SFWA to Admit Game Writers Starting August 1st, 2016

Posted by KathrynBaker

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America to Admit Game Writers

Writers who help create narratives for video games, table-top roleplaying games and card games will be eligible to be admitted to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) following a membership-wide vote. SFWA will start accepting applications for this Active-level type of membership on August 1st, 2016.

“I’m proud to be leading an organization acknowledging the wide range of forms genre writing can take,” said SFWA President Cat Rambo. “I’m also looking forward to the expertise and experience such writers can bring to the organization. “

Games in any medium may be used for qualification so long as the game has a narrative element, is in English, and in the science fiction, fantasy, horror or related genres.

Prospective members working on games may qualify by showing a sale or income in one of three ways:

  1. By making at least one paid sale of a minimum of 40,000 words to a qualified market, or three paid sales to qualified markets totaling at least 10,000 words. Game publishers may be designated as qualified markets using the already established process and criteria used to qualify fiction markets.
  2. 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 (not including game mechanics) 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.
  3. 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, and with credits to no more than two writers clearly shown on the work.

Note that money from crowd-funding campaigns can be used as part or all of the required income once the game has been delivered to backers, but the amount that can be claimed cannot be more than the net income from the number of games produced and delivered to backers (calculated by the number of backers multiplied by the minimum tier which receives a copy of the game.) Work done for salary is not eligible.

For membership questions not answered above, please contact Kate Baker, SFWA Director of Operations, at operations@sfwa.org.

About SFWA

Founded in 1965 by the late Damon Knight, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America brings together the most successful and daring writers of speculative fiction throughout the world.

Since its inception, SFWA® has grown in numbers and influence until it is now widely recognized as one of the most effective non-profit writers’ organizations in existence, boasting a membership of approximately 1800 science fiction and fantasy writers as well as artists, editors and allied professionals. Each year the organization presents the prestigious Nebula Awards® for the year’s best literary and dramatic works of speculative fiction.

For more information, please email pr@sfwa.org


5 Responses

  1. Rob Balder

    Outstanding criteria! Very well thought-out and appropriate. I especially like the crowdfunding rules (how earnings are counted, and requiring that the backers have received their game before the writer becomes eligible).

  2. Michael Zenke

    Can you clarify, please, why work done for salary will not make a writer eligible for inclusion in SFWA? Many games writers on large, well-known franchises are salaried employees. Thanks.

  3. Phil Farkaly

    Why is work done for salary not eligible? I have worked with several talented writers who worked for salary on games that were continuously changed and updated, not unlike the serials of old. Not to mention the hundreds of staff writers on hundreds of SF TV shows who were paid salary to collaborate on scripts, whether they were credited or not. It just seems like a strange exception to me.

  4. Cat Rambo

    We are currently looking at the requirements and readjusting them. Part of the difficulty for the committee was trying to translate our requirements for novelists to reasonable ones for game writers, and this was a decent first effort, which we’re now working on refining and tweaking, based on the feedback we’ve been getting.

  5. Karl Johanson

    Requirement 2 includes, “…over the course of a 12-month period since January 1, 2013.” Does the date requirement apply only to section 2, or to all three requirement sections? An I’m curious why the date restriction at all.