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
Rayner Ye says
Thank you. It’s nice to feel less alone and to not be stabbing in the dark (with the business side of things, anyway.)
I’m not seeing much on this site on exactly what we get with a membership, or the price of said (annual?) membership. I haven’t clicked JOIN, yet, because I want to know more. I am a professional, full time writer of mostly fantasy, and a little SF.
Is there a forum? Or some other means of members having a conversation? Any other benefits?
Craig Martelle says
Go to the About tab and then the Join. There is no fee (at this time). The Forums are behind the member login. Benefits are from a group of like-minded authors who understand their words have value. It’s a balance between business and craft. We have opportunities for anthologies, bundles, newsletter swaps, in addition to the IASFA reader newsletter (in development). The org is one-week old even though I’ve been working on it for nearly a year. There will be plenty of growth, fairly rapidly. Old pros and new (future) all-stars alike are here.
One thing I find curious is this no-simsubs rule that is so prevalent. One time Asimov’s held a story of mine for a year. What could I do about it? I couldn’t send it anywhere else, per the rules. And if I asked to withdraw it, would I burn a bridge? Would they accuse me of doing a simultaneous sub? It’s really predatory on authors, this rule. I haven’t sent a story to Asimov’s since then.
I was talking to a guy who’s got a story at Tor. It’s been there four months, He wants to sell the story to someone else, but he’s got to wait for them to make a decision. And they won’t. So he’s trapped into not selling it. Some people call that catch-and-kill. But it’s the ‘industry standard’ per SFWA not to allow you to submit simultaneously.
These are the bigger issues we should be talking about. Watching out for the interests of writers.
Craig Martelle says
This is a non-issue for indie authors. If you want to play the trad pub game, you play by the trad pub rules. There are much better ways to make a living and they are far more lucrative. Welcome to the Indie Alliance where you hold the keys to your success. For TEU6, I’ve gotten feedback on whether their first 500 words were accepted in less than a week. Welcome to the way an efficient world runs.
Craig Martelle says
The answer there is don’t submit without a hard deadline on a required response. The authors are the ones giving the traditional publishers the power.
I appreciate receiviing the monthly book lists, but have a suggestion. Currently, the email contains images of each book offered, with no other information. Generally, I don’t have the time or desire to click on each cover image to find out what the story line might be. Why not provide either a brief description below each image or as a hover pop-up? I doubt many people select books based on how cool the book cover is (I could be wrong) and an easily accessible summary would be most helpful. Thanks.
Danielle Mathieson Pederson says
I love this group so far and am interested in submitting to a couple different things. Especially the free part of Urban Fantasy in a few days on the 24th of April 2022. Very interested in the forums as well.
However, every time I click on the “Register Now” button on the Join page it takes me to a page that has the title of Sign Up and then a link back to the Homepage and that’s it. I tried two different browsers on my desktop and on my mobile.
Can you help me join please?
Colleen Simpson says
Hey, Danielle – anyone helped you with this one, yet? If not, all I can suggest is hopping on over in the IASFA FB group, and asking if there is a way outside the forums to find technical assistance. And welcome!