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Writing: The Thrill of Belonging to the SFWA

Photo of Brian Freyermuth

American sci-fi and fantasy author Brian Freyermuth, now a member of SFWA

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

cover of Demon to Dance

Sales of Demon Dance qualified Brian Freyermuth to join SFWA

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:

  • 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

Cover of Opening Up to Indie Authors

Campaign handbook (free digital edition available to ALLi members, ebook and paperback available for non-members to buy)

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!

For more information about ALLi’s campaign for greater acceptance of indie authors by the publishing industry, visit our #publishingopenup campaign page.

News of a major authors' organisation opening up to indie authors via @BrianFreyermuth #SFWA #publishingopenup Click To Tweet

 

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3 Responses to Writing: The Thrill of Belonging to the SFWA

  1. Cat Rambo August 11, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    Welcome to the organization! I am so pleased to see all the awesome independently published authors that have been joining our ranks this year. Looking forward to meeting and talking with many of you at Worldcon.

  2. Jonathan Brazee July 16, 2015 at 3:56 am #

    When I was a teenager in Des Moines many years ago, my brother took me to a Scifi convention where I met Gordon DIckson and had lunch with an honest-to-goodness SFWA member. I was thrilled, and I made a vow to myself then that someday too, I would be a member.

    Fast-forward to now where I am a reasonably successful writer. Several of my books are scifi, and when the SFWA decided to accept indies, I immediately applied and was one of the first indies in the door. One of the first people to welcome me was none other than Jerry Pournelle, one of my idols in the literary world.

    I will be attending Worldcon in Spokane next month, and one of my proudest moments will be simply walking into the business meeting of the SFWA.

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