Why did I start this organization, buying a domain and building a web presence? For the simple reason that in my opinion, professional organizations were hurting their members more than helping them. My idea of a professional is one who sells stories, whether short or long, and that they can repeat that process. I wanted an organization that was focused on helping science fiction and fantasy authors reach more fans. Period. Since one of those didn’t exist, I started my own.
I run the 20Booksto50k(R) Facebook group. As of April 2020, we have over 39,000 members, authors at all different stages in their careers. Many have not yet published a book. I have no doubt there are some incredible storytellers out there. The old way of finding an agent to solicit legacy publishers for slots to publish a book are closed for most, regardless of the quality of the storyteller. That’s not a strike on traditional publishing. They built the world of readers in our genre that we see today. But their business model has suffered for many years and the Coronavirus Pandemic may have driven a nail into their coffins. I hope not. The world needs brick & mortar bookstores which means the world needs the burdensome process that sends them books.
But people will change with time. B&N may not recover from this, so the legacy publishing approach may be moot. They may have to shift. Or the authors bail. Timothy Zahn just published his first indie title, Ghost Riders in the Sky. I think that’s pretty cool. Dipping his toe into the indie water with a novella. Only a few days after publication, it’s Amazon rank (it is exclusive and available in Kindle Unlimited) is at 5913. That’s where many mortals hang out in the book ranks. Not bad for a first effort, but word will get out. And then it will sell and keep selling. It’s a good story.
And that’s what this group is about. How can we help each other be more professional? There’s a member section for those who are already selling books. And there’s the public side of this page for newer authors and readers alike. In my opinion, to be a great SFF author, you need to be a great reader, not just of SFF, but of disparate genres where you can see and learn techniques that compel a reader to keep reading. If you give a reader a chance to stop reading your book, that reader may never pick it up again. See what that looks like and don’t do it in your books.
Once you’ve written a good book, put on your business hat and get to work. It’s not hard. You can commit as much or as little time and money as you want to it. You are responsible for your own success, but you don’t have to stab in the dark. We’ll populate this site with all kinds of things that can help you move forward in your career.
Onward and upward. We’ll have to put together a tutorial for how this site works to make sure that our new members (you have to apply) can make it work for them.
Peace, fellow humans