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Press Release

Alyza Harris, (617) 630-0945

After 60 Years, Self-Published Authors Allowed into ASJA

(New York) — In an historic turn-around that presages a new acceptance of self-publishing, the prestigious American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) today announced acceptance of its first self-published author, and a change in their admission requirements to allow self-publishers membership. For the past 60 years ASJA permitted only established magazine writers and traditionally-published authors of two or more books to join its ranks; self-published authors, until now, did not qualify for ASJA membership.

Although the ASJA membership committee has, for some time, been wary of opening the floodgates to self-published authors because of questions of how to ensure quality control, new ASJA President Russell Wild elected to pursue the issue as one of his key priorities this year.

ASJA’s first self-published member is Fern Reiss, author of the well-known “Publishing Game” book series and founder of the International Association of Writers. Reiss, who could have received membership in the ASJA on the basis of her magazine articles, chose to apply for membership solely on the basis of her award-winning, self-published books. “It’s important for people to realize that self-publishing has changed—that what used to be a solution of last recourse is becoming an attractive, sometimes preferable, choice for more and more authors, because of changes in the publishing industry,” she said. Reiss cited short bookstore shelf life, long publication lead times, lack of publishing house publicity, decreased monetary advances, and loss of author control, as some of the reasons that many traditionally published authors are now turning to self-publishing.

ASJA’s new membership requirements will allow entry to self-published authors who have garnered substantial sales, reviews in any of the trade press or whose books have been accepted by any of the major bookclubs. Other author organizations are expected to consider following the ASJA’s lead within the next year.

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