Wednesday, February 4, 2015

SFWA Opening to Small Press and Indie Writers

The vote is in and by a very nice margin -- six to one -- SFWA members have voted to put in place rules that'll allow writers who publish through small presses that didn't make the old "qualifying market" requirement, or who publish indie, to qualify for either Associate or Active membership, based on sales levels (in dollars, not units sold) within one year.

Specific details will be posted at by the first of March, but the basic standards are $3,000 for novel, or a total of 10,000 words of short fiction paid at 6 cents a word for Active membership. A single story of at least 1,000 words paid at 6 cents a word will be required for Associate membership. Affiliate, Estate, and Institutional membership requirements remain unchanged.

That's great news. It shows that SFWA is recognizing that publishing is changing, and is taking action to catch up with the changes. Props to the members who voted in favor of this reform.

According to SFWA Vice President Cat Rambo, "I’m very excited to see SFWA moving forward and adapting itself to the changing face of modern publishing. SFWA will be much richer for the influx of knowledge and experience that the new members who have focused on independent and small-press publishing will bring with them."

I'm pretty sure I'll qualify for active membership this year under the new rules, but I'm considering whether I'll join. I have people I can ask for contract help (that's the sort of thing you hire a lawyer for anyway), and I have good medical insurance. It's also true that an influx of small press, hybrid and indie-pubbing writers will make SFWA a more valuable resource for info and advice, especially for someone like me who has no interest whatsoever in getting a novel contract from a big New York publisher, but I already know a lot of people who can give me all the advice I'm ever likely to need in that area as well. I don't like some of the things SFWA has said or done in the last few years, but joining to add my voice to the majority of SFWAns who are not racist, sexist, homophobic dipshits ((tm) John Scalzi) could help drown out the loud minority who are.

I have to decide whether that's worth $90/year. It might be; we'll see.

Thanks to Passive Guy for the link.



Suzan Harden said...

That post was worth it for the Scalzi quote alone. *grin*

It'll be interesting to see how things shake out in SFWA. I left RWA three years because of some similar BS. People assure me that things have changed radically, so I checked the website for the Toledo chapter. They didn't renew their domain registration, so I have to wonder how many people have left for similar reasons to mine. *smh*

Angie said...

Suzan -- RWA is on my, "Call me when an indie-pubbed GLBT romance wins a RITA" shelf. :/ And creating a special ghetto-category for either indies or GLBT romances won't do it. I've heard there are a lot of really nice people who are members, but the leadership of the group hasn't impressed in for a very long time. IOW, I completely understand why you quit. And they're even more expensive than SFWA, aren't they?

I have a very emotional desire to join SFWA. There are effectively no practical reasons for me to do so. I need to figure out whether striking a blow against the bigots, and helping take the one and only major professional organization in what I consider to be my home genre away from said bigots, is worth $90/month, because realistically, all the nostalgically fuzzy feelings I have about SFWA from the 80s really shouldn't carry any weight. [rueful smile]


Charles Gramlich said...

Been hearing about a lot of uproar in the SFWA. Makes me a little leery

Angie said...

Charles -- me too, frankly. But some folks who are already members say that the crap that causes public kerfuffles comes from a (very loud) small minority. Diluting them might be considered a public good. [wry smile]

I used to have a lot of respect for SFWA. I don't anymore. But maybe a bunch of us new folks joining could work with the good people who've been there all along in making it worthy of respect again?