We just launched a very cool new effort. Here’s the release:
Crowdfunded self-publishing has emerged as a viable and increasingly popular path to creative and financial success for writers, and we continue to develop new initiatives to assist our members in their crowdfunding efforts. Now we are looking to expand our outreach beyond our own membership, to support the field at large.
Beginning in January, SFWA will be making small, targeted pledges to worthy Kickstarter projects projects by non-members, designating them a â€œSFWA Star Project.â€ Projects will be selected by the Self Publishing Committee, coordinated by volunteer Rob Balder. Selections will be based on the projectâ€™s resonance with SFWAâ€™s exempt purposes, and special preference will be given to book-publishing projects in the appropriate genres.
Funds for these pledges will come from the SFWA Givers Fund, from a $1000 pool approved by the Grants Committee in December. When a pledge results in receiving a donor reward such as a signed book, these items will be auctioned off at fundraising events, to help replenish the Givers Fund.
The first two Star Projects are: Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu by Jonathan Green, and Blacktastic: A Podcast of Black Scifi and Fantasy Stories.
As the landscape continues to change, we face the organizational challenge of finding new ways to inform, support, promote and defend writers of fantasy and science fiction. We hope that this kind of outreach and recognition will not only benefit writers, but also help raise awareness of SFWAâ€™s core mission among independent professionals and their readers.
Over the past few years, I’ve been helping with the effort to open SFWA doors to professional writers publishing outside the traditional structure, to the point where we are the only writers organization (I believe) to accept crowdfunded publications as membership qualifying material. The Star Project effort ties in nicely with that and it’s gratifying to see SFWA continue to expand to match the changing needs of professional F&SF writers.
Rob Balder, who initially proposed the project, has been very patient with the way the wheels at SFWA grind exceedingly and tiresomely slowly at times. Speaking of which, I just got the mail this morning confirming our NetGalley account — we’ll be making that available to members who want to use the NetGalley system to put up books for review. That’s also been in the works a while and part of the slowdown has been my own chaotic inbox and a couple of pieces of mail getting lost in there.
Towards the end of next month, you’ll see yet another very cool project unveiled and available to SFWA members. (I am terrible with secrets and throttling back the urge to spill the beans, but I want it to have maximum impact. But so cool, and so far above the original vision that I have HUZZAH written multiple times in my notes for the demo. Are you intrigued? 😉 You should be.)
At the beginning of next month, I’ll be at Kevin J. Anderson’s Superstars seminars as a guest — looking forward to meeting everyone there.
Oh! And one more change while I’m thinking about it. Cynthia Ward is moving her excellent Market Report from the SFWA Bulletin to the SFWA blog, which I think will solve a couple of issues and also make it available on the website.