American Crime Writers League, 18645 S.W. Farmington Rd. #255, Aloha OR 97007; target="_new">www.acwl.org.Founded: Late 1980s. Dues: $35. Membership criteria: Must have published either one full-length mystery novel or three mystery short stories in nationally distributed, paying publications. Benefits: Newsletter; the BULLETin, which contains information on the business of mystery writing; nominate for and vote on the Ellen Nehr Award for excellence in mystery reviewing. Focus: To exchange views with other authors on any topic of general interest.
Horror Writers Association, P.O. Box 50577, Palo Alto CA 94303; (650)322-4610; target="_new">www.horror.org.Founded: 1987. Number of members: 1,002. Dues: $65. Membership criteria: Active members are published writers; affiliates and associates are genre enthusiasts and nonwriting industry professionals. Benefits: Conventions; awards; marketing reports; career help; meetings; online writing seminars; regional chapters; newsletter; handbook. Focus: Advancing the horror and dark fantasy genre.
Mystery Writers of America, 17 E. 47th St., 6th Floor, New York NY 10017; (212)888-8171; target="_new">www.mysterywriters.org.Founded: 1945. Number of members: 2,500. Dues: $80. Membership criteria: Active members have published mysteries in any medium; additional categories for unpublished writers and those who live outside the United States. Benefits: Annual meeting; national and chapter newsletters; discounts on magazines, books, car rentals, hotels; insurance; mentor program; annual literary awards. Focus: Emphasizes networking, access to research materials and enhancing the genre's stature.
National Association of Science Writers, P.O. Box 890, Hedgesville WV 25427; (304)754-5077; target="_new">www.nasw.org.Founded: 1934. Number of members: More than 2,000. Dues: $75. Membership criteria: Professional science writers or educators. Benefits: Newsletter, annual meeting, fellowship; group health and disability insurance. Focus: To foster the dissemination of accurate information regarding science.
Publishing Triangle, 17 E. 47th St., 3rd Floor, New York NY 10017; target="_new">www.publishingtriangle.org.Founded: 1988. Dues: $35. Membership criteria: Anyone interested in the growth of lesbian and gay writers, literature and publishers. Benefits: Discounts to events. Focus: Promoting lesbians and gay men in publishing.
Romance Writers of America, 3707 FM 1960 W., Suite 555, Houston TX 77068; (281)440-6885; target="_new">www.rwanational.com.Founded: 1980. Number of members: 8,400. Dues: $75. Membership criteria: Open. Benefits: Newsletter; annual conference; e-mail lists and bulletins; professional seminars; contests and awards; mentoring; publisher and agent lists. Focus: Dissemination of market and craft information at the national level; chapters provide support and mentoring.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, P.O. Box 877, Chestertown MD 21620; (410)778-3052; target="_new">www.sfwa.org.Founded: 1965. Number of members: More than 1,200. Dues: $50. Membership criteria: Three published stories or one published novel or script for full membership; associates have had one piece of work published in a recognized publication. Benefits: Conference; awards; magazines; insurance; grievance committee. Focus: Craft and contract information.
Sisters in Crime, P.O. Box 442124, Lawrence KS 66044-8933; (785)842-1325; target="_new">www.sistersincrime.org.. Founded: 1986. Number of members: More than 3,200. Dues: $35. Membership criteria: Open. Benefits: Newsletter; publications. Focus: Promotion of women mystery writers.
Writers Guild of America, 7000 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles CA 90048; (800)548-4532; target="_new">www.wga.org.Founded: 1912. Number of members: 11,000. Dues: $2,500. Membership criteria: A specific amount of work within film, TV or radio (see Web site for details). Benefits: Contract negotiation, review and arbitration; copyright protection; insurance; awards; conferences. Focus: Contract negotiation and review, and credit for members' work.
Western Writers of America, 1012 Fair St., Franklin TN 37064-2718; (615)791-1444; target="_new">www.westernwriters.org. Founded: 1953. Number of members: More than 500. Dues: $75. Membership criteria: Publication in the genre (see Web site for details). Benefits: Convention; magazine; networking; awards; seminars. Focus: Aggressive promotion of the literature of the American West.
This article appeared in the September 2003 issue of Writer's Digest.