Unions have been good to me. At the Los Angeles Public Library, SEIU negotiated to get us librarians’ paid at the same rate as other city employees with masters’ degrees. At the time, librarians' salaries were lower than, say, city planners and employees in other male-dominated professions. When I worked on children’s television, I joined the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. After the show ended and went into reruns, the residuals I earned qualified me for full family medical benefits, thanks to the union. This safety net helped me get started as a freelancer.
When I began getting paid for my writing, I couldn’t wait to join the Authors Guild. It was a matter of pride at first: I was officially part of the literary establishment. Later, the Guild’s legal services advised me on two contracts. With help from their fantastic tech support staff, I used the AG website service to build my first author site. And like any good union, the Authors Guild made it possible for me to be a part of something much bigger than myself, fighting for the rights of all writers to control and to be fairly compensated for their work. The Guild is a legal powerhouse.
To any authors who read this: Please, please, join. Dues are on a sliding scale based on income.
I am an author and folklorist based in Portland, Oregon.
The Great Dictionary Caper, illustrated by Eric Comstock (Paula Wiseman Books, Simon & Schuster, 2018)
**Starred reviews from Publishers' Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist.
Wild About Books, illustrated by Marc Brown. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2004). New York Times Bestseller, ALA Notable Book, and winner of the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award.
Imagine That! How Dr. Seuss Wrote 'The Cat in the Hat"
(Random House, 2017). Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.
*Starred reviews from Publishers' Weekly and Kirkus.