Who Is Eligible?

To help independent writers at all stages of their career grow in the craft and career, ASJA now offers two levels of membership  

  • Associate – Provides mid-level freelance writers with the resources, mentoring and support to become national level writers. Writers working on staff at a media company can join ASJA at this membership level.
  • Professional – Provides national level writers with education, networking opportunities with other top freelancers and advocacy for independent writers. Professional members can participate in programs to meet with potential clients either in-person, telephone or Skype.

Note that membership dues are the same for Associate and Professional members.

If you are not sure which membership you qualify for, apply for the Professional Membership. If you meet the Associate Membership requirements, but not the Professional Membership then you will be offered an Associate Membership. You can reapply for Professional Membership with no additional application fee as soon as you have the needed clips.

Tip: Submit your largest markets.  If you are submitting material from a market with which we may not be familiar, please give a brief description, including publisher or owner, circulation or readership, payment structure, and content.

A word about custom content. Custom, non-bylined content may be considered qualifying under these conditions:

  • you can submit verifiable evidence of authorship (e.g., a contract, with letter(s) of assignment if the topic(s) are not specified in the contract)
  • the work is for an organization of sufficient stature. These include, but are not limited to:
    • Content marketing agencies (e.g. MXM, Time Inc., Pace, Skyword)
    • Corporations (e.g. Walgreens, Ford, WalMart)
    • Nonprofits of significant size (e.g. ASPCA, YMCA of America, large hospitals).

Start Your Application »


Associate Membership Qualifications

To become an Associate member you will need to submit either:

  • Five published articles from regional or national publications. Articles can be from either national or regional publications. Unpaid articles and clips written while on staff also count towards associate membership. Articles or posts on a personal blog cannot be used for membership.
  • One book published by a major publishing house. Self-published books will not be considered unless the applicant can demonstrate individual quality of the book via sales or reviews.

The following types of writing do not count toward qualifications for ASJA Associate membership:

  • Fiction or poetry
  • Work from markets that direct writers to use their advertisers as sources
  • Most self-published or subsidy-published books and materials (see caveat above)
  • PR, advertising, or other writings paid for, in whole or in part, by the subject(s) of the piece(s).

Professional Membership Qualifications

To become a Professional member you will need to submit either:

  • Six articles written on a freelance basis published in national publications. Regional publications do not count for professional membership. If you submit shorter articles (fewer than 1,000 words or so), submit more articles. It's best if they are from variety of markets, rather than all from the same place.
  • Two or more traditionally published books, or one traditionally published book and one under contract with a traditional publisher.

Note about using staff work to qualify for Professional Membership: Staff-written work from a staff job that ended at least six months ago at an established media company can be considered for up to half of the qualifying credentials. You must have at least 3 substantial freelance credits (which could include long articles, editorials, paid blogging, or a book) in addition.

The following types of writing do not count toward qualifications for ASJA Professional membership:

  • Fiction or poetry
  • Non-paying markets, including self-published blogs
  • Work compensated strictly on a "pay-per-click" basis
  • Work performed for companies and organizations that pay minimal freelance rates (e.g. $0.01/per word or $30 for a blog post of 1000 words)
  • Markets that direct writers to use their advertisers as sources
  • Small regional publications or local websites
  • Small special-interest publications
  • Most self-published or subsidy-published books and materials (see caveat above)
  • PR, advertising, or other writings paid for, in whole or in part, by the subject(s) of the piece(s).


Ready to join us? Click here to begin the application process
  • A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God.
    – Sidney Sheldon
  • A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.
    – Kenneth Tynan
  • A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self–addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor.
    – Ring Lardner
  • A young musician plays scales in his room and only bores his family. A beginning writer, on the other hand, sometimes has the misfortune of getting into print.
    – Marguerite Yourcenar
  • All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary – it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
    – Somerset Maugham
  • Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs.
    – Christopher Hampton
  • Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.
    – Lawrence Kasdan
  • Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research.
    –Wilson Mizner
  • Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.
    – Flannery O'Connor
  • I just wrote a book, but don't go out and buy it yet, because I don't think it's finished yet.
    – Lawrence Welk
  • I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
    – Douglas Adams
  • I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done.
    – Stephen Wright
  • It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
    – Robert Benchley
  • It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.
    – Andrew Jackson
  • Most writers can write books faster than publishers can write checks.
    – Richard Curtis
  • No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self–deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind.
    – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
    –Somerset Maugham
  • Writing a novel is like paddling from Boston to London in a bathtub. Sometimes the damn tub sinks. It's a wonder that most of them don't.
    – Stephen King
  • Writing a novel is like spelunking. You kind of create the right path for yourself. But, boy, are there so many points at which you think, absolutely, I'm going down the wrong hole here.
    – Chang–rae Lee
  • Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.
    –Samuel Johnson