Authors Guild picks CJ Lyons to represent indie authors

One of the most successful self-publishing authors has been appointed to the executive council of the Authors Guild, an organisation not renowned for its support of self-publishing.

Best-selling medical thriller writer CJ Lyons is the first self-pub writer to take a spot on the guild’s executive council.

She has published over 20 novels, mainly in the hospital genre, and has good credentials to back up her books as she is an ER doctor in paediatrics.

The appointment is particularly interesting as it coincides with the end of Scott Turow’s presidency of the guild. Turow has expressed at some length his misgivings about ebooks and, in particular, his concerns over Amazon.

The new president is Roxana Robinson, author of five novels, three collections of short stories and a biography of Georgia O’Keeffe. She has been on the guild council since 2005.

The guild appointed an illustrious trio of vice-presidents, with Judy Blume, best known for her children’s fiction but also an acclaimed writer of adult fiction; Pultitzer Prize winner Richard Russo and Shakespearean scholar and author James Shapiro.

As well as being an enormously prolific writer, CJ Lyons is very active in helping other writers. She is a hybrid author now as she has deals with big publishers as well as her own Legacy Books operation and books published in foreign markets by Amazon Crossing.

She runs a great website at No Rules Just Write where she offers help and advice to writers. She has written two books about writing and publishing – Write Your Novel, Tips from an NYT Bestseller; and Break Free From the Slushpile, as well as speaking at workshops, conferences and book fairs around the world.

The appointment is significant because the guild appears to want to build more of a rapport with self-published authors after extending a tentative welcome in recent years. It sees Lyons as being able to represent the views of independent authors.

The Authors Guild was set up in 1912 to be an advocate for writers’ interests and has more than 9,000 members. As well as its advocacy role, the guild offers free legal reviews of contracts and a range of web services.

Annual dues are around $90 and any writer (including self-publishers) are eligible if they have earned $5,000 from their writing in the last 18 months.

Associate membership is available on an earnings’ limit of just $500 in the last 18 months with the only difference in membership being that associates cannot vote in council elections.