This is an interesting move, and also a foolish one. WotF has come under attack by SJWs for the last couple of years because of its ties with L. Ron Hubbard, who originally set up the foundation. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a writing contest, where quarterly, amateurs, submit their short fiction and a top three or so get chosen from the thousands of submissions as the winners, who then get featured in their Writers of the Future anthology.
They pay is really good as short stories go, and keeping it to amateurs clearly defined makes it a nice place where writers who don’t have established cred can get their foot in the door. I know several writers of the future winners who all have used it to launch their short story careers. It’s cool because it’s blind submission, so the story really stands on its own, and it’s often judged by top-tier writers like Todd McCaffrey and Kevin J. Anderson. And it actually pays really well. One of my stories actually made their top-level cut just below the prizes, before I earned enough to not be able to qualify for the contest before. It’s a nice barometer for writers to see where their stories are at.
Scientology has really little to do with it, other than the fund for it coming from Hubbard’s foundation. It’s really just a nice thing for writers. But since the people involved aren’t “approved”, SFWA’s been under pressure to do something about it for the last couple of years. In standard, slimy fashion, their statement on the matter doesn’t actually talk about the real reason it’s getting cut — the scientology and literally can’t evening of some vocal SJWs in the field about it — but instead makes a proclamation that it’s because it’s a contest it’s not real.
In my world, money earned from selling a story is money earned from selling a story. It’s just another move down the path of nonsensical moves to keep people out of their club who aren’t on the “approved” list. The movement to start picking and choosing markets based on irrelevant factors is a very frightening move for the already insular group. What if I told you that all anthologies are “contests”. Any time you submit a story it’s a contest to see whether you can get published in it or not whether it’s labeled submission or contest, it’s literally the same thing.
What boggles the mind is they make moves about WotF because of scientology, but they still have Marion Zimmer Bradley’s foundation as an approved list — and she’s a known pedophile. Last I checked, NAMBLA defender Samuel Delaney was still a member as well.
If they’re going to start excluding based on principles, you’d think they’d want to start there. But we saw what happened last year when the subject of pedophilia was brought up to some of their current officers. Instead of condemning the pedophiles, they condemned everyone’s favorite Hispanic author (me) for pointing it out by using my anti-pedophilia stance as a reason to keep me from entering their group, even though I duly qualify. It’s mind boggling.
They really need to shape up if they’re going to have any relevancy in the future. I’m doing my best to try to make changes and I hope when the new officers get elected next year, the writers in SFWA categorically purge this nonsense that’s going on, and SFWA returns to standing for Science Fiction Writers of America, and not their insane political causes. I’ll hold my breath.
But this is why we need someone to Make Science Fiction Fun Again, and why I’ve done just that. You can read my short story collection that definitely wouldn’t be considered a qualifying market by SFWA no matter how much money it makes. Why? Because they want to keep down ideas from independent authors. But they can’t stop you from reading, no matter how much they want to ban my books. Read it here.