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Scalzi on SFWA

Posted on Feb 18, 2008 in Blog, science fiction, writing biz | 1 comment

John Scalzi has a wonderful rant about SFWA and Andrew Burt’s candidacy for president posted on his site. I also like what Charlie Finlay adds in the comments, by describing some of the problems SFWA faces beyond certain candidates themselves. I myself let my SFWA membership lapse this year. It seemed like the organization couldn’t really address, nor was it interested in addressing, a lot of what Charlie outlines. The problems with the Nebula awards are particularly odd, because they seem like such simple things to fix… and yet. In any case, during an earlier stage in my life I decided that when something is dysfunctional, it’s better not...

Science Fiction Magazines Part IV – Starting from Scratch

Posted on Nov 9, 2007 in Blog, writing biz | 15 comments

Okay, I can’t seem to stop thinking about this, so I’m going to beat the dead horse one last time. In the first three posts about Science Fiction magazines:Why Are the “Big Three” Dying?, Marketing in Meatspace, and Online Marketing, I wasn’t explicit about why I was focusing on marketing for the magazines rather than on their content mix. My assumptions were: 1) The editors choose what they like for the magazines, and will be uninterested and in fact probably unable to choose something other than what they currently choose for their content. Gordon Van Gelder, and Sheila Williams, and Stan Schmidt all have their individual tastes, and their...

Science Fiction Magazines Part III – Online Marketing

Posted on Nov 1, 2007 in Blog, Pump Six and Other Stories, writing biz | 13 comments

My sense of the online sphere is that it remains a place of opportunity rather than threat for a print magazine. Over time, this may change, but the internet provides the best place to attract pre-qualified subscribers, to build a relationship with them, and then to convert them to paying subscribers. Unlike direct mail, this is an area where initial sunk costs continue to pay off over time, and where simple changes can have positive ripple effects far down the line. It also seems like the barriers to change are fewer than in completely revamping the way they do direct mail. So, what should the sf magazines be doing...

Science Fiction Magazines Part II – Marketing In Meatspace

Posted on Nov 1, 2007 in Blog, writing biz | 4 comments

More than anything – more than changing demographics, or the advent of new technologies, or the rise of free content – I have a sense that the loss of sf readers for the “big three” markets is actually a failure of marketing and core circulation management practices, not of the sf market as a whole. I just don’t see the big three doing a lot with their current subscriber base and I don’t see them actively reaching out much. On one level this has to do with things like the appearance of their websites, whether they offer exciting subscription enticements, etc (which I’ll go into later). But even more,...

Science Fiction Magazines Part I – Why are the “Big Three” Dying?

Posted on Oct 31, 2007 in Blog, writing biz | 4 comments

There’s been a fair amount of talk about the die-off in the short fiction magazine markets. Interestingly, this is often played as indicating their loss of relevance either generationally (sf market is aging) or else technologically (The internet is where it’s at! All else will crumble and fall before it!) or else in the business model – (free content will triumph over paid content). My perception however is that there are some specific things going on with the major sf magazines that heavily affect their success, and it doesn’t have much to do with the themes above. I’m riffing here based on my experience working at High Country News,...

latest fan mail

Posted on May 22, 2007 in Blog, writing biz | 8 comments

I had the pleasure of receiving this bit of fan mail today: From: Tony Stanley Subject: re: the people of sand and slag ——————————————— fuck you I’ve responded to him, asking him if this is a proposition or an editorial comment, but haven’t heard back...

Dr. Hendrix and the Unfortunate Firestorm

Posted on Apr 20, 2007 in Blog, writing biz | 7 comments

In a pair of posts, the current SFWA V.P. has created a firestorm by calling writers who give away their work online “webscabs” a term that he later regretted using and tried to clarify but which has stained the larger themes he was attempting to touch upon. I actually have a fair amount of sympathy for Dr. Hendrix. Yes, he was rude in the way he couched his concerns and he’s been deservedly pummeled for it, but at root I think he was voicing real concerns and I wish that he had been more effective and less inflammatory when he raised them. Here’s the major offending quote: I’m also...

ficlets for fun… for profit?

Posted on Mar 21, 2007 in Blog, writing biz | 2 comments

So the ever-energetic John Scalzi has started a new gig. Ficlets. Micro fiction that everyone can add on to. It actually looks pretty fun. The sort of communal writing experience that’s missing from a writer’s general daily life. Creative and community. Nifty. But, because I’m not ever-energetic, nor even sort-of-energetic, I’m also looking at ficlets in terms of time sink. I just don’t do that many things that are fun, unless I can see an additional benefit. So if I’m looking to get my name out into a wider world than via blog or short story in a magazine, can ficlets help me do that? Lessee. It’s one or...