Australian Society of Authors (ASA) - Interview (October 2019)
How did Australian Society of Authors get started?
The ASA was formed in 1963 to promote and protect the rights of Australia's authors and illustrators. Our proud history boasts many successful campaigns to improve the working lives of authors and illustrators, but among our chief victories are the establishment of Public Lending Right (PLR) in 1975 and Educational Lending Right (ELR) in 2000. The ASA was also instrumental in setting up Copyright Agency, the Australian Copyright Council and the International Authors Forum.
What are the Australian Society of Authors goals?
The peak national body for authors and illustrators, the ASA aims to offer advocacy, support and advice at any stage of your creative career.
Please tell us about the programs offered by Australian Society of Authors.
We have a suite of services and programs we offer members, some of which we've listed below:
- The ASA's contract assessment service provides a full commercial and legal reading of your contract in partnership with ArtsLaw
- We offer access to public liability and professional insurance, specifically tailored to the needs of writers and illustrators, with savings of up to 50%
- We offer access to a distribution arrangement into all Australian bookstores for new print books.
- Members use our portfolio section on the ASA website, or Style File for illustrators to promote their portfolio
- We offer expert advice from our experienced staff on a wide range of industry issues.
- We run training events and masterclasses to help you hone your craft and learn how to navigate the business side of authorship
- We run ASA Literary Speed Dating events with publishers and agents.
- We boast a renowned mentorship program
- The ASA administers various awards, residencies and other selective opportunities (ASA HQ Commercial Fiction Prize, Barbara Jefferis Award, Ray Koppe Award)
- We offer promotion of your book when published, via the New to View bulletin, sent to over 6,000 people.
- We run the ASA International Marketplace Catalogue, to help you sell rights overseas to the ASA's extensive contact lists.
- Last but not least, we advocate on your behalf for everything from fair rates of pay for writers and illustrators, to PLR payments on ebooks, access to funding and strong lobbying against unfair copyright changes such as Fair Use.
How can the Australian Society of Authors support me on my creative journey?
A few ways the ASA could support you:
1. Expert advice and legal contractual support
With more than 100 years’ combined publishing industry experience, our team leaves no question unanswered. We also review publishing, distribution and agents’ contracts for a fraction of the cost of a solicitor.
2. Access to the industry
We provide opportunities to showcase your work to hundreds of Australian and international publishers and agents, helping you on the path to publication by building valuable contacts.
3. Inclusive community
We welcome all writers and illustrators, from children’s to romance, education to graphic novels, cookbooks to crime; helping you to connect to members who share your experiences and interests.
4. Resources and Information
You will gain access to our range of resources, including model agreements, as well as a copy of the ASA Guide to Publishing, which provides easy access to a wide-range of industry opportunities.
Does the Australian Society of Authors offer any online resources?
Almost everything we offer at ASA is now available digitally, including the majority of our Professional Development courses. However a few online resources worth highlighting are:
- ASA standard contract templates and information papers for authors and illustrators on professional matters
- Resources in our shop covering a range of subjects including getting published and professional skills for authors and illustrators.
- A closed Facebook page to learn from your peers
- Recommended rates of pay for book publishing, illustrating, public appearances, judging literary competitions and more.
Does the Australian Society of Authors offer any grants or funding opportunities for its members?
We offer a few opportunities, these include:
Thanks to a grant from the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, we are able to offer a mentorship program for writers to help you develop your work to a publishable standard. 20 winners each year receive; 20 hours of mentoring with an ASA mentor, participation in a Paths to Publishing program designed to help you establish yourself as a small business and acquire sufficient industry knowledge to navigate your way through the submission and contract process, a free ASA membership for 12 months (an extension of membership if you are already a member) AND a free ticket to Literary Speed Dating.
We are thrilled to announce the introduction of the inaugural 2019 ASA Style File Illustration Award Mentorships. Our mentorship program has been hugely successful for authors in the past and for the first time, thanks once again to the generosity of Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, we are offering mentorships exclusively for illustrators. 8 winners will receive 5-hour mentorships for either their portfolio or picture book projects. The winners will also receive free ASA Style File access for a year. (If winners are current Style File members, they will have their subscriptions renewed gratis)
Each year, the Australian Society of Authors awards a two-week residential fellowship to a writer in any genre, under the age of 35 who is as yet unpublished. The fellowship is comprised of a two-week residency (including accommodation and all food), a one-hour consultation with a Varuna consultant, a year’s membership to the Australian Society of Authors, and travel subsidy if the recipient lives outside of NSW.
The prize is for an unpublished manuscript and the winner will receive a publishing contract with HQ, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, and a $10,000 advance against royalties.
The Award is named for highly regarded author Barbara Jefferis, a founding member and executive director of the Australian Society of Authors (ASA). It is awarded to a work that shows women in a positive light and the winner receives a prize of $50,000. In addition, $5,000 is distributed among the shortlist.
I’m just beginning my journey to publication. Can I join the Australian Society of Authors before I am published?
You most certainly can.
If you are serious about writing, but just starting out and would like to benefit from our advice, training and resources, or if you are interested in industry issues and keen to support the author’s peak body, then we would welcome you as an Associate Member
If you are a published author of one book or many, we would warmly welcome you as a Full Member of the ASA.
Our membership covers a wide range of writers, illustrators and industry professionals at every stage of their careers. From journalists to comic artists, scriptwriters to bloggers, novelists to games writers and translators to poets, our members across many disciplines.
How can people access the Australian Society of Authors?
Phone: 02 9211 1004 (toll-free: 1800 257 121)
We look forward to hearing from you!