SFWA, self-publishing, and my lapsed membership

SFWA is asking for input about letting self-published writers join based on their self-published sales. Good on them. This is a step that’s much overdue.

Ironically, after renewing last year with hope that issues would be cleared up, I have just let my membership lapse.

Several factors contributed to this decision:

– As networking organisation, I’ve not found it particularly useful. The forums are a pale shade of those on the Kindleboards in terms of timeliness and usefulness of the information, and that’s not just about self-publishing.

– I’m not in America. It’s still very much an American organisation, despite assurances otherwise. It’s all about America, America, America, and if you say something about another part of the world, they go “Hey, dude, didn’t you know this is America?” Well, no. Many members cite the SFWA parties and con suites as beneficial. I could totally see that, except I don’t attend those cons. For a while I intended to travel to America more, but I’ve come to realise I don’t like travel much, and for various reasons, America wouldn’t feature high on the priority list. Sorry, peeps, the place kinda freaks me out a bit, not in a good way.

– All the bureaucratic business with bylaws. I sometimes wonder how much energy the organisation spends on reorganising its own internal structure, time it could spend on important stuff. I’m told the bylaws pretty much dictate the organisation. Whatever. I’m fed up with it. Too much navelgazing going on.

– Yeah. The continual controversies. Mainly I’m sick of having to defend to the local scene why I’m still a member. Reputation has really taken a drubbing in recent years.

Would I re-join? Maybe for a year if I actually went to America? Maybe if their focus became much more international?

To be honest, I think the organisation has missed the boat by spending too much time navelgazing and discussing internal structures, not just on the selfpub issue.

2 thoughts on “SFWA, self-publishing, and my lapsed membership

  1. Try living next door to ’em! … I haven’t been enamoured of the SFWA either, for similar reasons. I’m quite happy to put my energy out there, if there’s something equitable I get back.

  2. The bit about America and hey this is America dude… that’s why I haven’t joined. I think if I’m going to spend my cash I’m better off joining the Alliance of Independent Authors. It’s UK based but it does ‘world’ a bit better than SFWA. To be honest, American may be a bit market but my books are far more likely to appeal in Australasia and English-speaking Africa, even in India, because those are all places where people who read in English are unfazed by the idea of reading about a country other than their own. And the sucky sexism, of course, and the fact it’s still such a big deal to them, in the 21st century for heaven’s sake.



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