Thursday, November 08, 2007

SFWA Forum and Bulletin

I just read the most current issues of the SFWA Forum and Bulletin. There were some issues raised that I think are worth talking about. This blog may have discussed them to death. If so, I apologize for raising them again.

One is what to do about changes in technology and the resulting new kinds of publishing. Is it okay to put work on the Internet for free? What makes a professional these days?

Second is how to respond to the changes in the traditional publishing industry, which make being a midlist writer increasingly difficult. Norman Spinrad calls publishing, especially SF publishing, dysfunctional; and he may well be right. (This ties to point one. As writers find they can't sell to the traditional New York houses, they turn to other outlets.)

Third is the graying for the core readership. In spite of the importance of SF and fantasy ideas in popular culture, people aren't reading SF, it is argued. If this is so, what kind of future do SF writers have?

Finally, there is the fact that most SFWA members don't make a living by writing SF and probably never have. Tom Easton has a graceful essay on this topic in the Bulletin.

Given all this, what is a SF writer? And where are we going from here?

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