An Appeal To The Industry

As you can see from cruising this site, this is an ambitious project meant to fill a very real need in this transitioning art form. The challenges facing the up-and-coming authors of today are larger than any one person can deal with, which is why this effort was started. But as noted before, this is larger than any one person can handle. It calls for a group effort, and who is better equipped to meet this challenge (and to look out for your own best interests in a dynamic art form) than those who have already established themselves? There is so much that needs doing, and that gives YOU plenty of opportunities to make a difference.

Authors - Those of you who made the grade the hard way have been blessed with skill, perseverence, and most especially with amazing Good Fortune. You know this is true, especially with the market as it is today, and now is your chance to pay it forward. I am NOT advocating that you abandon your established careers with the established press: rather, I call on you to pass what you have learned to the new generation to keep the spirit of Speculative Fiction alive and vital. It's a cold, lonely world out there, as I'm sure you remember. There is plenty of new talent wanting only a guiding hand to polish their work and bring it up to a marketable quality. So take it upon yourself to nurture a new author. It's Good Karma, and if Bob Heinlein and Hugo Gernsbach can do it, surely YOU can too.

Small Press Publishers - You are a sorely tried breed, and it is all too easy to lose the big picture, and spend all your time worrying about meeting the bills and finishing the latest edit. But YOU are the future of Spec Fi, and it is in your own best interests to take an active role, rather than waiting for the Great American Novel to drop in your lap. Speak up to support author development efforts. Work with your local Writers' Workshops and Writers' Groups. Explore innovative new marketing and distribution methods, and make them available to your local authors. As busy as you are, you can not afford to sit passively on the sidelines: after all, this is the future of YOUR industry at stake.

Con Writers' Groups - Trust me: I am well aware that organizing and running cons is a unique martyrdom of the Spec Fi community. But while putting on a Writers' Workshop is a huge project, it is not an all-year project. YOU have a pool of talent, and the organization to make it run: why not put that to good use when you aren't actively prepping for the next con? There is a particular need for ongoing new author mentoring. The Writers' Workshop can also serve as a voice in convention planning, outreach to the industry, and new author promotion. Most cons I have seen already do a lot for new authors: it should be a natural to grow those efforts into a powerful year-round author development system. Yours is a unique position in the literary community: put that position to good purpose.

The Secret Masters Of Fandom - You know who you are: the activists, the pundits, the thinkers and doers whose works often go unnoticed, but without whom, the literature would be much the poorer. If any one group is ideally positioned to support the common effort, YOU are it. Use your position and prestige to encourage, to promote, to coordinate, and most of all to add legitimacy to the efforts of those in your community who are willing to act. YOU can make the difference between lost voices crying in the wilderness, and a mighty chorus. If you can't-or won't-do it, who will?

There it is: laid down in black and white for everyone to see. One man can only do so much. This has to be a group effort if we are to do any real, lasting good. I can offer you this forum for planning and action, but YOU have to put it to good use. So speak up; take part; act. Start something, or help someone who does. No matter what specific thing you may do, it all helps. Reach beyond the next movie release or the next room party, and work to promote the Big Picture of Speculative Fiction. Each of us, no matter how little money, energy, or time we may have, can make a contributon to the literature. You would be a poor specimen indeed if you can't offer Something to this art form we all love. It's time to stand up!

With respects and best wishes,

Bob Boyd

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