I’m Officially Official!
I was going to post a reaction piece to Star Wars VII, but I’m going to hold off a bit so that more people can see the movie and also for Christmas to pass us by so that more people will be on their computers to actually read it.
I, Auston Habershaw, am now an official active member of the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America). Life goal achieved! Level Up!
Now, what exactly does SFWA membership do for me? Hell if I know. I think I get some say on the Nebula Awards now. I get to have access to (another) online writing forum, but this one for big shots. Maybe.
All that, though, is kinda secondary to me. I mean, yeah, I hope I can glean tangible benefits and advance my career with this move, but I see it more as a milestone right now – a trophy I have sought for many years and now, after much work and rejection and so on, I have earned it. It’s official – I am a professional writer.
Now, I’m well aware that I didn’t need to join SFWA to be a professional writer. I already was – I have novel(s) out, stories being published in major markets, won a fairly major award for my writing, and so on. There is something, though, to having that certificate of authenticity. It’s a feather in my cap, and new entry on my CV – a token of recognition. Those are hard to come by in the writing world. Even though I’ve had, by all accounts, great success this past year (and my, what a writing year it’s been!), there have been many times I’ve felt invisible and ignored by the broader SF/F world. I’m out here on my little digital island, throwing messages in bottles, and even though I know the bottles are doing well, it is so rare that they come back to you. The Writers of the Future Awards was great in that way. This, also, is great in that same way. The pros have spoken – I get the secret handshake into their club. Yay me!
Also, thanks to my story up on Escape Pod, “Adaptation and Predation,” I’ve received fan mail for the first time ever. This is also great! More ammunition against my nagging Impostor Syndrome! People out there enjoyed the story enough to drop me a line and tell me so! Wow!
To some of you reading this, I guess this might come across as me bragging. I can see that. The me of just five years ago might have read a post like this and rolled my eyes and said “Pshhh – that guy’s got a book deal and awards and such. Like his ego needs any more stoking!” That, though, is the big secret of the publishing industry: everybody needs a pat on the back from time to time. Sure, you sell a novel and you’re floating with the clouds, but a year later, when nobody seems to have noticed your book came out and you’re realizing you have more to do and oh-my-god what if the next one bombs or what if this last book was such a flop that nobody would ever want to talk to you again, you start to realize that the anxiety and loneliness of the publishing industry isn’t the result of you selling or not selling books. It’s just how it is. All of us, from the top all the way to the bottom of that big barrel we call the SF/F world, are all worried and hoping we’re doing good work and anxious about our futures as writers. It’s just the way it works.
So, in keeping with the spirit of the season, if you have a favorite author whose books you love, shoot them a Tweet or drop them a line somehow and tell them you appreciate them. If you read a book or story and liked it, leave a review in the venue of your choice. They’ll notice, and their day will be brighter for it, whether they be the newest kid on the block or a pillar of the genre. Everybody likes to feel official.