for at least one year.

The World Literary Café

One of the beauties of WLC is that it’s free to join. You’ll find authors and readers here, book reviewers, a blog, editors, artists, and book formatting experts. The website offers training on social media, self-publishing, effective book marketing, and other topics.

A benefit of joining is for the cross-promotion among its members. WLC has tweet teams comprised of members who commit to promoting each others’ books and blog posts. Its Read and Review Forum connects authors with book bloggers, and its Author-Blogger Connection connects writers to bloggers to arrange blog tours.

My perspective: This free organization might be a good place to try for a year if you want to enhance your skills without spending any money.

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

If you write picture books or illustrate them or do both, this is your organization. Its membership is worldwide and claims to be the only organization specifically for writers and illustrators targeting young children to young adults.

The organization provides awards and grant programs, has regional chapters around the world, hosts conferences, and has a member bookstore, resource library, and an illustrator gallery. Membership costs $95 for the first year and $80 for the second year.

My perspective: Authors and illustrators of children’s books will benefit from this organization solely dedicated to their members’ needs.

Genre-Based Organizations

There are numerous organizations that support authors who write genre novels. Some of these are:

Which organizations have you joined?

Photo: bigstockphoto.com

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9 Comments

  1. Nanuchka Zoranovich

    Hi,

    I found the information and reviews here to be very helpful. Thanks so much!

    I join NFAA, and I plan on checking out the resources you posted on the right. Their topics are all on point, and sound good from their titles and descriptions.

    If you send a newsletter, plase add me to your list.

    With appreciation,
    Nanuchka

    Reply
  2. Joan Stewart

    Don’t forget about all the author groups on social media sites.

    My favorite is the Author U group on LinkedIn. Book shepherd Judith Briles moderates this lively community of more than 13,500 authors who share tips, articles and advice. Judith often responds personally.

    Join at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2603729

    Reply
  3. Keisha Broomes

    Under Genre-Based Organizations, you should include American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). This is a great group for Christian writers. It’s affordable (only $45 per year for a basic membership) and their Scribes critique group is amazing.

    Reply
  4. Marquita Herald

    Very helpful and I had the same feeling about BlogHer. I took a look at ASJA but they clearly frown on self-published authors. They will consider you if you jump through several hoops, but frankly the whole tone put me off so I don’t think I’d want to be a member of this organization regardless of how I publish. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Frances Caballo

      Marquita: Thanks so much for your input. I’m so surprised to hear that about ASJA. They invited me to speak at their conference and I’m a self-published author. I had no idea they were so biased. Did you check out IBPA? I love my local chapter.

      Reply
  5. Michael N. Marcus

    Good list. Thanks.

    Despite my Y chromosome, I’ve been a member of SheWrites for many years. The ladies are nice to me.

    Reply
    • Frances Caballo

      Yes, She Writes is great. Thanks for including them on the list via your comment.

      Reply
  6. Ernie Zelinski

    You ask, “Which organizations have you joined?”

    Actually, I don’t belong to any author clubs or organizations. I have taken the approach of Groucho Marx, who declared in a telegram to a prominent theatrical organization “whose members didn’t do much of anything except cheat at cards . . .

    “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”

    These words of wisdom also resonate with me:

    “The great creative individual . . . is capable of more wisdom and virtue than collective man ever can be.”
    — John Stuart Mill

    “Creativity varies inversely with the number of cooks involved in the broth.”
    — Bernice Fitz-Gibbon

    “When you do work that matters, the crowd will call you a fool.
    If you do something remarkable, something new and something important, not everyone will understand it (at first). Your work is for someone, not everyone. Unless you’re surrounded only by someones,
    you will almost certainly encounter everyone. And when you do, they will jeer. That’s how you’ll know you might be onto something.”
    — Seth Godin

    “The good ideas are all hammered out in agony by individuals, not
    spewed out by groups.”
    — Charles Bower

    Taking the approach of doing what most other authors aren’t doing (instead of doing what most authors are doing) has helped me sell over 900,000 copies of my books (mainly self-published) worldwide.

    By taking this approach, I also get other benefits that most other authors won’t ever get. Just this week I had an out-of-the-blue offer from a British publisher to pen a book that I could have written in two or three weeks by working only three or four hours a day. The publisher was offering $6,500 but no royalties. I turned down the publisher mainly because with the high pretax income I already make I would be taxed at the marginal tax rate of 48 percent. So I got the publisher to agree to have an author friend of mine to undertake the project. With my help, he will earn $6,500 for two or three weeks work and add to his credentials — and I get the joy and satisfaction from having helped him enjoy more success and prosperity in his life.

    In short, there is no need for my belonging to any author organization to be successful and prosperous as a self-published or traditional author.

    There is one more important observation I would like to share from my favorite marketing guru:

    “Books work as an art form (and an economic one) because they are
    primarily the work of an individual.”
    — Seth Godin

    Reply
    • Frances Caballo

      Ernie: Thank you for adding to this conversation. I congratulate you on your tremendous success!

      Reply

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