Thank you so much for your interest in the Management Committee and for agreeing to serve your fellow members. The SoA could not function without the input of members like you.
Where we are now
You are joining the Management Committee at an exciting time. The last seven years have seen a great deal of work in modernising the SoA. We have a new constitution, we have rebranded the organisation, built and released a new website and increased our social media from a standing start to over 42,000 Twitter followers. Staff roles have been reviewed and, new for 2018, we now have a Public Affairs Manager to take our campaigning wotk forward, and a Local Development Manager who will be joining the team in September to strengthen our local events and activity.
The SoA has a strong infrastructure and is in a very good position to go forward. Current work on outward-facing activities such as campaigning, advertising our services, servicing local groups and involving membership continues to gather momentum. The SoA’s funding remains healthy. Subscription fees are competitive and good value for money due to the generosity of previous generations.
Last year we clarified our membership criteria and introduced a student and emerging writer membership to encourage younger members and we have developed activities and events specific to this segment of our membership.
Recent campaigning work has included lobbying Government to ensure the PLR extension to e-books is implemented on time. This has including writing to the Minister, calling on our members to contact the Minister (over 300 responded in one day!), and giving MPs and Peers questions to ask in Parliament. This necessary legislation has now been passed and it came into effect on 1 July. We are also currently finalising our ‘manifesto’, which will contain key asks of Government. See our campaigns pages for more information.
We know that this is an increasingly difficult time for authors. As we saw with the recent ALCS Author Earnings Survey
, earnings are continuing to fall and it is more important than ever for authors to feel connected and to learn how they can improve their own, often limited, bargaining positions.
In 2019 the SoA will develop its professional development programme from our new base in Bloomsbury, to help to strengthen the position of authors, with professional workshops on negotiation through to self-promotion.
New initiatives for 2019 will include a mentoring scheme, seed-funded by a generous bequest to the SoA, and we will continue to develop our help and wellbeing advice and activities.
The SoA is also responsible for a growing number of grants and awards for authors and we have recently announced two new prizes for 2019.
We very much hope that you will enjoy your time on the Management Committee. We hope these guidance notes will give you a flavour of what to expect but do not hesitate to contact us with any query, however minor.