Members of the Science Fiction Writers of America have voted to accept credits for self-published and small press authors for Active and Associate membership in the organization.
SFWA says it will post full details on March 1 when it begins taking applications under the new regime, but in the announcement foreshadowed that it will allow a combination of advances and income earned in a 12 month period to rise to the qualifying amounts. Otherwise, the basic standards will remain in place — $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.
Self-published and small-press works were already eligible for SFWA’s Nebula and Norton Awards, and will remain so.
When the SFWA Blog solicited public comments last summer it got 43 responses, many in favor. The few negative remarks came from then-ineligible writers scoffing at the idea they would want to join if allowed.
In comparison, the Horror Writers Association (HWA) began accepting self-published work for membership qualification in July 2014. HWA does not set the bar quite so high — to qualify for Active HWA membership a self published author must have proven earnings of $2000 from a single work within two years of publication; for Affiliate, $200.
HWA applies the same earning levels to authors of self-published and traditionally published work work. It appears SFWA plans to do the same.