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There are several professional writers organizations that people I know have suggested I join. The problem is they're rather pricey and I'm not sure what I'll get out of it.

Much of what they have are multiple services for writers who have completed manuscripts looking to shop them, and for writers with published books looking to help market them (some self-published, some traditionally published). In these cases it of course makes sense to wait until I'm in that category.

But they also have critique groups, online help, seminars, and other programs aimed at people (published already or not) who are in the creation stages of a new work.

One example is SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) which many online sources recommend (they focus on the US, which is where I live, but have a couple dozen international chapters too). Another example is SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America).

What are the advantages to spending money to join such groups?

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Source: https://diymfa.com/community/pros-cons-writing-organization

Advocacy

You can promote your work at exhibits.

Opportunity

Award winners will have their work promoted by their peers.

Community and Industry Insight

There are magazines or newsletters at varying times throughout the year, each having a style and specific focus. Most discuss craft, industry news, and promote members. Local chapters offer an opportunity to connect with fellow writers in person, but people can also connect through social networks and online forums.

Every writer is a human, and every human needs a support group or social group. Sometimes, this support group or social group is one's own family. Sometimes, this group is one's own extended family. Sometimes, this group is mostly friends. For people who do not want to share with family and friends, they have to seek a support group beyond the home. So, they invest in writing organizations as a way to promote writing, increase sales, improve craft, and socialize with other writers. They want to be with like-minded people who care about their work, and if they can't get that from family and friends, then they will get what they want from society. Someone will care.

Personally, I think fictional writers work in the Entertainment industry. They write novels to entertain the masses. They may inspire or start critical discussions, but they need to entertain as well. If the reader finds the work boring/unentertaining, then the reader will close the book and quit reading. As such, they function like entertainers. Their livelihood depends on their ability to entertain. After publishing, the book needs to be promoted. People need to know about it to make a sale, and if Book 1 sells well, then that increases the author's reputation to make more books. Because it does take a lot of time and energy to write a book and publish that book and promote that book, writers are generally very secure with their lives. They are usually literate, because you need to be literate in order to write. They are usually privileged, because of their own literacy. The society in which they live is relatively stable enough to promote the arts. War and political instability are really bad times to write a novel. Poverty means you have to get a job to feed your family rather than sit down and think about a story. Hopefully, that can give you an idea what kind of people join these writer's organizations, and if such an organization is right for you.

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