Earlier this month, Unlikely Story—a fantastic venue of, well, unlikely speculative fiction—announced they were now a SFWA-qualifying market. This was exciting news for me, as they published my short story “Jump Cut” earlier this year, and I already had two SFWA-qualifying sales under my belt. With three sales, I’m now considered a fully-fledged member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Yay!
This is a huge professional milestone for me for a number of reasons. First off, I primarily consider myself a novelist, so to have my membership based on my short story sales has bolstered my confidence in my craft. Since novels take more time and effort than short stories to develop (at least for me), I’m grateful there are opportunities to engage in the speculative fiction community as a professional even if I haven’t had a novel published yet.
Second, because my novel-length work is often geared toward young adults and contains romantic elements, I felt it important to demonstrate I was capable of writing a wide-range of stories for all ages. Given the tensions in the speculative fiction community over the last few years dismissing women, YA, and stories that don’t necessarily adhere to elements of the Golden Age of SF/F, I wanted my induction into this community to be unassailable. That’s also why I didn’t join SFWA as an associate member when I made my first sale, because I didn’t want to risk being viewed as a one-hit wonder. (Obviously, other writers may feel differently as to when it’s appropriate to join SFWA, but this was my process. As with anything, YMMV.)
Finally, it simply feels good to know I’m creating at a professional level. Each story I’ve had published has been a labor of love, and I’m proud of every one, regardless of what market they ended up at. But joining SFWA has been a goal of mine since I started writing SF/F, and I’m happy I’ve finally achieved it. Doesn’t mean there isn’t more work to do, but I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.
And all this wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t kept submitting “Jump Cut” to markets. I’ve talked before about the submission process, and the time it took for the story to find a home. I was thrilled when it was finally accepted for publication, and knowing it has become my third qualifying sale is just icing on the cake. For me, it is the little short story that could.
So thank you to Unlikely Story, as well as to Crossed Genres Magazine for publishing “Forge and Fledge” and to S.M. Stirling and Roc for including “Against the Wind” in The Change anthology. You have helped me enter a new phase of my career!