I’m now officially an Associate Member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. I’ve had this goal for almost three years. It feels great to achieve it.
To join, need at least one paid sale in an approved market. Thanks to Flash Fiction Online, I have met this requirement.
It’s kind of cool to belong to the storied organization that Robert Silverberg, Harlan Ellison, and so many other sci fi luminaries have joined. Granted, when you get down to it, I am a sad pretender to the same kind of writerhood that these actual sci fi writers possess. And the SFWA itself is a loose, archaic network of volunteers dedicated to a profession (writer for popular print magazines and genre presses) that hardly exists anymore.
My dream job would be as a writer for genre magazines, and as a generator of Ace paperbacks with lurid surreal covers.
(OK, I think Andre Norton was phoning it in a bit there.)
But those days are gone. You don’t make a living as a “creative” person anymore. It’s the era of writing as a hobby. Your stories will be quickly forgotten in the static of Internet content, your novels will be self-published and will languish in Amazon’s digital cellars.
And writers have it easy. Editors and publishers are even more screwed. It used to be a real job to edit a sci fi magazine. Now it’s a labor of love and a volunteer job, and they have to do it month in month out.
Yeah, it’s a tough time for the arts, and everybody connected with them. The universe of speculative fiction has shrunk, and more stalwarts die off every day.
Still, it’s the world we’ve got, and there are good people in it. If anyone actually reads this blog, I heartily recommend checking out some good online sci fi/horror/fantasy/ slipstream publications. I’ve listed a few below. There are hundreds more. Check them out. Maybe subscribe to a few. Let’s keep this dream going, before we all have to wake up and go back to our day jobs.
Flash Fiction Online: Excellent source of quality sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. And everything’s under 1000 words, which is an amazing trick to pull off. This is one of my two favorite online publications.
Note: I made my first and second sales to FFO, but it wasn’t easy! The first 17 stories I sent them came back. The 18th and 19th were finally successful. It was worth the effort. I learned a lot from their feedback. The staff of FFO have been extremely kind and supportive, and I feel lucky to be among their published writers.
Daily Science Fiction: My other favorite. You get a sci-fi or fantasy story in your email inbox every weekday. And the quality is off the charts; simply stunning much of the time. I’ve sent DSF about fifteen stories, and had them all rejected, but I’m in the second round again, and I’m feeling optimistic…
Space Squid: I like humorous sci fi. It’s hard to find, and even harder to find humorous sci fi that’s actually funny. Space Squid is the best for that. (Check out “The Bed Person” in the recent issue.)
(And Space Squid have published Matt, another mark in their favor.)
Other good ones: Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, Andromeda Spaceways, Fantasy & Science Fiction. There are hundreds more. If you’re part of the community of writers, do yourself and everyone a big favor, and make sure to be part of the community of readers as well. It’s good for your writing, it’s good for the brain, it’s good for everyone, and you’re just fucking around at work anyway, so why not waste time in a good way?