The Stigma of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers (SFWA) & Writer Beware™ on Authors
Confidentially, The Write Agenda™ has recently spoken with agents and publishers who expressed deep concerns about offering to represent or publish writers who are members of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA). Sure it’s going to sound like “McCarthyism” . . . “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the SFWA?” Unfortunately, most of the agents or publishers would not go on the record but for fear of reprisal and have declined direct quotes. Nevertheless, their apprehension speaks very loudly of the steady deterioration of the SFWA’s reputation. There was a time that the SFWA stood for high quality, but that has given way to “bully” tactics, cyber-bulling, lawsuits and threats. It is sad to watch their decline and witness the harm they caused, not only to the trade, but to their own members.
We agree, a new organization that brings together writers in this genre should be re-established since the SFWA, due to the lack of competent leadership (especially that of their President, “No Balls” John Scalzi), appears to be at a point of no return. Any attempt to correct their course is to admit they were on the wrong path. It takes integrity, strength and a great deal of courage to lead in the right direction: John “No Balls” Scalzi has failed the SFWA organization. Unfortunately, there are no heroes in the SFWA story. It’s time to close the book.
The Write Agenda™ is currently doing a voluntary survey of the membership to learn how they think being a member of SFWA has helped them. We really don’t believe that the members understand that at least some of their rejections from traditional publishers stem from their association with the SFWA. In our opinion, it just does not make any sense to associate one’s self with either the SFWA or Writer Beware™ and the like.
We think the big question is, why did the SFWA, and its leadership, allow itself to get involved with this type of nonsense in the beginning? We would venture to say that responsible leadership (are you hearing us “No Balls” Scalzi?) of any organization, upon learning that one of its primary members was bragging that any lawsuits she would be hit with would be taken care of the organization’s insurance company, they would, if for no other reason than to avoid being dropped by their carrier, dis-member her. (Oh! And that member of your’s . . . P.N. Elrod? Yes, her, she indicated that the SFWA has individuals that can “hack” accounts? Seriously? This is why John Scalzi has no balls . . . leadership . . . where is it? It’s not with Scalzi.)
The irresponsible behavior of the SFWA is simply amazing (have you seen a tax return recently? They have not filed one in three (3) years). Many of us loved reading science fiction and had the honor of meeting many of the world’s greatest science fiction authors at the BEA. The Write Agenda™ has spoken with many publishers that had the chance to purchase the rights to science fiction novels. Several loved the works but now they won’t even read the works of these authors because they recommend Yog’s Law and Writer Beware™ on their websites and/or blogs. (Stigma! The Write Agenda™ has warned authors about this previously). It’s such a shame that intelligent writers fail to see this as total nonsense and fail exercise their positions in the Sci-fi community to convince the SFWA to move away from the likes of Victoria Strauss and Ann “A.C.” Crispin.
Numerous agents and publishers have said to The Write Agenda ™ that everything about Sci-Fi leaves a bad taste in their mouths. But, not so bad that, if given the chance and of course financial resources, that someone would start a new and improved “Science Fiction Writers of America Club”, open to both writers and readers. This is something that The Write Agenda ™ would fully support. We also support the reporting of known publishing scams. See The Write Agenda’s™ article: “John Steinbeck Family Defrauded by Writer Beware™ & SFWA Attorney: The 2007 Scam that Writer Beware™ Didn’t Report . . . Why?
We think another point that no one has hit upon is that the information and advice that Victoria Strauss, Ann “A.C.” Crispin and Writer Beware™ has been giving has very little to do with the current marketplace. In the early 2000’s they (Writer Beware™) attacked agents for owning publishing companies; they attacked agents for charging fees; they attacked, well, just about everyone simply because they could! On the surface, they looked like they knew what they were talking about and they had a lot of followers. We’re willing to bet that those who followed Writer Beware’s™ advice are still not published, or have published horrible books. . . . very . . . very … horrible books. Or they, at the very least, discovered the mantra of Writer Beware™ and James D. Macdonald, (i.e. Yog’s Law), simply isn’t and has never been true. All writers pay, in some way, with time and money. This mantra was Writer Beware’s™ and James D. Macdonald’s cornerstone. If Writer Beware™ (i.e. Ann “A.C.” Crispin & Victoria Strauss) admit that the times have changed then they have to acknowledge that the industry in the early 2000’s was rapidly changing and what those in the industry were doing everything necessary to compete. It all goes back to motive . . . and their motive is and continues to be self-serving . . . very . . . very self-serving.
Again, RISE UP WRITERS . . . (Especially Sci-Fi Writers) Boycott Victoria Strauss’ new book and create a new “Science Fiction” authors organization!