It’s sometimes hard to explain to people why I would want to belong to this group. Given the ease of communication on line and the plethora of social media, isn’t SFWA sort of stodgy and old-fashioned (like the Kiwanis or the Oddfellows)? I mean, why belong to official groups in the era of the individual?
Personally, I think a group is only as strong as its members. If there’s something the group is doing well, then get in there and help make it stronger. If there’s something the group is doing wrong, then get in there and push for change. It’s a lot easier to stand outside and throw brickbats at a group than it is to make it what you want it to be, after all.
With that in mind, I love being able to say I’m a member of Writer Beware. A.C. Crispin and Victoria Strauss have really done a lot for writers, regardless of what fields they write in, in hunting down and exposing publishers and agents who are “not the best choice” for writers. This applies to writers who’re just starting out and who’ve been in the business for decades. Ann and Vic stay on top of what’s going on in publishing and try to let people know how the winds are shifting on the publishing seas* and I’m proud to say that I’m able to assist them in this job.
When you think you’re ready to send your work out into the wilds of publishing, do yourself a favor and swing by the Writer Beware web site. Remember, writing is an art, but publishing is a business. Make yourself smart about the business and avoid falling into the traps that are out there.
And if you’re a qualifying author, consider SFWA membership. Any organization is only as strong as its membership and without new people joining and pushing for change or introducing new ideas, then perhaps SFWA would devolve into “just another club”. However, I have a hard time believing SF/F authors can’t think up new ideas.
* – a quick pitch for Ann’s Pirates of the Caribbean book “The Price of Freedom“. Check it out if you’re a fan of the franchise.