Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Eleven Things to Think About When Renewing Writing-Related Memberships

Erika Dreifus has a post up today about the benefits she's gained by renewing her membership in the AvantGuild (premium level) of MediaBistro. She noted that she'd wanted to expand her freelancing and by exploring markets that were new-to-her, subsequently received acceptances for several queries and essays, as a direct result of her AG/MB membership.

The reason her post grabbed my attention today (aside from that her posts always command attention!) is that at the beginning of this year (can it be only 9 weeks ago?) I made a conscious decision that during 2013, whenever I got notice that my membership -- to any of the professional organizations, premium service levels, databases, and resource websites -- was in need of renewal, I would not automatically renew.

Instead, I would first try determine: 

1. How often, how deeply, and with what level of satisfaction did I use the membership, service or site in the past 12 months? 

2. Did I derive benefits I couldn't get elsewhere?

3. Was it a go-to source?

4. Did I find it simple to navigate, or if not exactly simple, do I like the way I must be engaged in order to dig for information?

5. Did I gain insight, information, and useful intelligence via the membership?

6. Can I trace back the sale/placement of an article or essay, an assignment, a new editing client, a new professional relationship, more competence with new tools or techniques, a worthwhile class or conference – to the membership?

7. Are the results I can personally trace, worth the cost? (Mind you, the annual cost may be quite *reasonable* but if it's for a service/site/organization I don't utilize, or find far too complicated to use, then it's a wasted expenditure. 

8. Is it any fun to use? (Because really, how many times have we quit using something we were paying for because, although it seemed like it should be worthwhile, it turns out it was just awfully tedious, annoying, complicated, boring?)

Finally, I'm looking forward.

9. Am I planning on wading in to new waters in the months or year ahead, and if so, will a membership or premium service level help me learn about this new area of the writing world? 

10. Will a membership enable me to more easily participate in that new arena?

11. Will it help me get to know others who have more experience than I, who might help me find my way? 

Since I've begun to analyze my memberships more closely, I felt better equipped, when the renewal notice arrived for three different organizations/services already this year, to know whether or not to click the renew button. (I did for two, but passed on the third.)  

How about you? Are there memberships you find invaluable?


Erika Dreifus said...

Great post, Lisa! One think that I should clarify: So far, it's just that one big sale that has stemmed directly from an AG market discovery. (The other, soon-to-be-published-and-paid-for piece that I allude to in the post has found a home with an online magazine both you and I are already quite familiar with!) But the general point--that I've discovered, considered, and filed new possibilities thanks to AG--remains.

Lisa Romeo said...

Thanks, Erika, for the clarification. I must have been reading too quickly (or before coffee) this morning!

Amy Morgan said...

Thanks Lisa - I was a little scared by the title, but it all makes sense in a check like fashion. Good for not only renewing, but in utilizing some of the items you listed in a format to help decide whether to join in the first place. Always appreciate the guidance!