Our Story

Our Story

Founded in 1948, ASJA (the American Society of Journalists and Authors) is the nation’s
largest professional organization of independent nonfiction writers.


ASJA started small, with only 22 members in New York City. Responding to the change from fiction to nonfiction in the magazine publishing industry, these trailblazers founded the Society of Magazine Writers (SMW).

Over the decades, interest and membership grew, and SMW became national. In 1978, the group welcomed book authors, changing its name to ASJA. As freelance rates and book royalties remained stagnant, our members turned to content marketing writing to sustain and grow their incomes, and ASJA began admitting members who work with companies, nonprofits, and brands.

ASJA has remained an association of professional freelance writers who tell true stories. Providing support for those with sustained careers, ASJA has been the place for professional freelance writers to maintain and grow their influence across the publishing industry, promoting entrepreneurship in all aspects of nonfiction publishing.

We write what you read.


For ASJA members, freelance writing is not a hobby; it’s a profession. We are entrepreneurs, as well as writers. Working primarily in three industries—journalism, books, and content marketing—we have thriving freelance careers, making us experts in independent, nonfiction writing.

Our bylines can be found in nearly all consumer and trade publications around the country. We write non-bylined content for top brands, leading nonprofits and small businesses. Our books are for sale in any online or brick-and-mortar bookstore.

We are authors, ghostwriters, brand experts, essayists, bloggers, website content developers, social media and email campaigners, biographers, and investigative reporters.

We work for consumer magazines, newspapers, websites, hospitals, trade publications, brands, small businesses, book publishers, educational companies, and alumni publications.

We write about current events, celebrities, medicine, history, technology, parenting, science, business development, products, science, trends, and elder care.

We fight for free speech and freelancers’ rights.


From the start, ASJA has been a leading voice for the First Amendment. Along with contributing to and promoting Banned Books Week, we have taken legal action to prevent censorship.

ASJA members have led the charge against anti-freelance measures, like California’s AB5 and the federal ProAct, as well as failed measures in New Jersey and New York. We have partnered with other writers associations to lobby lawmakers against limiting the careers of freelance writers.

We promote the growth of freelance writing careers.

Member Programs

ASJA is dedicated to the success of freelance nonfiction writing as a career and a passion. We support the careers of our members through business-building and writing programming, like client networking, virtual educational programming, and conferences.

We are also dedicated to emerging professionals and students. As experts in freelance writing, we provide resources for those new to the field, so they can develop thriving careers as independent writers and creators.

Not a member?

With ASJA, you have access to resources to take your writing career to the next level. You also have access to smart colleagues, events and professional development tools.

Benefits of Membership