The Australian Society of Authors (ASA)
The Australian Society of Authors now has over 3000 members around the country and overseas. It was formed in 1963 to promote and protect the rights of Australia’s authors and
illustrators. The ASA has various types of membership: full, affiliate, student and organisational – all with different costs and benefits.
Benefits for members include
telephone and email advice, a free-call telephone line for interstate members, and discounts on book purchases. There is a subsidised Contract Advisory Service, access to the members’ pages for free publications and information, and a mentorship program
for emerging writers.
A regular newsletter every month, either in electronic or hard copy form, keeps you informed of trends and any issues that might affect writers, translators
and illustrators. You also get four issues of the excellent magazine Australian Author every year, which features well-written and often controversial articles of interest to writers and their readers.
Members also have free access to ASA contract templates, information pages, and also discounted books and DVDs for authors, some of them available through the Keesing Press, the ASA’s publishing arm.
Breaking news is brought to you regularly by email bulletins. Recently the ASA warned members about ‘No Obligation Contracts’, in which there is a danger of granting exclusive rights where there is
no corresponding obligation on the publisher to make use of them.
If there is no stated obligation to publish in print form by an agreed date before print rights are granted,
and an obligation to publish in electronic form before eBook rights are granted, some rights could remain locked up with a publisher who is doing nothing to generate a return for the author.
Sadly there are some larger publishers seeking an exclusive licence to both print and eBook formats but the contract only requires the publisher to publish an eBook. If you’re offered such a contract you should contact the ASA, join
up, and make use of their Contract Advisory Service. These and other issues are traps for young players and quite a few older ones, but the ASA is on to it and you’re not on your own.
In 2012, the ASA, in response to requests from members, has embarked on a comprehensive professional development program of seminars, workshops, information sessions, and informal gatherings at which you can hobnob with your fellow word wizards.
Realising that not everything happens in Sydney and Melbourne, these programs are now being held throughout all states of Australia and promise to unite, upskill, inspire and inform.
If that interests you, go to the Website Watch section of the Sessions page in this update for the ASA’s website address to check out what sessions are being held
and where. People who are not members of the ASA can also attend but the ASA does not subsidise them and they have to pay more than members.
Given the growing trend of eBook
publishing and the number of cowboys in the marketplace, it is helpful for writers and illustrators to attend information sessions and workshops such as ‘Creating and Marketing an App’, Create Your Own eBook’, ‘How to Publish Your eBook’,
and the ever popular ‘E-Exchange’ where people get together to network, swap information and share experiences.
Opportunities to find out about new and emerging
markets are becoming even more important as the ratio of print to digital publishing changes. Membership of the ASA is well worth the effort so check out their website for more.
The Australian Society of Authors
ASA’s mission is to be the principal advocate for the professional and artistic interests of Australian authors, translators and illustrators by protecting basic rights to freedom of expression, working to improve income and conditions and promoting
Australian writing and literary culture. There is much to see on the ASA website even for non members, including helpful hints on writing your manuscript, getting it published, finding an agent, keeping up with the trends and downloading eBooks and papers
to help you get started. The publishing arm of the ASA is the Keesing Press, now with its very own website at http://www.keesingpress.com.au, which publishes books of particular interest to authors. Check out the
types of ASA membership available, along with its many benefits at http://www.asauthors.org
The Australian Writers’ Guild
The Australian Writers Guild is celebrating 50 years since its founding in 1962 by a group of seventeen radio writers who wanted to create an organisation to represent their professional
interests after the introduction of television. Since that time the AWG has grown into a large professional association which represents over 2500 writers in film, television, theatre, interactive, animation and radio.
Without the support and advice of the Guild over the past 50 years, many successful writers would never have had the chance to develop their careers. Australia's most prominent writers are long-time members of
the AWG. Why did they join?
Emeritus President David Williamson AO said: ‘I joined the Guild when my first full length play was turned into the early Australian movie,
Stork, back in 1970. I had no idea of what kind of money I was entitled to, either as the copyright owner of the play or as a screenwriter. The Guild was very helpful in guiding me through the process and helping me become aware of the realities of
being a working writer.
‘I became very actively involved in the Guild in the late seventies, serving as the President for thirteen years. During that time I was
inspired by how selflessly and hard my fellow writers worked on behalf of their peers. Backed by an increasingly professional staff, the Guild set about redressing the power imbalance between writers and the producers of their work.
‘The Guild is about raising the awareness and status of the creative work done by writers in film, radio, television and stage and ensuring that their crucial role is appropriately rewarded and accredited.’
The Australian Writers Guild will be marking their 50th year with a number of special events across the country. The 45th Annual Awards (the AWGIEs) will be held in Sydney on Friday,
24 August, 2012, with celebrations culminating in the National Screenwriters Conference in Victoria during February, 2013.
The conference is a popular biennial event that
brings together Australian and international writers and industry participants. It features panel discussions, case studies, networking opportunities, mentorships and exclusive Master-classes with international guests.
More anniversary events will be announced throughout the year and you can catch up with what’s on by going to the AWG website listed below.
The Australian Writers’ Guild
The Australian Writers’ Guild represents performance writers of film, theatre, television, radio and new media. In 2012 the AWG is celebrating 50 years since its founding in 1962.
The bigger and better 45th Annual AWGIE Awards will be held in Sydney on Friday, 24 August 2012. This year the AWGIEs will recognise excellence in scriptwriting, not only over the past year, but over half a century of contributions by AWG members to the industry.
Get the Goss and check out the masterclasses, events, and the many pages of helpful advice for performance writers at the AWG website http://www.awg.com.au
The Copyright Agency
The copyright system treats different uses of content in different ways. Some uses
permission or payment at all. Copyright is a very complex subject.
The government-appointed committee’s report which led to the introduction of Australia’s
current Copyright Act stated that: ‘The primary end of the law on this subject is to give to the author of a creative work his just reward for the benefit he has bestowed on the community and also to encourage the making of further creative works.’
[I trust this means ‘her’ just reward as well.]
In pursuit of this end, the Copyright Agency (formerly known as CAL) is a non-profit rights management
organisation which collects copyright fees for text and images and distributes them to writers, artists, photographers, publishers and others who own rights in text and images. They also manage Viscopy’s services, which licenses the use of artistic works
for artists and other rights holders.
The Copyright Agency and Viscopy have agreements with similar organisations in other countries that enable the use of
foreign text and images in Australia, and the collection of fees and royalties for the use of Australian works overseas. The Copyright Agency was also appointed by the Australian Government in May 2010 to manage the Artists’ Resale Royalty Scheme.
On their website (see Website Watch) the Copyright Agency has free valuable information on copyright which is often hard to come by. This information includes publishing
of international copyright, treaties and organisations, which are often an absolute minefield.
Membership of the Copyright Agency is free to writers, individuals
and organisations that have an interest. Members get an excellent magazine which is always informative, there are free information seminars, and you can contact them if you get stuck – quite apart from the fact that if you are a published writer or artist whose
works are copied you also get a nice fat cheque.
In April 2012, two weeks after Queensland’s new Liberal National Party government came to office, Premier
Campbell Newman cancelled the state’s Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. The Copyright Agency was one of the first organisations to contact the group from the literary and arts community who were establishing the new Queensland Literary Awards.
In support of these awards the Copyright Agency stated:
Queensland Literary Awards provide both recognition and reward for our writers. This year the Cultural Fund will meet organisational expenses involved in administering the Queensland Literary Awards to continue to recognise the great contribution writers make
to the state. We urge the Queensland Government to reconsider support for major Literary Awards and to continue to recognise and reward for the importance of writers in our community’s cultural life. We do this in the hope the Queensland Government will
next year restore funding for the Queensland Literary Awards.’
The Copyright Agency
The Copyright Agency is a non-profit rights management organisation
which collects copyright fees for text and images and distributes them to writers, artists, photographers, publishers and others who own rights in text and images. They also manage Viscopy’s services, which licenses the use of artistic works for artists
and other rights-holders. Membership of the Copyright Agency is free. The Copyright Agency and Viscopy have agreements with similar organisations in other countries that enable the use of foreign text and images in Australia, and the collection of fees and
royalties for the use of Australian works overseas. For a great deal of accurate information on copyright, go to http://www.copyright.com.au. The Copyright Agency was also appointed by the Australian Government in
May 2010 to manage the Artists’ Resale Royalty Scheme. For more, go to http://www.resaleroyalty.org.au.