Looking to become a member of SFWA? Take this easy questionnaire that will guide you through possible paths to membership and let you know if you are ready to join!
Table of Contents
- Membership Types
Effective with Bylaws
Active members can and are encouraged to attend business meetings, vote in elections, receive access to private discussion forums, gain entry into SFWA exclusive events and suites at conventions, receive publications such as; a SFWA Bulletin subscription, the SFWA membership handbook, and may recommend, nominate, and vote on works for the Nebula Awards.
Active member dues are $100.00 USD annually.
A candidate shall be eligible for Active Membership if:
- Three or more paid sales of different works of fiction (such as three separate short stories or half-hour scripts) totaling a minimum of 10,000 words. We accept the following payment per word rates for these sales: 8c/word from 9/1/2019 – current, 6c/word from 7/1/2014 – 8/31/2019, 5c/word from 1/1/2004 to 6/30/2014 and 3c/word before 1/1/2004; or
- Three or more paid sales of different works of fiction (such as three separate shorter works or half-hour scripts) totaling a minimum of 10,000 words that were self-published, indie published or sold to a small press at 6c a word after January 1st, 2013. Income verification will be necessary to prove those sales; or
- Any combination of three or more sales mentioned above, that meet their specific payment rates/dates; or
- One Paid Sale of a work of fiction (such as a novel) of a minimum of 40,000 words, for which the candidate has been paid at least $3,000 as a non-returnable advance before or at the time of publication ($2000.00 if sale made on or before 12/31/2014); or
- One professionally produced full length (at least one hour) teleplay (dramatic script) with credits clearly shown on the work and paid at the rate established for works over 40,000 words, credited to no more than two individuals and with a minimum pay rate of 6c/word or higher (5c/word 1/1/2004 – 6/30/2014) (3c/word before 1/1/2004); or
- A published work of fiction of a minimum of 40,000 words either sold to a small press or self-published for which the author can demonstrate net income of at least $3,000 over the course of a year since January 1, 2013. Income can be in the form of advance, royalties, or some combination thereof or;
- Game writers*: By making at least one paid sale of a minimum of 40,000 words (minimum $3000.00) , or three paid sales ($.06/word) to qualified markets totaling at least 10,000 words at 8c/word from 9/1/2019 – current, or 6c/word from 1/1/2013 – 8/31/2019.
- Game writers*: By showing they have earned a net income of at least $3,000 from a game that includes at least 40,000 words of text over the course of a 12-month period since January 1, 2013. Income can be in the form of advance, royalties, or some combination of the three.
- Game writers*: If no word count is possible, such as work done for a video game, prospective members can qualify based on one professionally produced full-length game for which they were paid at least $3,000 anytime after a publication date of January 1st, 2013.
Please note: Co-authored novels/short stories with two writers count as 1/2 credit. For example, novelists must have two (2) co-authored works that have each met the $3000.00 USD minimum professional advance/royalties. Short story writers need six or more different coauthored works of fiction totaling 20,000 words that otherwise meet the requirements above to qualify for an active membership. Novels and short stories with more than two authors are not able to be used towards membership.
Qualifying works must be in the English language in science fiction, fantasy, horror and related genres. “Paid Sale” is as defined below.
Associate Members receive access to private discussion forums, entry into SFWA suites at conventions, Bulletin subscription, SFWA Handbook, and may recommend, nominate, and vote on the finalists for the Nebula Awards.
Associate dues are $90.00 USD annually.
A candidate shall be eligible for Associate Membership after acceptance and a signed contract or letters of agreement for:
- One Paid Sale of a work of fiction (such as a short story) of a minimum of 1,000 words. We accept the following payment per word rates: 8c/word from 9/1/2019 – current, 6c/word from 7/1/2014 – 8/31/2019, 5c/word from 1/1/2004 to 6/30/2014 and 3c/word before 1/1/2004; or
- A work of fiction (such as a short story) of a minimum of 1,000 words that has been self-published, indie published, or sold to small press after January 1st, 2013 and paid at 6c/word. Income verification will be required to process the application.
Works must be in the English language in science fiction, fantasy, horror and related genres. “Paid Sale” is defined below.
Affiliate Members receive access to private discussion forums, entry into SFWA suites at conventions, Member Directory, Bulletin subscription, and Singularity subscription via e-mail, and may recommend works for Nebula consideration, but not nominate or vote. Dues are $115.00 USD annually.
A candidate shall be eligible for Affiliate Membership if he or she:
a. Presents credentials acceptable to the Membership Committee and provides the names of three current SFWA members as references, or, alternatively, provides documentation that shows a long standing beneficial presence to science fiction and fantasy writers.
b. Has a legitimate interest in science fiction and fantasy (such as high schools, colleges, universities, libraries, and similar institutions, as well as broadcasting organizations, film producers, futurology groups, and similar organizations) or a professional involvement in science fiction or fantasy (such as academics, editors, agents, artists, graphic novelists, reviewers, etc.) but is not eligible to become an Active or Associate member.
c. Does not charge an upfront fee of any kind. Agents may charge a commission on sales and nominal fees for office expenses, but only as a deduction from money earned.
d. Is not associated with and has no business relationship with an agent or publisher who refers authors to them and gets a kick-back for so doing.
e. Receives less than ten percent (10%) of their revenue from author fees or sales to authors.
f. Receives approval by the Membership Committee, which for publishing professionals includes consultation with relevant committees such as Writer Beware and Grievance.
Estate Members receive access to private discussion forums, entry into SFWA suites at conventions, Member Directory, Bulletin subscription, SFWA Handbook, electronic SFWA Forum, and a place in SFWA’s Estate Listings database. Estate dues are $90.00 annually.
A candidate shall be eligible for Estate Membership if he or she is the legal representative for the estate of a deceased author who was an Active member or who was qualified to be an Active member at any time during their writing career.
SFWA shall honor the onetime dues assessment that Life Members, at the time of reincorporation, made to the organization. SFWA shall keep those Life Members in good standing with the rights of their respective classes (Active, Associate, and Affiliate) during their lifetime.
After thirty (30) years of continuous membership, at least twenty-five (25) of which have been as Active members, each member so requesting on an annual membership-renewal notice, will be granted free Associate membership for the rest of their life.
If the member wishes to return to Active status, they may do so at any time by recommencing to pay dues, provided they qualify for active status under the then-current membership rule .
Active Family: Active-level members who live at the same address may choose a family membership. Benefits will be the same for each member, except that only one Bulletin subscription will be included. Family dues are $150 for two members plus $60 for each additional family member. Voting rights retained for each member.
Associate Family: Associate-level members who live at the same address may choose a family membership. Benefits will be the same for each member, except that only one Bulletin subscription will be included.Family dues are $140 for two members plus $50 for each additional family member. Associate members in this group will still have individual rights to nominate in the Nebula Awards.
Affiliate Group: Affiliate level members working for the same parent company are eligible to combine their memberships into a group discounted rate. Dues would be $175 for two members plus $80 each additional member. Limit five members in one group.
Additionally, members who inhabit two different levels are not eligible for family/group memberships at this time. (e.g. Associate and Active levels would not be able to combine at this time.)
If any member wishes to take advantage of the family/group rates, please email email@example.com for more information.
- Paid sales are works that have been accepted for publication by an eligible market and paid for, either in advance or on publication; or
- Are works of fiction in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, or horror published in the English language.
- By unanimous vote of the Board of Directors meeting in San Jose, California, on August 16, 2018, contest publications no longer qualify toward SFWA membership*, effective August 16, 2018. Current members in good standing who qualified via contest publications are unaffected by this change.
- The Membership Committee, at its discretion, may also accept sales that met prior criteria for SFWA membership at the time of sale.
- Applicants must submit proof of net income at the time of application.
- For Rule III sales**, proof of payment must also be submitted at the time of application, such proof to consist of photocopied checks, etc. The SFWA Membership Committee, at its discretion, may accept or reject any documentation as proof of an applicant’s credentials.
- For sales that qualify under Rule III* for Active Membership; All amounts are in US Dollars/cents; equivalent payment in other currencies will be determined by the Membership Committee.
- The Membership Committee shall have discretion to decide whether any publication and/or proof thereof is acceptable as qualification for active or associate membership in the Corporation, consistent with the Bylaws.
- All documentation submitted with applications will be archived at SFWA’s office and may be used to conduct statistical and contract term analysis, but authors’ identities will not be revealed.
*Contests: Hundreds of literary contests, across a vast range of sponsoring organizations, offer paid publication as a prize for selected entrants. Determining whether each of these prizes, each year, meets SFWA’s standard of professional pay rates imposes a burden on SFWA’s employees and volunteers, beginning with its Membership Committee. Moreover, this burden is in the service of publications that never were envisioned by SFWA’s founders as professional qualifications. Like scholarships, fellowships, grants and guest-of-honor laurels, literary prizes are welcome at all stages of writers’ careers, and always to be encouraged, but they do not constitute publishing success in the professional marketplace, the arena which historically has been, and must remain, SFWA’s focus.
Qualification Update: Publication Via Contests As Applicable to Rule III Sales
Short fiction and novels that are published as part of a contest, including publication in print or digital anthologies and magazines or online publication on a web site, can be used as qualifying sales under Rule III of the SFWA bylaws, provided they meet all requirements. The qualifying sales are subject to the same restrictions as sales to any other market (such as: no entry or submissions fee, no warnings by Writer Beware, no advisory by SFWA, appropriate minimum payment per word). The contract must show that the author is receiving payment for publication rights separately from any monetary contest prize that may also be received.
**Rule III sales: As stated in the SFWA Bylaws:
For work(s) of fiction submitted as credentials for membership that have been published by a non-qualifying market or by the individual author acting independently and not by any company or any entity, the author must show Proof of Earnings for one written work of fiction of a minimum of 40,000 words, or at least three different written works of fiction which total a minimum of 10,000 words. The Proof of Earnings must meet the minimum rate of pay and accounting standards as set by the Board (or a selected committee thereof).
September 1st, 2019: The Qualifying Markets list is moving to a new and more useful form. A new and updated version of this list will be posted soon. Qualifying short fiction markets retain their status as we research their current per-word rates and move to the new format. We thank you for your patience during this time of transition.
The following markets have been vetted by the SFWA Membership Committee as meeting the SFWA bylaws and other membership criteria. Other markets not listed will be determined on a case by case basis.
List of Qualifying Markets as of November 2016:
- Abaddon Books
- Angry Robot
- Bantam Spectra
- Black Library
- Choice of Games
- Constable and Robinson
- Del Rey
- Design Image Group
- Disney Hyperion
- Dorchester/Leisure – (Only work contracted prior to 12/10/2010)
- Elder Signs Press
- Fitzhenry & Whiteside
- Flux Publications
- Green Knight
- Grim Oak Press
- Harlequin (except for work contracted between 11/1/2009 & 4/30/2010)
- Head of Zeus
- Kensington Publishing
- Meisha Merlin
- Paizo Publishing
- Phoenix Pick
- Prime Books (from May, 2009 forward)
- Pyr Books
- Quercus Books UK/Jo Fletcher Books UK
- Serpent’s Tail
- Shadow Mountain Publishing
- Soho Press
- Tanglewood Press
- Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show
- St. Martin’s Press
- Tor / Forge
- Ulysses Press
- Warner Aspect
- White Wolf
- Wizards of the Coast
Other large independent publishers and US imprints of large conglomerates that meet membership/income requirements such as Bertelsmann, Penguin Putnam, von Holtzbrinck, Time Warner, etc. (thus, Harcourt, Vintage, Farrar Strous & Giroux, Random House, Scholastic, Viking, Doubleday/Nan Talese, Houghton Mifflin, etc.)
The following markets are considered Qualifying Markets. Original short fiction sold to the following markets, as of May 23, 2015 and provided it meets the $80 minimum (1000 words x .08 word) sale requirement, may be used to qualify for SFWA membership. Markets not listed will be determined on a case by case basis.
- Any anthology published by a qualified novel or magazine publisher listed
- Clockwork Phoenix 5 (Added 4/17)
- Dreaming Robot Press (Added 4/17)
- Flame Tree Publishing
- Unidentified Funny Objects
The following markets are considered Qualifying Markets. Original short fiction sold to the following markets, as of June 16, 2014 and provided it meets the $80 minimum (1000 words x .08 word) sale requirement, may be used to qualify for SFWA membership. Markets not listed will be determined on a case by case basis.
- Analog Science Fiction and Fact
- Apex *starting with June 2008 issue
- Arc Manor
- Ares Magazine *Added 4/2017
- Asimov’s Science Fiction
- Augur Magazine *Added 12/2019
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies
- Cast of Wonders
- Chaosium *Added 1/2018
- Clarkesworld Magazine
- Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores *added 12/2017
- Daily Science Fiction
- Diabolical Plots
- Escape Pod
- Fireside Fiction
- Flash Fiction Online
- Future Affairs Administration *added 6/2017
- Galaxy’s Edge Magazine
- Grantville Gazette *starting with May 2007 issue
- Grievous Angel *added 7/2017
- Grim Oak Press
- Lightspeed Magazine
- The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
- Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust
- MUSE Magazine *added 12/2019
- Mysterion – *added 1/2020
- Nightmare Magazine
- Slate: Future Tense *added 12/2019
- Star Citizen Jump Point Magazine
- Strange Horizons
- sub-Q Magazine *added 2/2019
- Terraform (Motherboard) *added 9/2017
- Uncanny Magazine
- Zombies Need Brains *added 7/2017
SF/F/H short fiction sold to major non-genre magazines that clearly meet the qualifying criteria but that have not explicitly gone through the qualification process are eligible for qualification. Examples might include The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Boys’ Life, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and so on.
- The all – electronic imprint Hydra from Random House is not a qualifying venue.
- As of 4/3/2013, Night Shade Books is no longer a qualifying venue. This action refers to Night Shade Books, the company owned by Jeremy Lassen and Jason Williams.
Short fiction sold during the dates shown to the following markets, which are on hiatus, no longer publishing, or which SFWA no longer accepts for new sales.
- Aboriginal SF (to 2001)
- Absolute Magnitude (12/2001-9/2004)
- AE – (Removed 6/2017)
- Amazing Stories (1926-2000)
- Artemis (to 12/2004)
- Baen’s Universe (to April 10, 2010)
- Brutarian (to August 30, 2013)
- Buzzy Magazine – Unable to publish stories at this time. Accepting sales through 10/2016.
- Cemetery Dance is no longer a SFWA-qualifying market. In 2014, SFWA increased the standard of payment from 5¢/word to 6¢/word and this publication has not increased its pay rate to keep pace. In addition, payment for stories is capped at $250, regardless of length. Cemetery Dance was alerted in September about the issue and their upcoming de-listing and has declined to raise its rates or change the story cap. Should the magazine change its policy to meet SFWA standards, it will be reinstated to our qualifying list. SFWA will still accept stories from this market as qualifying sales up to October 31st, 2016 provided the work was paid at the qualifying rate for the whole piece.
- Chizine **Advisory Warning**
- Cicada (to 12/2019)
- Compelling Science Fiction (to 12/2019)
- Cosmos (Removed 6/2017)
- Crossed Genres – Closed – SFWA will accept stories from 1/2013 through 12/2015.
- Dark Discoveries
- Dark Wisdom
- Dead of Night (1989-1995)
- Dragon (sales are valid through 1/2013)
- Fantastic (1952-1980)
- Fantastic Stories of the Imagination – Closed ( Accepting sales to May 17th, 2017)
- Fantasy Magazine (merged with Lightspeed magazine in 2012)
- Galaxy (1950-1995) Galileo (1976-1980)
- Gothic.net (2/1999 to 2/2003)
- iBooks / Byron Preiss (to 2/2006)
- If (1952-1974)
- Interfictions Online – No Longer Publishing. Accepting sales until 11/2016.
- Interzone (to 4/2006)
- Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine (to 2000)
- Nightbird Unique Magazine (1990)
- Omni Magazine (1979-1995)
- Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show (to 12/2019)
- The Pedestal Magazine (March 2007 to August 2012)
- Postscripts (to 3/2007; only sales at 5c/w or more)
- Pulphouse (1988-1995)
- Realms of Fantasy (through final issue, 2010)
- Redstone Science Fiction
- Science Fiction Age (1992-1998)
- SciFiction / SciFi.com (to 12/2005)
- SFF.Net Darkfire anthology series (through final volume 2002)
- Shadowed Realms (to 4/2007; for sales meeting the $50 minimum sale requirement)
- Speculon (to 2/2003) Starshore (1990-1991)
- Story House Coffee (to 12/2005)
- Subterranean Magazine (through Winter 2014)
- The Third Alternative (to 4/2006)
- Twilight Zone Magazine (1981-1989)
- Unlikely Story (Removed 6/2017)
- Weird Tales (to 12/2004)
- Would That It Were (2000-2006)
- Writers of the Future Anthology (Publications in Anthologies up to August 2018)– Contests Rule Change | SFWA Statement
To qualify a new Qualifying Market, it must be found acceptable to the Membership Committee. In particular, it must satisfy the following criteria for a given date range to qualify for membership purposes:
- Payment for all works of fiction (other than reprints or serializations), either in advance of publication or on publication, at the rate of either (a) at least $3000 for a single work or (b) at least 8¢/word: and
- Must have published consistently for a period of at least one year before the market will be considered qualifying; and
- Must have a print run or circulation of at least 1000 copies, or the equivalent in other media (e.g., demonstrated downloads in electronic media); and
- Is not vanity press or other type of author-paid or fee-charging press, as demonstrated such as (1) by having published at least ten distinct works by different natural persons during the date range; and (2) by authors not having paid or been requested to pay fees or give consideration of any kind.
Any party may request a venue be evaluated (an applicant, the publisher, another author, etc.) but must submit proof that the market meets the criteria. Please submit requests for new markets and evidence of meeting the above criteria via this form.
The SFWA Membership Committee will evaluate the material and add it to the list of qualifying markets if/when it meets the criteria. (Do note that, once qualified, the qualification date will be set back to the earliest date for which the criteria were met; thus, for example, allowing sales during the year in which a market has demonstrated consistent publication, not just from year two onward.)
If you have an older sale, for example to a long-dead market not already listed, please use the market query form. A venue may become disqualified for membership purposes at the discretion of the Membership Committee if it meets the disqualification criteria.