Sunday, November 20, 2005

Six And a Half Theories On Why the Author Associations Failed Freelancers

1. The Authors Guild, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Writers Union undoubtedly meant well at the start of all this. Unfortunately, there was a large competence gap between intention and execution.

2. Specifically, they had no sophisticated advocacy skills. So in the end they settled for "peace in the valley" -- at almost any cost.

3. That was not consistent with the wishes of class members, who want the best financial settlement. The associations weren't motivated for the best financial settlement -- because they weren't getting anything.

4. They had a conflict of interest, since part of their raison d'etre is to provide their members with access to editors and publishers. It's human nature not always to recognize a conflict, or that it is affecting our thinking and strategy. They might not have been conscious of their conflict -- but they had one.

5. They got the wool pulled over their eyes by their lawyers.

6. They got stubborn and defensive even after they realized they'd made a mistake, because they'd signed the settlement and felt they were stuck with it.

6A. Their egos were on the line. Their egos won. Writers everywhere lost.

Finally, bear in mind that these organizations aren't monolithic; there are differences among them. See http://freelancerights.blogspot.com/2005/08/nwu-asja-time-for-exit-strategy.html.

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