Jo work picAt some point in your career – if you haven't already, that is – you will come across the Society of Authors, and quite reasonably wonder: who are they, what do they do, can I join? So let me help clear that up for you.

The society was founded over 100 years ago and now has more than 8,500 members. Through its professional staff (including solicitors) it offers a comprehensive service on all the various aspects of authorship, such as:

  • providing info about agents, publishers and broadcasting;

  • advising on negotiations of agreements and the vetting of contracts;

  • helping with writing related queries, royalties and fees;

  • pursuing legal action of breach of contract or copyright infringement.

It also produces a wide range of publications (free to members) including its Quick Guides, covering most aspects of authorship and writing.

The society is in close contact with many related associations including the Association of Authors' Agents, the Booksellers Association, the Publishers' Association, the British Council, and, of course, the Writers' Guild of Great Britain.

It frequently helps to secure improved conditions and better returns for its members. So much so, it's common for members to report that, through the help and facilities offered, they have saved more (sometimes a lot more) than their annual subscription to the society.

Interested in joining? Membership is only open to authors who have had a work published, broadcast or performed commercially in the UK, and to those who've had a full-length work accepted for publication but not yet published.

It costs (at time of blogging) £90 to join, although there are special rates available for some.

So, if you need help or advice you know the place to find it!

Warm wishes, Jo