85% of 33% of the SFWA membership voted in favor of changing The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association membership requirements, making self-published (indie) and small press published authors eligible for membership in that organization.
Which means that approximately 28% of the total membership voted in favor of the change.
Under the new rules for membership, sales of $3,000.00 for a novel or $6,000.00 for shorter works will qualify for Active membership (the shorter works are based on 10,000 words at a minimum of 6 cents per word). A minimum of 1,000 words paid at 6 cents per word is required for Associate membership.
The changes will take effect on March 1st, 2015, at which time full details will be available on the SFWA website.
Prior to the announcement of the change, it was clear that SFWA needed to make some accommodation for indie authors (who now represent, by far, the majority of writers producing works of science fiction and fantasy). The need was mitigated by SFWA’s desire to remain a “professional” organization and difficulties surrounding the crafting of requirements that could be measured and verified.
ALL professional organizations have restrictive membership requirements designed to maintain the organization’s focus and quality. The American Psychological Association does not allow Soothsayers to join; likewise, the American Medical Association requires a degree, the Society of Professional Journalists requires proof of expertise in journalism &c.
SFWA’s challenge was, therefore, the crafting of a method by which the title “professional author of science fiction and/or fantasy” could be conferred. Prior to this change, the method used was proof of a certain number of sales, of novels and/or shorter works, to approved paying markets. (Relatively easy to verify.)
During SFWA’s open comments period on the question, several indie authors objected to sales requirements (not to mention the whole concept of joining an organization that didn’t seem to want them and/or didn’t offer them anything meaningful), failing to understand that SFWA already imposed sales requirements on its current membership.
Some of the same thinking is evident in the current set of comments on the SFWA website.
Amazing Stories applauds this change and urges indie authors who qualify to give some serious thought towards joining the organization.
You can read SFWA’s announcement here.