Frankly, I'm upset. I received an invitation from Roy Blount, Jr., President of the Authors Guild to join them and at a discount as well. I took him up on his invitation and sent in the application and check for a year's dues as he suggested. The last sentence in his letter was "Please join us today. We need each other." Well, apparently, the Authors Guild staff doesn't agree with him. Several days later I received an email from the Authors Guild which quite frankly ticked me off. This is what it said:
Dear Ms. Bowman:
Thank you for your application for membership in the Authors Guild. Unfortunately, we are unable to process the application because we lack sufficient documentation of your publishing credentials. On your application you listed Cambride Books as the publisher of your book. We could not find adequate evaluative information on this publisher in either our records or publishing reference materials.
Contracts offered by American publishers that may qualify you for membership are usually expected to include all three of the following stipulations:
- a provision by which the author retains ownership of the copyright;
- a significant advance;
- a provision which specifies the manner in which royalties are calculated and a mechanism by which they will be paid.
(If you did not receive an advance, but have sold substantial numbers of books and have received substantial royalty income, your application may still be considered. In this case, you will need to provide documentation of the book sales and royalty income.)
If you will send a copy of your contract with Cambride Books we will be able to move forward with your membership application. It is a standard Guild procedure to request more information on publishers unfamiliar to us before processing an application. Please be assured that all personal information you supply to the Guild is held in the strictest confidence.
As soon as we receive the additional information we will present it to the Membership Committee for evaluation. We look forward to adding your name to the Guild rolls.
Terry King (Mr.), Membership Dept.
The Authors Guild
31 East 32nd St., 7th Floor
New York, NY 10016
212-563-5904; fax: 212-564-5363
What I find interesting is that earlier this year I did apply for membership in the Authors Guild and previously sent them the information they required. It was rejected because they do not consider my publisher a "qualified" American Publisher. Not only that but in this latest rejection email they spelled my publisher's name incorrectly.
I didn't ask a second time to become a member of this Guild, nor would I. They sought me out. So why seek me out only to reject me...and mind you the invitation came from the President of the Guild? Where he got my name, I haven't a clue, but if they are so desperate for authors to join them why the snobbery? I have no idea what their "requirements" consider a "significant advance" and/or "substantial royalties". All I can say about the Authors Guild is that they are too big for their own britches. And yes, I did ask them to return my check. :)