Membership Has Its Privileges. Austin Conference: 5 Reasons to Get Involved

Editor’s note: As Susan Johnston Taylor, co-chair of ASJA’s Austin regional conference in February, points out in the following article, anyone can benefit from volunteering with ASJA, from serving as a mentor to joining one of our many committees, like marketing, awards, and publications. Only ASJA members can volunteer for conferences and other ASJA-related events. So, if you’re not a member please check out our website’s membership section for information on joining!

Since joining ASJA in 2009, I’ve written for ASJA Magazine, moderated panels and hosted lunches at the New York City conference, led a Special Interest Group (SIG) for business writers, and participated in recruiting new members.

Volunteering in various capacities has helped me build friendships and business relationships that have paid off in numerous ways. I’ve gotten referrals to editors at consumer and trade magazines and each year I’ve attended the conference have earned back much more than what I spent in new assignments. I’ve also enjoyed a sense of camaraderie and support with fellow freelancers as we navigate the evolving publishing landscape.

Now I’m paying it forward as co-president of the Texas chapter and co-chair of the Austin regional conference on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. We’re working hard to bring you a mix of writing-business and craft-oriented sessions that will inspire and inform. Every ASJA conference relies on members to help make it a success, and ours is no exception. Here are five reasons to get involved.

  • Gain visibility: Volunteering at a conference makes you more visible to speakers, editors and other attendees. You never know if the person you meet at the sign-in table or during the cocktail reception might be able to refer you to an editor or assign you a story. ASJA members are a friendly and generous bunch, so if you’re stumped on where to pitch a story or need help breaking into a new specialty, the people you meet through volunteering or at the conference will likely do everything they can to help.
  • Get to know other members: Joining the conference committee or volunteering in other ways is a great way to get to know other volunteers. Especially if it’s your first ASJA conference, you’ll arrive knowing a few familiar names and/or faces, which can help break the ice and forge friendships. Plus you’ll get to know your conference co-chairs (Debbie and me, Susan) a lot more. Ask me about my side gig as a professional princess or chat up Debbie on how to make an amazing gluten and dairy-free chocolate mousse.
  • Learn a new skill: Curious how an ASJA conference works? Want to boost your social media skills? Volunteering at a regional conference is a great way to step away from your desk and learn something new. You never know when it might inspire a story idea or come in handy as you’re working with clients, especially given how quickly publishing is
  • Score a discount: Members who volunteer on the conference get a discount code for registration and that means extra money for tacos or margaritas while you’re in Austin.
  • Give back: If, like me, you’ve ever landed a new assignment through Client Connections or a panel at a conference , then you likely have ASJA volunteers to thank. Keep that positivity going by getting involved. They say a rising tide lifts all boats and I believe that ASJA is the perfect example of that.


Here’s what we’re looking for in Austin:

  • Committee members: Members who want to be involved in shaping the conference are invited to join the planning committee. At this point, we’re most in need of a hospitality chair, but we’re open to help in other areas as well.
  • Social media support: Active in social media? Please join our social media squad! We’ll send periodic emails inviting you to retweet or share updates on speakers, registration deadlines and more as the conference approaches. This is an easy, low-commitment way to help promote the conference and showcase your involvement with ASJA.
  • On-site volunteers: Members attending the conference can get a discount on registration by volunteering for part of the day. We need on-site volunteers to greet speakers and attendees, sell books in our member bookshop, keep time for Client Connections and/or monitor our Twitter feed.


We’re doing all of the advance planning via email and Google documents, so you can get involved from anywhere! If you’re interested in finding out more or signing up to volunteer, please email

Whether you’re a member, volunteer or nonmember, please mark your calendar for Feb. 3 and join us in Austin for inspiration, insights and meetings with top editors from across the Lone Star state. Dust off those cowboy or cowgirl boots and join us “write” in the heart of Texas!


Registration for the Austin regional conference is now open! You can register here

The Chicago conference is open to all, although ASJA members get a discount! It’s a two-day event: Spotlight on Ghostwriting takes place on Friday, Nov, 17, and Boosting Your Content IQ will be held the next day, Saturday, Nov. 18. Sign up for one or both days. Register now and save even more money with the Early Bird rate! And, even if you’re not attending , you can still tweet and share information about it on LinkedIn, using the hashtags #ghostwriting  #ghostwriter  #ASJAConCon #ASJAAuthorcon.