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August 30th, 2015


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01:04 am - Interesting Possibility - The SFWA & Me
I’ve long considered myself a SF author who writes RPG setting material rather than fiction. After making contact with my college roommate Charles, who is an IP lawyer who does a lot of work with SF authors, who encouraged me to try to join the SFWA, since he thought I’d be eligible. It turns out he was half-right – because of one book I wrote for the Trinity RPG which consisted solely of in-character narrative and contained no rules makes me eligible for Associate Membership, which means I could nominate works for Nebula Awards, but can’t vote for anything. Of course, given that I may be writing at least a few fiction pieces for Aeon and other projects, including possibly for fiction anthologies, which are published separately from the game and would also count for membership. Two more sales of any length that are paid at least 6 cents/words make me eligible for a full Active Membership (ie full voting rights).

Of course, now I need to decide if I wish to join as an Associate Member and if/when I become eligible, I join as an Active Member. On the positive side, the prestige would be nice and definitely pretty darn validating, but is it $80-$90/year worth of prestige, since really my market is entirely separate from the SF&F fiction market, and so joining a professional organization focused on that does seem not all that productive. Voting for the Nebulas would be nifty, and I do have a significant knowledge of both new and old SF, but I’m not certain I belong in the SFWA. I’d love for the SFWA to be more inclusive of RPG authors, because that might be one way to help improve contracts and pay for competent RPG professionals, so that alone might be worth it, except that I’m far from certain that there’s much incentive for most RPG companies to change how they work in even small ways that benefit authors more [[1]]. I’m undecided, and wouldn’t mind some input.

[[1]] As a side note, if you are interested in how and why RPG freelancing is problematic, here are three excellent posts, by long-time RPG freelancer digitalraven on the topic: essay one, and here’s essay two, and lastly, essay three.

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:benlehman
Date:August 30th, 2015 05:41 pm (UTC)
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I would love to see a unionization effort for RPG freelancers, and I think that the SFWA would be great at that, but I also think that it's unlikely to happen due to cultural clash (namely, the geek hierarchy problems.)
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:August 30th, 2015 09:02 pm (UTC)
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the geek hierarchy problems

I honestly think that while this is an issue, it's not a huge one and if it was the only problem, it could be dealt with. The big problem is that freelancers are far too disposable, since there are always more people willing to try. Many of them are flakes with dubious talent, but some aren't, and there are an abundance of them, so any unionization effort would need to deal with people who wanted work and didn't care or who saw anything like a strike as a great way to break into the field.
[User Picture]
From:benlehman
Date:August 31st, 2015 06:15 pm (UTC)
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I think that producing words on the 5 digit scale is not a trivial skill. But we'd see!
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:August 31st, 2015 08:22 pm (UTC)
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True, but there are a lot of people willing to try and more than a few publishers willing to let them. I definitely think experience matters a great deal, but a company who asks for writing samples from inexperienced prospective authors and is then willing rewrite drafts extensively when necessary could keep going in the face of any sort of likely unionization attempt. I don't think their work would be as good or as rapidly and easily produced, but they might well save enough money to make that worthwhile.
[User Picture]
From:benlehman
Date:September 1st, 2015 06:04 pm (UTC)
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You're much closer to the situation than I am, so I'll take your word for it.

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