Grievance and Contract Division (GCD)

The GCD is:

  • Contract Advisors (CAs) who help NWU members understand and negotiate their contracts with publishers and employers
  • Grievance Officers (GOs) who go to bat for members who have been abused or cheated by publishers or employers

We are all volunteers, writers like you who are trained to understand publishing contracts and solve problems. We also offers seminars and other educational opportunities to hone your contract skills and then apply them to helping other union members; and we can answer your questions about contracts, rights issues, and the business of writing.

Contract Advice. Have you been presented a contract and don’t know what or how to negotiate? The NWU’s nationwide network of contract advisers assists members by reviewing their contracts (in all genres) with them. Contract advice is the first step in not being stiffed and learning about what makes a fair contract.

Grievance Assistance. Is your publisher refusing to pay you? Delaying the publication of a timely work? Misreporting your royalties? The NWU’s skilled grievance officers have recovered more than $1.5 million for writers from publishers through individual and group grievances, and have represented members in non-monetary grievances as well.

Writer Alerts. The GCD posts writer alerts on the NWU website from time to time, warning writers about unscrupulous publishers. Stay away from these folks.

Contract Resource Materials. The GCD also offers a host of written how-to documents that will save you time and money. Many of these resources can be found under Contract Resources in the Members Only section. (You must be logged in to view this.) If you don’t see something you’re looking for, contact

(Members Only) – Read Our GCD Semiannual Reports to get an idea about what other writers are facing and read case studies of other freelance writers’ challenges with contracts, compensation, payment, remuneration, and more.

Latest Division News

GCD Semi-Annual Report Available

The Grievance and Contract Division’s semi-annual report, covering the first half of 2016, is available here. We hope you’ll take the time to read it and learn more about what we do. One of our chief functions is reviewing traditional publishers’ contracts, as well as those of firms that help you self-publish. We offer guidance […]

My IP Got Pirated: How I Took It Down

You wrote a book and it’s been published, either traditionally or by you. Now you can focus on promoting it. But if you own the copyright, you have another task in this digital age: Protecting your work on the Internet. Recently, I did a Google search for my book, Writing Well in the 21st Century: […]

Meeting with the U.S. Copyright Office

On July 28, representatives from National Writers Union (NWU), the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), and the Science Fiction Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) met with a six-person delegation from the US Copyright Office in their offices at their invitation. Our delegation consisted of Salley Shannon, past president of ASJA; Michael Capobianco, past […]