Friday, February 25, 2011

The Friday Five

Recently, my publisher, Barbour, took out ad space in the Romance Sells Magazine that is sent to librarians and book-buyers in order to start the promotion of my upcoming release A Bride's Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas, due out this September.

Romance Sells is published by the Romance Writers of America, a writer's organization that boasts more than 10,000 members worldwide.

As a brand-new member of the RWA, I'm still learning my way around, but I'm already finding some valuable resources and information.

So today's Friday Five is:

Five benefits of belonging to writers' organizations.

1. Networking--a.k.a. making new friends who love the same things you do.

2. Education. Both the RWA and the ACFW offer courses, industry information, and instruction in the craft of writing and selling fiction.

3. Professionalism. Belonging to professional organizations calls upon a writer to think of herself as a professional and helps others to view her as the same.

4. Contests that are recognized in the industry. The ACFW Genesis and Carol Awards and the RWA Rita and Golden Heart Awards are well-recognized. Finaling or winning in one of these contests fill out an author's resume nicely.

5. Conferences. I've not been to an RWA conference, but I've been to many ACFW Conferences, and it has become a highlight of my year. Meeting with friends and editors and agents, listening to the speakers, and fellowshipping with 500+ fellow writers is fun, exhilerating, exhausting, memorable, and so much more. I hope never to miss an ACFW conference if I can help it.

So, question for you: Do you belong to a professional organization? What benefits have you gleaned?


  1. I belong to Masscribes, a guild for calligraphers. Not a professional group as you don't need to be a professional to join, but the benefits are the same as you described. I can compare prices with peers, take workshops from master calligraphers, as well as attend conferences to take classes and hobnob with fellow inksters.

  2. Oh my goodness, ACFW has changed my entire writing experience. The fellowship has been HUGE for me.

    How are those teeth?
    ~ Wendy

  3. I didn't realize you'd joined RWA! I've been a member for years, but find that ACFW has been the more valuable membership.

  4. Last year I joined ACFW and have found it to be a very welcoming and educational resource. I'm planning on attending their conference in Sept. It will be my first writing conference. Apart from the nerves that naturally accompany something new, I'm really looking forward to all I can learn in the face-to-face environment.

  5. I love belonging to ACFW. I've met SO many amazing people and learned about the writing conference and Genesis - both of which went a long way in getting me to where I am today.

    I'm not a member of RWA you think I should be?

  6. I'm a member of RWA and ACFW. Both are filled with amazing, talented writers. Both offer excellent instruction. While RWA isn't a Christian organization, there's an awesome online chapter for inspirational romance writers: Faith, Hope, and Love.

  7. I've been a member of ACFW since last year and it's been beneficial in more ways than I can say. Definitely worth it :)

  8. I'm not a member of ACFW...yet! But I have been considering and all these positive comments have got me convinced to join. Thanks, Erica and all!

  9. I recently moved, and am definitely in need of finding a new writer's organization. I've never attended the conferences, but have heard nothing but wonderful things about them.

    Thanks for reminding me to put this at the top of my to-do list.

  10. I'm just an ACFWer for now. I'd love to hear what RWA offers that ACFW doesn't.

    I've only been to one ACFW conference, but it was fabulous! I'm hoping to be able to go this year. Yay!

  11. I've been a member of RWA since they first started the group. In fact, I attended their very first conference and many since. I would suggest you don't attend RWA conferences without taking your support group with you. It's huge and you can feel quite lonely in that crowd if you don't know anyone.

    Many ACFW members join RWA and then drop out because they make the mistake of comparing it to ACFW. It's totally different, don't compare. Then again, if you think about it--not that different. There are encouragers and destroyers in both groups. No, RWA is not a Christian organization, but there are some wonderful writers who are Christians. Like Keli said, lots of amazing and talented writers in both. I will NEVER let my RWA membership lapse; there are many resources and many, many RWA chapters that fulfill my needs--online and off. I've found I'm always encouraged and never judged.

    I suppose this is a lot like seeing the movie first or reading the book first. I "grew up" in RWA so I'm quite partial. You discovered ACFW first so your heart will always be with them. You'll receive much but different things from each of them.

    I hope you find RWA a valuable resource. You may not like it at all. But Faith, Hope & Love is the Christian RWA chapter and it's a very warm & special group. You'll love them if you join.

  12. I have been a member of RWA since 1993. It is an all encompassing professional writer organization.

    As Jess said, RWA and ACFW are like apples and oranges.

    RWA has been around a very long time and they are the single largest writing organization in the world.

    The the quality of the workshops they offer is top notch. You would have to spend hundreds of dollars for some of the two hour workshops offered at conference by industry professionals. The number of workshops offered is staggering as well.

    Besides the usual, networking, local chapters, conference and a glossy magazine, RWA offers industry group discounts on such things as PW, Bookscan, Publisher's Alley and insurance for writers.

    Additionally, one ad in the RWR reaches 11 thousand members.

    They also provide industry advocacy. The annual literacy event has raised close to 700 thousand dollars.

    I see ACFW as being more about fellowship and that cannot be measured. But would I give up one in favor of the other? No way.

    Hope to see you in NYC this summer!!