Writing in Public, Too: Day 19 - almost better, and SFWA for indies?

writinginpublicI was still a mess all morning. Fever on and off in patches, and TIRED. Couldn't keep my eyes open for more than an hour or so at a clip. The poor kids: having to deal with both parents laying sick in bed these past few days hasn't been all giggles for them, either. Although to their credit they have managed pretty well! Somewhere in the middle of that haze, work called me asking about tomorrow, and I said no, passing medications to patients when only semi-coherent sounded like an especially bad plan. They concurred, so I am off tomorrow. By Monday, when I am due back next, I ought to be in decent shape again. LOTS of rest ahead this weekend. By late afternoon I was starting to return to some semblance of functioning. I managed a quick stop by the local store for a couple of essentials - milk, eggs, mac & cheese, stuff like that. Enough to tide us over a couple of days. Oh, and cat food. Can't have the cat deciding to eat toes while we sleep or something. Our cat's name is Azrael, Angel of Death. Angel of Death kitty would totally eat our toes if we failed to feed him.

He's "Azzy" for short.

Home from store, made a quick and not especially inspiring dinner: hot dogs and mac for kids and I, canned spaghetti and meatballs for Susan (comfort food for her). Not eating as well as I ought, but still eating.

Back upstairs after dinner, did some work on cleaning out my email inbox, which was starting to grow fur and make growling noises. Apologies for anyone I've been late getting back in touch with! Had a nice catch-up chat with a friend, too.

By then, it was time for the kids to get to bed, and Susan and I watched an episode of our show; we hadn't had the energy to do that for days, so it seems we're both on the mend. She fell asleep shortly after, and I read about the whole SFWA/indie thing (more on that later), and got a little writing done. Not a lot; but something. Hoping to have a banner weekend here and get a little caught up!

Off to bed after this post.

 

SFWA and Indies

SFWA is the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. They're THE big trade org for writers of science fiction and fantasy. I heard about them when I first started writing things - back in the 70s, when I was a kid. So naturally, I've always sort of been interested in joining. I mean, it's a group of writers who like writing the same stuff I like to write. What's NOT to like about that? ;)

But they have always had entrance requirements: either three short stories to markets which qualify (basically any pro-rate paying SF/F magazine) or one novel with an advance over $2000 to a list of qualifying publishers. My writing credits are a sort-of co-credit on a nonfiction book, a scattering of short stories to assorted low paying markets, and a bunch of indie published fiction. It's a decent (and growing) body of work, but NONE of it works toward SFWA membership.

Except it seems they are considering changing their requirements, like the RWA (Romance Writers of America) did last year. The new SFWA president campaigned on a platform of letting indies in, and is working on following through with that. A committee has been formed to work on the problem, and the general feel I am getting from things is that SFWA as a whole WANTS indie writers in, and is planning to let them in as full/equal members. Which is pretty cool. In fact, some of the committee members have started asking in various places what indies would like to see from SFWA, to make membership worth the $90 a year fee.

This is pretty cool stuff. As any long term readers know from my past posts, 2012 saw self published ebooks take about half of the science fiction and fantasy ebook top hundred bestselling slots. Since ebooks are sitting at close to 50% of the sales for fiction in the US, that means self published books represent at least 20% of unit sales of SF&fantasy (print and ebook). Not a majority, sure, but nothing to sneeze at. The indie presence is only growing. Having such a large percentage of successful professional SF&F writers not allowed to join the premier SF&F writers' organization threatens to undermine the validity of that organization... And threatens to split the writers into two camps (if an indie parallel to SFWA were created) which really doesn't help anyone. Indies would need to re-invent the wheel with a new org. SFWA would lose out on all those writers, and the fresh energy and information about the indie scene that they could bring to the group. Let's face it: in the not so distant future, MOST writers will be self publishing at least some of their work. Backlist, if nothing else. There's nobody more knowledgeable about that subject than successful indie writers, so bringing that information into SFWA helps current members, too.

So, what would I like to see from SFWA, to convince me to join? Basically:

1) Reasonable (i.e. comparable to traditional publishing method) requirements for membership.

2) Equal membership. No "indie ghetto". Qualified writers qualify, period.

3) Keep all the good support for the traditional publishing route. I'm not against the idea of slinging a few books that way myself. Hybrid is a great way to go, and I think it will stay that way for quite some time.

4) Use the "oomph" of mass membership to protect indie writers the way the org protects trad pub writers. SFWA did a great job shooting down the Hydra debacle earlier this year. LOVED seeing that. And if retailers start pulling similar crap for indie writers, having the major writers' organizations all ready to say "um, no" wouldn't be a bad thing.

5) Mostly, be a community of co-supporting writers who all enjoy writing the same stuff. I mean, RWA members all gush about their group, and with good reason. The RWA has local chapters who are highly supportive of their writers. They have regular get-togethers at a local level. They have meetings, with classes. More experienced writers help novices along. Advice is offered. Technique is taught. Support of each other is a big piece of why that group works. Now, I'm not a SFWA member, but it seems to me like that sort of thing is certainly within the realm of reason for SFWA, too. ;)  Even if it's all online instead of local, a co-supporting community is a powerful asset.

 

Could indie writers do all this themselves? Couldn't indies just make their "own SFWA", and run it? Well, sure. But to mix metaphors, why throw out the baby with the bathwater AND reinvent the wheel at the same time? The experience of SFWA members is a valuable asset, and they already have a good framework in place that's stood the test of time. If SFWA wasn't willing to bring folks in, I could certainly see indie writers forming their own SF&F group. But if they are, I don't see any reason to turn aside from membership there. In fact, I see the two groups - professional indie writers and the current professional trad pub SFWA membership - as complementary and useful to each other.

 

This is good stuff. I'm glad to see it on the horizon, and hope things work out well. I see a lot of potential benefit to both groups from this sort of cross-pollination.

 

Totals for Day 19

Daily Fiction Wordcount: 500 words    Month to date fiction: 22900 words

Daily Blog Post Wordcount: 1286 words    Month to date blog posts: 11536 words