From my poll the other day about whether I should join SFWA. It was a good sample size for my audience, which I estimate to be at about 4,000 people overall based on blog clicks/book sales. It’s no bestseller status (yet) but no chump change either in the science fiction and fantasy community, which has decreased over the years to alarming levels, which is partially due to the branding of the genre as a whole, but there is a perception out there for SFWA proper, and it’s a negative one. A full 80% of those who voted told me I should not join. That can’t be good for a business to have that large of a segment even of a niche of the audience so hostile toward it.
As I’m accutely interested in marketing & business development, I’m going to run this as a case study for my own and hopefully for SFWA’s edification.
Most writers aren’t business folk, but I come from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, one of the top business schools in the country, and have studied economics under nobel-laureates through that program. On top of that, I’ve had a fair amount of business success myself in other fields which we don’t need to mix with this writing game. That’s my background, aside from the way I’ve quickly risen in the SF/F field through my debut novel and second release, to where all of the top players know my name at the very least.
Those are my credentials to be going over this.
A lot of people are probably asking, what is SFWA? Great question. It’s the Science Fiction Writers of America. It’s a guild/association/club and it used to represent a large portion of the top talent of the field. In the modern independent era, where indies are now outselling traditional publishing, that doesn’t hold to be true. Several of the best authors out there suare not members of this club and have no desire to be. Why? That certainly changed since the club’s prominence in the late 1970s-1980s.
Our first step will be to identify the problem. As this is a brainstorming session, please leave your own reasons as to why you feel strongly about this club in the comments. It will be helpful for identifying the core issues, and how to resolve them. From what I understand so far:
- The club has a perception as being anti-Christian
- The club has a perception as being anti-Conservative
- The club has a perception as being anti-Male
- The club has a perception as being anti-White
- The club has a perception as being anti-Independent Author
- The list of benefits aren’t directly tangible or easy to quantify — the ask is big for a possibly low return from a business/financial perspective
Did I miss anything in this? What are your perceptions? This will help us for the next part of this case study. If you are interested in the process of how business-minded people work to identify and pinpoint/solve problems, this is a great example for you!