The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America governing body has approved bylaw changes that now accepts self-published author for Active and Associate memberships in the organization.
Self-Published authors will need to abide by the same requirements to join the SFWA as ones that are traditionally published. Specific details will be posted at sfwa.org by the first of March, but the basic standards are $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. Affiliate, Estate, and Institutional membership requirements remain unchanged.
Science fiction is facing a crisis right now as traditional publishing is starting to see a massive decline in sales. The genre was down 21% in 2013 and a further 7% in 2014. Overall science fiction unit sales have declined 1,488,000 in just two years. It’s down more than one-quarter in two years and is now only half the size of the Graphic Novel market. Fantasy titles are not selling at all right now either, as unit sales plunged 13% in 2014.
The move to embrace self-published authors is likely the smart move for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America governing body. Many authors these days are finding it hard to get a trade deal because the big New York publishing houses only sign new authors if they think their books can sell or if a genre is especially hot right now. Sadly, science fiction is hardly hot at all, and this is why most people are electing to publish their books themselves on Amazon.