With all these groups, it will take time to get to know other members , find critique groups, and establish friendships. Some groups charge a membership fee. Some are free. I belong to several groups that I pay an annual membership fee to and I feel are totally worth the annual cost of membership. But I’ve tried groups and not renewed my membership. My recommendation is to look for the group that appears to be the best fit in regards to genre and market, then give it a try. If it works, great. If not, don’t renew your membership next year and look for a group that is a better fit.
But like I said, not all groups charge membership fees. Here are some groups I recommend:
Go Teen Writers: http://www.facebook.com/groups/goteenwriters/
This is a group for teen writers run my Stephanie Morrill and me. It’s a free, Facebook group. You have to have a Facebook profile to join. And you must abide by our guidelines, which are few.
American Christian Fiction Writers: http://www.acfw.com/
ACFW has over 2500 members worldwide, consisting of authors, editors, agents, publicists and aspiring writers. They are an international organization, but they may also have a local chapter near you. If you write any genre of Christian fiction, I highly recommend this group. They have an annual conference that has the best turnout of agents and editors over any other conference that exists in the Christian Booksellers Association market.
Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators: http://www.scbwi.org/
This is the only professional organization specifically for those writing and illustrating for children and young adults in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. If you write for kids or teens for the general market (American Booksellers Association), then you should check out this group. They have local chapters and events and big national conferences.