To join SFWA, or no?

SFWAcolorWith my recent publication in Asimovs, I am now eligible to be an Active member of SFWA. Cool, that feels a milestone.

The Science Fiction Writers of America is a professional body, advocating for sf writers. I know that several of my friends are members. It seems like a wise move on my part to join up, and I probably will. Mixing with my peers is always fun.

The slight hesitation I feel revolves around location. While I have some American heritage, I’m not really ‘of America’. More like ‘of New Zealand’ (though I also hold Australian citizenship). Some of the benefits-medical support, attendance at the Nebula weekend, etc-feel like they’re only useful if I lived a whole lot closer.

Then again, I do get the the U.S. from time to time. Perhaps this would encourage me to flit over more frequently. And there is that whole collegial thing. What do you think?

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9 thoughts on “To join SFWA, or no?

  1. Erin Cole

    I think it’s a good idea. You’ll be able to network, have another bio ‘kudos’, and perhaps take part in some speaking/reading gigs at conferences. That said, I don’t use my HWA membership as I should. Nevertheless, it’s a nice dilemma to have. : )

    Reply
  2. Alexandru Constantin

    Personally I’m split on them. On one hand most of my favorite old school SFF writers have been members. On the other hand they seem to be more interested in drama, Diversity, internet battles, and political issues than they are in promoting writers. Every time some stupid internet drama breaks out some of the most prominent members seem to be involved. Kind of creeps me out a bit.

    Reply
    1. Sean Monaghan Post author

      Thanks Alexandru. I’ve been aware of the controversies, and been intrigued. Also aware I guess that it’s probably just a few members stirring things up rather than the main body.

      Reply
  3. Cat Rambo (@Catrambo)

    For what it’s worth, SFWA has a number of international members, ranging across the global, and recent votes to admit independently and small press publishing writers as well as game writers will add to those ranks, I think.
    Rob Dircks did a nice infographic that covers some of the benefits of membership here: http://www.sfwa.org/2015/11/the-value-of-sfwa-an-infographic/
    From my perspective, the last couple years – which is how long I’ve been on the SFWA Board — have been pretty smooth as far as controversies go. The discussion forums are full of useful stuff and any squabbles are small and usually moderated pretty quickly to keep things professional. The Nebula conference weekend this year was awesome and full of solid programming aimed at professional level writers, rather than the “how to write convincing characters” level stuff that you see at the more entry level conferences.
    Anyhow, as you can tell, I’ve drunk the kool-aid pretty thoroughly, but I’m happy to answer questions. I joined as soon as I could and have always found it a good value for my money.

    Reply
    1. Sean Monaghan Post author

      Thanks Cat. I followed the Nebula weekend online a bit (numerous friends attended) and found myself envious. I certainly see value in belonging to the professional body. Cheers.

      Reply
  4. T. R. Napper

    From Australia, became a full member a few months back. Asimov’s was the sale that got me there, actually. I’m not sure if I’ll renew. It’s a very US-centric organisation as you note, and I’m not convinced that will change anytime soon. From what I’ve seen, about a third of the SFWA budget is spent on a ‘health’ fund, and about a third goes on fighting legal battles for members. I’ve been told both those areas have only ever helped US members. So that’s 2/3rds of your membership gone. The Nebula weekend – well, as you say, who can afford the plane ticket to that? There’s voting on the Nebulas, though even that I’m skeptical about.

    When I made some comments in an article about the Nebulas almost always nominating US authors, I copped a torrent of abuse from (admittedly older) SFWA members with words to the effect of: “It’s an American organisation – what do you expect, idiot!”

    Which is all very disappointing, as I’ve long been a supporter of collective action, and think associations like this in principle are a very good thing.

    Reply

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