Guest Author: Mark Athitakis, Associations Now
The writers’ association new structure empowers “ambassadors” to host local events to support members who aren’t necessarily in busy literary hubs like New York City.
All the serious writers live in the biggest cities, right? No, but to better support its members who work outside the country’s largest publishing hubs, the Authors Guild (AG) has launched a chapter program starting with 14 cities, with more to come.
Executive Director Mary Rasenberger said the shift to a chapter structure has been on her mind since she arrived at the organization three and a half years ago. But other priorities—including a lengthy litigation saga over freelance-writer payments that finally ended this spring—kept the idea on the back burner.
Still, Rasenberger kept the discussion about it going with AG’s board. During those board discussions, she said, “We asked, what do our members want from us and expect from us? And one of the things that came out of that was community. One of the things we can provide our members is community, but we have not been doing it very effectively outside of New York.”
The new regional chapter model, launched earlier this month, comprises 14 U.S. cities, including well-known writers’ locales such as New York, LA, Chicago, Boston, DC, and the San Francisco Bay Area. But smaller regions, such as Raleigh-Durham, NC, and Las Vegas, are also included. Members of those 14 regions represent about two-thirds of AG’s total membership, and more regional chapters are planned, Rasenberger said.