Since the inception of this blog I’ve been talking about my quest for pro writer status. I know at least one of you is saying “But James, your stories rock! You’re already pro in my book!!” And to that assessment of my literary skill, I will say, “thanks, mom.” And for the others who were wondering who gets to decide who is pro and who is not, let me introduce the wizards behind the curtain.
This is the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Don’t look at the acronym like there’s an F missing… it brings up bad memories for them. I like it this way. They like it this way. Let’s focus here, people.
Their criteria to be considered a professional science fiction and fantasy writer is to have three short stories sold for at least 5 cents a word or a novel published by a qualifying venue. So when I say two out of three, that’s me saying that one more short story sell at this professional level equates to the ability to become an active member of SFWA.
I feel that last sell around the corner, and with that sell some of you out there may be wondering “So what do you get for being an active SFWA member?” Well…
Um… and then there’s…
I don’t know if there’s anything other than a congrats. They don’t advertise many tangibles other than a sense of community, a strong corner to back you up. Perhaps membership will come with a nifty decoder ring, discounts at Barnes and Nobles and prepaid postage for mailed manuscripts without the need to include a SASE!
The real tangible for me is this: getting a third pro sell tells the world I’m not a fluke who got a lucky shot once or even twice. I personally believe that it’ll say a lot to publishers and agents when I introduce myself and my book… it’ll say, you may want to give this guy a chance, he writes on a level that only the best in the industry can. He’s a pro.
Meanwhile, for those of you who are working toward this, like me, or long time members who never cared to look at what SFWA offers, there are a few services available to any and all. One is their Writer Beware Blog, which calls out the ate-up, snake oil selling publishers and contests out there looking to earn a dollar off of your dreams of being a big name novelist. They also offer the SFWA bulletin, a newsletter for fiction minded writer types.
Any day now. Pro. I’m putting positive vibes out there into the Interwebz.