I am thinking long and hard about my memberships to "professional" associations. One in particular just upped there dues to ridiculous levels. I get very little out of it-and yet I have been a member since 1994. Crazy. Each year I watch more and more ridiculous rules put into place. There is always infighting and argument over who is a "real" author or not. My personal status has gone from- not real to sorta real-to real-yay!- but then back to sorta real- and now not real again. Nine books sold people- not vanity press. Still they argue.
The point of professional organizations is to 1) keep you updated on the profession through important information updates 2) help you meet and mingle with other professionals in your field. 3) advocate for your profession.
Now, I belong to a couple of such groups- so the updated info is redundant. The meet and mingle has gone away as well with the advent of social networks. Finally, in the 15 years I've been a member I haven't once needed an advocate. What about the newsletter? *shrug* I haven't read it in years. It always makes me feel bad about myself. What about the conference? 1) Non-members can attend. 2) The costs have risen well above the benefits. 3) I would rather take a cruise and lay in the sun for vacation. 4) Local conferences are better for promotion and editor/agent meets and greets and you don't have to be a member for those either.
Put down in black and white- the only reason I still belong to this organization is habit and a strange sense of loyalty to my friends who belong. Is that the right reason to spend hundreds of dollars a year? thoughts?