Mystery Writers of America is the leading association for professional crime writers in the United States. Members of MWA include most major writers of crime fiction and non-fiction, as well as screenwriters, dramatists, editors, publishers, and other professionals in the field. You do NOT have to be published to join our organization. We welcome everyone who is interested in mysteries and crime writing to join MWA.
The membership information on this website is subject to change without notice. Every attempt has been made to present accurate information about membership and membership categories, but all memberships, criteria, and category assignments are made or approved at the discretion of the MWA National Board. Our membership term is July 1st through June 30th. Dues are currently $115/per term. Everyone pays full dues when they join, regardless of membership category or time of the year. If you join MWA during January-March, your dues will be pro-rated upon renewal. If you join during April-June, you will automatically be paid through the next term.
There are five categories of membership:
- Active membership is open to professional writers in the crime/mystery/suspense field whose work has been published or produced in the U.S., who reside in the U.S., and who meet specific criteria set by the Board for this category. Currently, some of those criteria are:
- The applicant is a professional creative writer of fiction, non-fiction, or drama (including TV, screenplays, radio, and staged drama).
- The writer has received payment for his or her work in an amount determined by the Board of Directors of Mystery Writers of America. Proof of payment is required.
- The publisher is on MWA’s list of approved publishers or eligible to be added to that list; similar criteria are set for dramas, films, and video productions.
- Work may be self-published. See criteria for active status membership for the details.
Only Active status members may vote, hold office, and serve on Edgar® committees in MWA. Learn more about the criteria for Active status
- Associate membership is open to professionals residing in the U.S. who work in the allied fields listed below:
- Agent, representing the works and estates of mystery writers.
- Attorney, whose is practice is primarily one of representing writers and other creators of intellectual property. Includes writers’ tax attorneys, copyright attorneys, literary attorneys, and others offering specialized legal services to writers.
- Bookseller, who owns or manages a store which sells mysteries.
- Director of plays, screenplays, television programs or other dramatic works which are mysteries.
- Editor of mysteries, working for payment within a publishing house or for a magazine. Book doctors, private copyeditors, and those offering other private editor services are Affiliates.
- Journalist, covering the field of mystery writing or interviewing writers.
- Librarian, working with a collection which includes mysteries.
- Producer of films, television programs or movies, plays, Internet productions, or audiotapes which are mysteries.
- Publicist or other paid public relations specialist representing mystery writers.
- Publisher of mysteries other than one’s own (may include one’s own, but not exclusively one’s own, and must pay writers for their work), including mystery magazine publishers.
- Reviewer, who is a paid reviewer of mysteries for newspapers, magazines, and journals. Unpaid reviewers are Affiliates.
- Affiliate members are writers of crime/mystery/suspense fiction who are not yet professionally published, and others with an interest in the genre, including unpaid reviewers and fans or publishers not approved by MWA.
- Student members shall be affiliate members 18-26 years of age paying membership dues reduced 50% from the prevailing rate. For simplicity’s sake, the dues amount shall be adjusted to the next higher whole-dollar.
- Corresponding members are those who might be in any of the above categories, but who live outside the United States.
Access the membership application here. If you are scanning the application to email to us, please save it as a pdf file and not a jpg – jpg files do not print clearly. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.