I am a proud member of the Editorial Freelancers Association. I’m in their directory and on their mailing list, and I look at all the awesome things they offer and sometimes partake of them if I have a spare moment.
But what about other professional societies? Is it actually useful to be a member of the Professional Craft Book Cartel? Would I go to the Annual Meeting of Knitting Book Creators? Or is it just a signal that I have an extra hundred bucks that I could have spent better?
I used to belong to a regional publishing society through my former job. I once went to an informal networking society. It was middle school all over again, only with better looking people and alcohol. I talked to my friends for the first half an hour, drank the best Manhattan of my life, then talked to a bunch of young, hungry publishing professionals who I would have either asked out or wanted to be friends with if I were single, braver, and extroverted enough to follow up. We were all in the same boat; no one was offering me jobs.
So, tell me, is it networking or a waste of time? Is it educational or nothing new? Bullshit or building character?