Thursday, May 29, 2014

Professional Organizations for Indie Writers

If you read my WisCon Wrapup on Wednesday over at my personal blog, you may have noticed that I mentioned attending a panel on SFWA, the Science Fiction Writers of America. This is an organization for professional science fiction/fantasy authors, with strict guidelines as to what kind of publications and sales count towards membership. For many authors, qualifying for SFWA is a major career goal. I felt that way when I started writing, but when I decided to go indie, I assumed I'd never qualify. Well, that may change. According to both WisCon panelists and regular commenters on The Passive Voice, SFWA is considering ways to qualify indie authors for membership. No word yet as to how this will work, what the requirements will be, and when it will go into effect, so I'm not getting too excited just yet. However, the possibility is worth considering.

If we indie authors were to join SFWA or other professional organizations for writers, do we want to join with traditionally published authors or form our own group? Traditionally published authors have concerns that don't affect us, like contracts or issues with their publishers. OTOH, it would be helpful to network with others in our genre, and larger groups might be able to help with issues that affect all freelancers/entrepreneurs, such as health insurance (they might provide an alternative to Obamacare. I get my insurance through my day job, so I haven't investigated Obamacare) or retirement funds.

I do know there are groups for indies out there that require a paid membership. If any one of our readers is a member of one of them, would you recommend it and why? Non-authors, would you care one way or another if an author was a member of a professional writing organization? Would knowing that affect how you view his or her work?


  1. SFWA just wants to make some extra money. I doubt many of their own members would ever feel indie authors are their equals.

  2. Actually, established writers like Donna Durgin (sp?) are realizing the power of self-publishing their backlist, and some of them also publicly state their problems with traditional publishing, like Laura Resnick. Even Charles Stross, who vehemently supports Hachette, admits he's willing to self-publish, though he sees it as a last resort and thinks his income and writing time will suffer for it. Attitudes toward those of us who choose self-publishing from the start may change too, though it won't happen overnight.

  3. I think a lot of traditional authors are members of groups; we just don't know about it.

  4. You can qualify for SFWA membership by publishing short stories in qualifying magazines, as well. For whatever benefit that is. There are a lot of magazines out there (beyond even my site SELF PROMOTION ALERT that pay people for their writing and want only first publication electronic rights, leaving you to later put them in anthologies, collections or as Amazon shorts.