We are strong believers in not going it alone. You may already belong to a writing group or one related to your topic of interest. But by joining one or two publishing associations, or even by knowing about them, your self-publishing experience will be enriched. And boy, will you learn a lot.
If you decide to use a self-publishing service, you’ll still be so glad that you joined together with others who are on the same journey.
On the other hand, if you’re doing the whole self-pub thing on your own, joining a publishing association will be twice as useful to you. You’ll not only meet others who can advise and encourage, but you’ll also be able to use the group’s resources to help you find a reliable illustrator, editor, printer, and so on.We've rounded up 65 different English language publishing associations for you. But don't join 'em all! Find the ones that fit your situation. https://bit.ly/3ekulan Click To Tweet
This article is just a long list, really. We do hope you’ll take advantage of at least one of these well-meaning, not-for-profit publishing associations. If we’ve left out your favorite publishing association, please let us know and we’ll add it in. Skip to the category of your choice if you like:
- General indie publishing associations
- Publishing associations for editors, proofreaders, and indexers
- Publishing associations for designers
- Publishing associations for illustrators
General indie publishing associations
American indie publishing associations
The United States is large. It also has a lot of independent publishers, and associations open to all.
Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). In the US, this is the biggie. Benefits of joining are industry discounts of all descriptions, Publishing University (virtual in 2021, but in most years this is a long weekend of amazing seminars, lectures, social events, vendor presentations, etc.), a magazine called IBPA Independent, a book award program, group advertising, and a help desk. Membership fees depend on the size of your organization: Aspiring publishers and authors, $109; Publishers, $209–$689.
United States regional affiliates of IBPA. All over the US there are smaller, more intimate groups that are related to IBPA. Below is a list of the truly nonprofit ones that have your best interests at heart. Most of them offer discounted membership if you’ve already joined IBPA, or vice versa. It is truly worthwhile to be a member of both a local and the national organization because you get the power of the larger group along with the intimacy and great networking of the local one.
- Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA)
- Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA)
- Connecticut Authors & Publishers Association (CAPA)
- Florida Authors and Publishers Association (FAPA)
- Greater New York Independent Publishers Association (GNYIPA)
- Hawaii Book Publishers Association
- Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE)
- Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MIPA)
- Minnesota Book Publishers Roundtable
- New Mexico Book Association
- Northern California Publishers & Authors (NorCalPA)
- Publishers & Writers of San Diego (PWSD)
- Publishers Association of Los Angeles (PA-LA)
- St. Louis Publishers Association
- Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association (UPPAA)
Other indie publishing associations in the US. There are plenty of other similar groups you could join. We have deliberately excluded any that exist basically to bring business to a specific company—you might (or might not) be surprised how many such groups are out there.
Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA) offers networking, presentations, education, and the very popular annual Rhode Island Author Expo. It is open to both published and unpublished authors.
Bookbuilders of Boston may be the oldest publishing association in North America. Though its main focus is on connecting and educating New England professionals at the many large traditional publishers, indie publishers are also encouraged to join and reap the benefits. The annual New England Book Show, with its design and manufacturing awards, features amazing books of all kinds.
Christian Indie Publishers Association (CIPA) offers training courses, a newsletter, a reference guide library, industry discounts, advertising and trade show opportunities, and networking for new or small indie Christian authors and publishers.
Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance (MWPA) is skewed more toward writers, but includes publishers as well. The group connects members with regular emails, new book announcements, workshops, awards, and, of course, gatherings. They also sponsor several retreats plus the annual “Maine Crime Wave” conference.
PubWest is a national trade organization of publishers and of associated publishing-related members. The group offers professional education, provides publishing-related benefits, creates opportunities for members and associate members to do business, and provides a forum for networking to publishing and associate members from across the United States and Canada.
The Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is actually focused on every aspect of the children’s book publishing industry. Members are mostly illustrators and authors, but the society’s professional development elements include marketing opportunities and publishing education as well as networking.
Canadian regional indie publishing associations
Canada has it fair share of publishing associations, too.
Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) is an advocacy group for Canadian publishers with at least 10 published books. It does offer educational materials for beginners but is mostly geared toward established publishers and not individual indie authors. They do, however, supply a useful list of diverse freelancers in book publishing fields. This is the umbrella organization for the Canadian publishing associations listed below:
- Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia (ABPBC)
- Association of English-Language Publishers of Quebec (AELAQ)
- Association of Manitoba Book Publishers (AMBP)
- Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association (APMA)
- Book Publishers Association of Alberta (BPAA)
- Literary Press Group of Canada (LPG)
- Organization of Book Publishers of Ontario (OBPO)
The Book and Periodical Council (BPC) is another umbrella organization that includes and represents people and companies that produce the written word in Canada. Its purpose and affiliates overlap with the ACP, above.
Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) is for journalists and creative writers or for anyone publishing anything within or for an Asian, Arabic, or other ethnic groups in Canada.
Publishing associations in other English-speaking countries
In England and Australia, you’ll find the following:
Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) exists mostly online. It helps its members with a magazine, a member forum, discounts in the publishing industry, partnerships with vendors, literary festivals, Q & A sessions, and more.
The Independent Publishers Guild (IPG) is a trade association in the UK. It offers meetings, an online Skills Hub, and an International Publishers Forum, among other benefits.
The Publishers Association in the UK is a community of publishers large and small. It advocates for all types of publishing issues, keeps members informed about current news, and helps members join trade shows.
The Australian Publishers Association is for micro to large publishers and educates, represents, and advises them. Among the membership benefits are awards, professional development, and trade shows.
Publishing associations for writers
There are so many writers’ groups, large and small, that we won’t even begin to list them here. But look for one near you. The focus will be mostly on writing, of course, but some groups also offer education about publishing.
Publishing associations for editors, proofreaders, and indexers
Editors and proofreaders enjoy learning from each other—and they love to get together to play word games! An astonishing number of educational events for editors of the English language take place every year, both online and in person. The groups have member directories to help you find the editor best suited to work on your book, even if you’re not a member. Some books also need an index, and we always advocate for having that done professionally, so we’re including indexing associations even though it’s doubtful that an author would want to join one.
There are a number of editor/proofreader job-search directories (as opposed to genuine associations), but we’re not including them in this article. Some of the directories are specialized, so search online for science, business, religion, an ethnic group, etc.—plus “editor.”
Editorial associations in the United States
ACES: The Society for Editing hosts an annual 3-day national conference as well as regional events, and has a huge number of online educational opportunities, with the goal of helping the member become the best editor possible. Members are listed in an editor-for-hire directory and can receive discounts on editorial resources.
The American Society for Indexing (ASI) offers training for beginners and supports all members with workshops and online learning opportunities, plus an annual conference and of course a member directory.
The American Translators Association (ATA) is similar to all the other groups listed here, with professional development, a directory, continuing education credits, a certification program, and conferences.
Association of Independent Publishing Professionals (AIPP) supports freelance editors, proofreaders, and all other publishing pros who work with indie authors and publishers. They offer discounts, education, reference materials, courses, and a membership directory for potential clients.
The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network is one of four organizations under the umbrella of the Christian Editor Network. It holds an annual conference and offers all sorts of educational opportunities. There’s also an editor-for-hire directory, a blog, a newsletter, and mostly a chance to enhance Christian editorial skills.
Council of Science Editors (CSE) is a dynamic, worldwide community of editorial professionals dedicated to the responsible and effective communication of science, with an emphasis on ethics. Members can attend an annual meeting, use a large array of online resources, and communicate with other editors who are also striving to use best practices in science communication.
The Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) has chapters all over the country, serving editors, proofreaders, and indexers. Even without going in person to the social and educational events, a member can use their learning tools, attend webinars, be listed in their freelancer directory, and get freelancing and career tips of all kinds.
The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) is a large national group of writers and editors that emphasizes career building and training. Regular webinars and an annual conference, a member blog, book promotions and reviews, are just a few of the many benefits for members.
The Northwest Editors Guild, centered in Seattle, is spread out around the Pacific Northwest. Its goal is to connect editors with clients and to build a support network that includes education, a certificate program, small informal gatherings, and a biennial local one-day conference.
Professional Editors Network (PEN) is a Midwestern group of editors, writers, indexers, and proofreaders who gather to enhance their careers with networking, professional development, and mutual support. With 125 members, it’s a more manageable group for those who want to get to know and work with others with similar or associated interests and careers.
Spanish Editors Association (SEA): Professional Editors of Spanish Texts for the United States is exactly what its name implies. They are also associated with some of the editorial groups that are listed above.
Editorial associations in Canada
The Canadian Freelance Guild is there for indie media workers to help them with contracts, insurance, and finding work. It’s open to anyone working in media fields such as graphic design, illustration, editing, writing, screenwriting, copywriting, public speaking, and many others. This could be just the place to meet and work with colleagues in related specialties.
Editors Canada has 6 regional branches and 9 twigs, so there should be a meeting place with local programming somewhere near you, whether you edit in English or French. The association offers certification, webinars, a mentorship program, career-building support, and an annual national conference.
The Indexing Society of Canada / Société canadienne d’indexation (ISC/SCI) embraces Canada’s bilingualism and offers discussion groups, an indexer database, mentoring, and an annual conference.
The Indigenous Editors Association is for publishing professionals who identify as or are affiliated with Canadian native peoples. The main focus is on issues that make this population unique, promoting indigenous storytelling and publishing, and developing supportive editing techniques.
Editorial associations in the UK, Europe, and Australia
The Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers (ANZSI) offers a newsletter, awards, and a member directory. Regional groups and activities should resume in 2021.
The Chartered Institute for Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) (formerly known as the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, SfEP) emphasizes training and certification. The website features a member showcase, which serves as a directory for potential clients. There are local groups all over the UK (plus a few abroad) with conferences big and small.
The European Association of Science Editors (EASE) has members spread across 50 countries. The group promotes excellence in editing scientific and other scholarly journals through education, professional development, and in-person and online networking. See also the Council of Science Editors, mentioned above the United States section.
Mediterranean Editors & Translators (MET) is for those who work mainly in the English language and work in the Mediterranean region. The annual conference is their biggest event, but there are online workshops throughout the year. A member directory is supplemented with guidelines on how potential clients should choose a language professional.
The Nordic Editors & Translators (NEaT) is another editor association for English-language publishing professionals, this time in Finland and the Nordic countries. Panel discussions, workshops, and social events combine education with networking.
SENSE: Society of English-language professionals in the Netherlands is just what the name implies. Working in a non-Anglophone community presents special challenges. To ease that extra burden, SENSE organizes meetings, promotes education, and provides mentors. Its 350 members include not only editors, but also proofreaders, translators, communication specialists, and other wordsmiths.
The Society of Indexers (SI) encompasses the UK and Ireland. Member benefits include training and certification, forums, conferences, workshops, and a member directory.
Publishing associations for designers
Though there are some associations for graphic designers, plus design schools and their alumni associations, as you can see from the following list, there is really only one publishing association devoted exclusively to book designers.
AIGA is the largest graphic design organization in the United States, with 73 local chapters. Though it is not centered on book design, it does offer all kinds of educational opportunities, a huge annual conference, a membership directory, opportunities for civic engagement through design, and awards.
Association of Independent Publishing Professionals (AIPP) supports freelance book and cover designers, plus all other publishing pros who work with indie authors and publishers. They offer discounts, education, reference materials, courses, and a membership directory that potential clients can search.
Australian Book Designers Association (ABDA) brings value to its members through workshops, talks, showcases, and design awards.
Publishing associations for illustrators
A typical self-publisher would probably not join these groups, but knowing about them could advance your publishing process. Most of these groups feature exhibitions over networking events. Members are usually included in the portfolio section of the association’s website. And that’s where you can search for just the right artist for your book. This list is not grouped by country.
The Association of Illustrators (AOI), though based in London, has thousands of members across 38 countries. Its main purpose is to support illustrators through promotion to the publishing industry and with licensing, legal, and pricing information. Discounts and publications add value to the classes and other learning opportunities. The association is open to students, professionals, and agents.
Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP) is based in Toronto but has online meetings across Canada. Self-published authors and illustrators are welcome to join as associate members. The annual conference, Packaging Your Imagination, is a full day of learning about many writing, illustrating, and publishing topics.
Illustrators Australia (IA) supports illustrators in every industry, including publishing. The association promotes members’ work with group exhibits and awards. Through its website, blog, and Facebook page, meetings, and social events, members can learn and ask for advice, and simply meet new people in the field. Membership is limited to Australians and New Zealanders, regardless of where they are living.
The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), mentioned above, has 82 branches all over the world, including dozens in the United States. Members can enjoy all sorts of professional development opportunities, conferences, exhibits (online and in person), and an illustrator portfolio section on the website.
The Society of Illustrators in New York City has its own museum, plus competitions and other events. Its main purpose is to promote excellence in illustration and to provide community engagement with the arts. Other member benefits include workshops and the occasional Sketch Night.
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We hope that by now you’ve discovered a publishing association that sounds right for you. Joining a group may seem a little bit intimidating at first, but meeting people who share your experiences can be very reassuring. And just think about how much knowledge you could tap into and share—it’s mind blowing!
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