US novelist Brian Freyermuth describes the thrill of being accepted as a member of a prestigious genre writers' organisation, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), which has now opened up to indie authors.
I’ve had some amazing moments in my life, from meeting and marrying my wife, Juliet, to the birth of my son, to seeing the games I write and design on the shelves at GameStop (Yup, I visit stores or Steam whenever a game is released). Recently, I had one of those I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening moments when I became a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).
Why I Aspired to Join the SFWA
I was a huge comic book fan growing up, but I was never much of a book reader. A few books here and there caught my attention, most notably A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. But it wasn’t until my dad gave me copy of Spellsinger by Alan Dean Foster that I became addicted to fantasy. How could you not love a story about a man from our world who gets pulled into a distant world of talking otters, magic and mayhem?
While I was in college I found out about the SFWA, an organization that not only helped authors navigate the sticky webs of publishing, but also helped connect them with other fantasy and science fiction authors. Here was a place where the greats hung out, like Terry Brooks, Terry Prachett, Joe Haldeman and Greg Bear, all authors I read growing up.
Diminishing Stigma of Self-Publishing
For many years, the only way you could get into an organization like SFWA was to traditionally publish your stories. But as more independent authors like Hugh Howey became popular, the stigma around self publishing waned.
Last March, for the first time ever, SFWA opened their doors to self published authors. Authors who earn $3,000 over a year for their book now have the opportunity to become active members. The steps are simple:
- I filled out the online form on their website. You can read about other membership requirements here: www.sfwa.org/about/join-us/sfwa-membership-requirements/
- Next I downloaded the payment records for Demon Dance through KDP, which was easy to download and email back to SFWA.
- A week later, I received a welcome package. It was almost as exciting as holding my books in my hands for the first time.
There have been many key moments in this crazy road trip of life, both on a personal and professional level. Getting into the SFWA, once thought impossible for a self-published author, is definitely one of those. If this lover of fantasy and science fiction can do it, so can you.
OVER TO YOU
If you have experience of joining an organisation that has opened up to indie authors recently, or would like to flag up one that sets up unreasonable obstacles for self-published writers, we'd love to know!
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