Canadian Writers' Union to Consider Self-Published Authors

As self-publishers gain legitimacy, the Writers’ Union of Canada is considering membership for the indie authors.

The story was first reported on CBC (and linked to on The Passive Voice). The union represents more than 1,900 authors in Canada. The voting will take place at the end of the month in Ottawa.

“I think it’s been bubbling under the surface for a few years,” John Degen, TWUC’s executive director, told CBC. “There are a lot of young writers who are sold on the idea of having that level of control over their careers, which has nothing to do with their success in traditional publishing. For older members, it’s a question of what they’re going to do next, how to maximize their options.”

The UK Society of Authors allows self-published members under a specific criteria: “those who have self-published or have had a work published on a print-on-demand/ebook only basis and have sold over 300 copies of a single title in print form or 500 copies in ebook form within a 12-month period.”

This will likely be a hot topic within the next several months with other guilds. The self-published world cannot be ignored any longer as works such as Fifty Shades of Grey have made best-sellers lists.

It’s also in the best interest of unions to allow self-published authors to become members, because unions don’t work without numbers. The strength of a union comes from its members. (I say this as someone who has been part of a union in the past).

I saw this type of situation develop with the Baseball Writers Association of America, which I was not a part of, despite the fact that the newspaper I worked for covered the Philadelphia Phillies. Eventually, the BBWAA allowed members from Yahoo! Sports and other digital entities into the union because as newspapers downsized, its numbers were fewer.

Author guilds should consider this scenario as well. Because as good authors decide to go the self-publishing route, unions are going to miss out on potential strong members.

About Susan Lulgjuraj (261 Articles)
Editor. Writer. Reader. Video game player. Sports lover. Card Collector. "I used to be a library junkie with books piled on my nightstand. I’d be constantly renewing books until I finished all of them. There had to be a way to escape the clutter. That’s when I discovered e-book apps for my old Blackberry. I bought plenty of books and read and read and read. I even developed what I called ‘Blackberry Eye,’ small wrinkles under my eyes from staring down at my phone all day."

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