Membership FAQ

Have a question about the application process? Read through these frequently asked questions first.

If you don’t see an answer to your question below, feel free to contact us.

I’m not sure which category I qualify for. Can you tell me?
Our membership categories are described here; however, the application will take you through a series of questions to determine which membership category you qualify for based on your responses.

I submitted an application. Am I a member yet?
Not quite! Your application needs to be reviewed by the Director of Membership, and you will receive a welcome email once your application has been approved and processed.

How long does it take to process an application?
Most applications are processed within 5 business days, but some can take an additional 1-2 business days. If you don’t hear from us within 2 weeks, however, please contact us to make sure we received your application.

What can I expect after I submit an application?
The Director of Membership will review your application and any supporting documents submitted. You will be contacted by email if more information, clarification, or documentation is needed.

What documentation is typically requested on the application?
If you have received a contract offer from a traditional publisher, you will be asked to upload the contract along with your application. If you are a self-published author, you will be asked to upload proof of income along with your application.

All information submitted is kept confidential and is only viewed by the Director of Membership for the purposes of evaluating your application. We do not reach out to your publisher or agent for any reason.

What do you mean by traditional publisher?
Traditional publishers are typically selective, have considerable editorial oversight, provide some investment in the work, and allow the author to retain their copyright.

What do you mean by hybrid publisher?
We generally use the IBPA’s standards for hybrid publishers, which can be found here.

Does my contract (offer) need to be signed?

What sorts of writing income do you look at?
Writing income can come from a number of sources including book royalties, hand sales, payment from magazine or newspaper publications, and literary awards. If you have proof of your writing income, we should be able to move forward with your application.

What constitutes freelance writing?
Freelance writing refers to nonfiction, fiction, or poetry appearing in publications not owned by you and typically vetted and edited by an editorial staff. Publications can be print or online magazines, newspapers, journals, or book anthologies.

Do you accept illustrators for Professional Membership?
Yes, under the same basic criteria as traditional or indie published book authors. If you have not published a book, then the Society of Illustrators, the Association of Illustrators, or the Graphic Artists Guild may better suit your needs.

I am hoping for a contract review if I’m accepted. When can I send in my request and how long does it take?
You should send in your contract for review once you have been accepted for membership. Our Legal Dept. typically takes 1–2 weeks to review a contract.

I don’t think I qualify for Regular or Associate Membership yet, but I do have a legal question. What should I do?
Emerging Writers and Students have access to our Model Trade Contract, The Writer’s Legal Guide, and all of our legal seminars, which may have the answers you’re looking for.

I let my membership lapse, what should I do?
For logistical purposes, we ask that former members rejoin using the join form.