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Many writers have no connection to the industry. Often, they feel unsure of how to break in to the community. But there are many organisations that support writers and their work, and provide professional development, alternate publishing pathways, connection to the community and advocacy. These organisations can truly help you get to the next level in your career.
Even if it seems as though these organisations have a different target market to what you’re doing, it is worth sending them an enquiry. Often arts organisations will be able to mould their services around what you need, or provide you with advice on where to find the help you’re after.
Australian Society of Authors
The Australian Society of Authors is the biggest national advocacy organisation for writers. They set the minimum industry rates of pay for professional writers, provide a contract assessment service, run programs and events nation-wide, and provide mentorships, amongst many other services. They’re a great place to go if you have basic legal questions, or need career or industry advice. Whether you are an emerging or an established writer, their website is essential reading (and membership well worth the cost).
State and Territory Writers Centres
ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA
These should be your first place for any queries. The services vary from state to state, but they offer quality professional development programs, advice and referrals, offer income streams for developing and established writers, and will attempt to assist every enquiry. Give your local writers centre a call and tell them where you’re at with your writing and career; generally speaking, their services adapt to what you need.
Australian Writers Marketplace
The Australian Writers Marketplace is Australia’s version of The Market. It contains a list of almost all publishers, agents, magazines, newspapers and journals in Australia as well as many helpful organisations, opportunities and competitions, and articles to help you understand the industry. You can get a digital membership or a physical copy of the Marketplace, and they also run online courses, including a $25 two week taster course. I’d also recommend taking a look at A Decent Proposal if you’re wondering how the hell you’re supposed to write a publisher query (for both fiction and non-fiction).
Australian Writers Guild
This is the professional association for Australian performance writers including film, television, theatre, radio and digital media. They set the standard industry rates, provide professional developments and awards, and assist performance writers to connect with the industry. They also run the biennial National Screenwriters’ Conference. If you are a performance writer, this organisation will be able to provide you with all the support you need.
This is an organisation for young writers—writers under 25. They run Voiceworks, which is a really awesome magazine run by people under 25. They offer editorial feedback for every submission they receive, including rejected submissions. They also run events, prizes (including the Scribe Nonfiction Prize and the John Marsden/Hachette Prize), have an awesome online Writers’ Toolkit
This organisation explores the changing relationship between readers and writers, as well as the way digital publishing is changing the industry, and how authors can be effective in the modern marketplace. Whether you’re looking for alternate publishing pathways, or you just like weird artsy social experiments (like the time they wrote, edited and published a book in both digital and print editions in 24 hours, and then created a beautiful 28-volume set of hardbound books of the database containing every keystroke that was made), this organisation is definitely inspiring.
The Australia Council for the Arts
This is the core national funding body for arts individuals (including writers) and organisations. They offer grants for individual, group and organisational projects, and they fund lots of national arts programs (including professional development, touring and festivals). They also have separate board to assess applications for people with disabilities and Indigenous people. Even if you may not directly apply for a grant with the Australia Council, its likely that you will attend something that they have supported.
State and Territory Government (Arts Branch)
ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA
Each state and territory’s arts department offer grants to both inviduals and organisations to further the culture and artistic scene in the state. This can include project development, events, out-of-round funding to assist you in getting to last-minute opportunities, and programs to benefit the community. Even if you are not eligible for funding, take a look at the projects they do fund to find some awesome opportunities.
ArtsLaw is a not-for-profit organisation which provides legal advice for artists and arts organisations. This can come at no or low cost, depending on an income means test. Their website is an invaluable resource for any questions you have on copyright, contracts, publishing rights, and they also provide a low cost document assessment service. This a great organisation to bookmark just in case you might need them.
The Copyright Agency
The Copyright Agency collects fees and distributes royalties to creator members for the reuse of their copyrighted materials. They also have lots of useful information on their website, and occasionally have grants to support artists through their Cultural Fund. You can also check out the Australian Copyright Council if you have other questions regarding copyright, or need legal advice on copyright.