The Book Division of the NWU works on behalf of authors who write all types of books: fiction, poetry, investigative journalism, memoir, opinion/essay, biography, self-help, textbooks, and genres like mystery, science fiction, and romance.
The Book Division works to improve the working conditions and economic livelihood of all book authors. We strive to empower book authors in an industry where decisions that rarely favor creative professionals are made by mega-corporations. The Book Division studies issues affecting book authors, deliberates on them, and takes action in the interest of our members and other authors. Primary areas of concern include contract terms, negotiations, promotion, grievance assistance, and protecting copyright in the digital age.
We Help You Through Each Step of Your Publishing Career
The Book Division offers an array of online resources, one-on-one discussions with a trained, knowledgeable volunteer contract advisor or grievance officer, and chapter-sponsored seminars or panel discussions about current trends in the book publishing industry. The NWU educates you to make the most of your professional writing life and to stay on top of industry changes. All documents can be found under Tools and Resources (some for members only, some for all)
• You’ll find good background information on working with agents in Understanding the Author-Agent Relationship, which provides seasoned advice, and Preferred Literary Agreement, which explains the kind of language you’ll want in your contract with an agent.
• The NWU Guide to Book Contracts is a must-read for all first-time book authors and a valuable reference for everyone. It includes a wealth of valuable information about your rights, standard industry practice, and unacceptable terms.
• After you’ve read the Guide, no matter if this is your first or your fifth book, you should have your contract reviewed by a trained contract advisor assigned by the Grievance and Contract Division. Whenever necessary, the advisor will help you revise terms so they protect your rights and maximize your income.
• When it comes to promoting your new book, we offer you On the Road: An NWU Guide to Book Promotion, which you can download from this website. Based on our members’ own experiences, this guide lets you learn from their mistakes.
• If a publisher fails to honor some aspect of your contract, it’s time to call the Grievance and Contract Division to enlist the services of grievance officer.
Because we believe that building a strong network of book authors will empower all of us, we also provide:
• The online Book Division Discussion List is a grassroots support structure where members from all over the country discuss issues, ask for advice on a particular problem, and share experiences. No other writers’ organization offers this type of professional community.
• Our 17 chapters offer educational seminars, special events, and networking opportunities. For instance, the New York City Chapter hosts a series of public panel discussions. One explained why Google’s book scanning is an assault on authors’ copyrights. The Twin Cities Chapter hosts monthly educational meetings with presentations by authors, publishers, and publicists on a variety of topics like self-publishing and marketing. The Boston Chapter holds a book party each year to celebrate members’ new books.
• We’ve set up a digital task force to keep abreast of how technological changes are affecting copyright. We want to educate ourselves and others on how best to protect and maximize writers’ property rights and enhance our writing lives.
For a more detailed description of the many resources the NWU provides for book authors, go to Welcome to the NWU’s Book Division!
You Can Help Us Help You
We’re always looking for help in expanding our membership through educational activities and online resources. Bring your concerns and energy to the NWU and join us in building a strong network of Book Division activists and volunteers.