Back in 2011, when I first published The Demon’s Apprentice, I went over to the Science Fiction Writers of America website to see how to join. After all, I’d been published! Surely I qualified for membership, right? Not exactly. A lot of small presses don’t qualify as a professional market, and since the publisher I went with didn’t pay an advance, there was no way I could meet the $3000 minimum advance requirement. I chalked it up to my naiveté about publishing and figured I was still paying my dues as a writer. Someday, I vowed. Someday.
Now, some folks wonder “Why should I join a professional organization no one has ever heard of?” Well, that’s the thing. People HAVE heard of the SFWA. People with clout in the publishing industry. Many of those people with clout in the industry are MEMBERS of the SFWA. Authors you’ve heard of are members. Agents for authors you’ve heard of are members. And there are resources available for members that I might not otherwise have access to. For me, it came down to one very important thing. You can tell a lot about people by the company they keep. The SFWA is filled with people who I would be happy to hang out with, people who have become successful with their writing, people I WANT to be associated with.
So I kept the dream of joining alive, this tiny little ember of hope…someday…
Then I discovered self-publishing. Oh, self-publishing, where I could find success in the form of actual sales! How I loved it! Freedom from the day job was within my grasp! In a couple of years or so, once I got enough books out, I could write for a living! And maybe, if I geto enough recognition, I’d get an offer for one of my series from a qualifying market. Or, I could submit a manuscript to an agent and get a contract that way! The ember had dwindled to a spark, but it refused to die. Someday, it still whispered.
Things change. Horror Writers of America changed its policies about accepting self-published authors as member. With my zombie apocalypse stories, I qualified for membership there. Hot damn! So I joined. At the very least, it was tax deductible, right?
And then it happened. Things change, and the SFWA opened their doors to self-published authors. Around this time, I had regained the rights to my Demon’s Apprentice series, and the first book was (and still is) doing well. The spark became an ember, which quickly turned into a flame. “Someday” turned into Soon…
On March 18th, Someday arrived, and Soon became Now. I officially became a member of the SFWA. I’ve spent the last few days sort of sitting back and making sure it was real. Every now and then, I’ve been saying “I’m a member of the SFWA” just to hear how it sounds. Let me tell ya…it sounds pretty damn cool. Thankfully, my girlfriend understands why I do that, and has the patience of a saint (I know, I try it often.) so no one has showed up to fit me for a jacket with really long sleeves. Truth is, she’s as thrilled as I am about it.
Achievement Unlocked. One more dream come true. Do what you love, and KEEP DOING IT. That's part of the secret.