Let's give you the short version first:
- If you've published at least two novels—each of which are at least 30,000 words, and neither is a box set or collection of shorts.
- If they're traditionally published, you've earned at least $2,000 on each title from an advance or royalties in any consecutive twelve-month period following publication, and as long as one of those titles has been published within the last 5 years.
- If they're self published, you've earned at least $5,000 on each title in any consecutive twelve-month period following publication.
Does this sound like you? Great! You can apply now. Membership is $85 per year and there's a one-time $15 application fee.
If you're not sure or want more detail, read on...
Per the Novelists, Inc., Bylaws, an applicant must have published two novels to be considered eligible for membership. For the purposes of this document, a “novel” is defined as a single work of fiction consisting of at least 30,000 words. A “box set” or a collection of short stories or other short works, even if they are connected with regard to content, or presented in a single volume or file, does not constitute a novel under this definition. Applicant must be responsible for at least 33% of original writing in these two novels and, if a pseudonym is being used, no other writer can have ever contributed more than 67% of any work published under this pseudonym.
Revised/Updated June 2019
- The applicant must provide the Membership Committee with the titles and publication details, such as release date, copyright registration, ISBN, publisher, and/or other relevant information, for each of the qualifying works.
- If a pseudonym appears on the copyright page, the applicant may be asked to present proof of pseudonym ownership by sharing the relevant portion of the applicant’s contract, copyright application materials, or other identifying documentation.
- In cases of co-authorship, both applicants may use the same qualifying works for their applications.
- If requested for verification purposes by the Membership Committee, the applicant will also provide copies of contracts, other documentation as requested, and/or the published works themselves. These copies will be returned if a self-addressed stamped envelope is included.
In addition, for applicants whose two works of novel-length fiction submitted for qualification have been released by “a publishing house” (i.e. traditional publishing)...
- For this purpose, "a publishing house" means a business entity that publishes more than ten individual authors, who may not be owners, employees or immediate family members of either, nor be authors using different pseudonyms to be counted to reach that number; has been in business for one year; and does not require the author to pay the publisher any fees toward pre-publication or publication costs.
- The applicant must show proof of advance payment of no less than $2,000 for each of the qualifying works, or proof that each of the two qualifying works have earned no less than $2,000 in royalties from book sales alone (no subsidiary rights income) in any consecutive twelve-month period following publication. It doesn't have to be the same twelve-month period for both books.
- This criterion must be met independently for each book.
For applicants whose two works of novel-length fiction submitted for qualification have not been published by any company or any entity other than the individual author acting independently (i.e. self-publishing)...
- The author must show proof of earnings from online booksellers of no less than $5,000 from book sales alone (no subsidiary rights income) for each of the two qualifying works in any consecutive twelve-month period following publication. It doesn't have to be the same twelve-month period for both books.
- This criterion must be met and documented independently for each book.
- Amazon sales statements are acceptable, but a specific breakdown of sales per book must be documented.
At the Membership Committee’s discretion, applicants may be asked to provide additional documentation if they wish to continue the application process.
Application timeline & fees
The application process is slow but thorough. It takes about two months for an application to be approved. Thanks for your patience! All applications for membership must be submitted with a $15 non-refundable application fee. Applications submitted on or after Nov. 1 shall be processed as memberships for the next year.
If your application is approved, you must pay annual membership dues ($85 USD) to become a member. If you apply online and pay via credit card, your credit card will automatically be charged at the time of approval. If, however, you pay your application fee by check, we will send you an approval email and you must send in your dues payment at that time.
- Membership applications submitted between Jan. 1 and June 30 pay the full application fee ($15) and the full yearly dues ($85).
- Membership applications submitted between July 1 and Nov. 1 shall pay the application fee ($15), dues for the remainder of the year ($45) and for the year to follow ($85).
- Payments are made online. If you difficulty, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help.
- In the event your application is not accepted, you will not be charged for dues.