My Platform Shoes Give Me Nosebleeds

I have officially entered the race for President of the Science Fictions and Fantasy Writers of America. I’ve posted my platform in the Member Discussion Forums but since that is limited to members only (and members who can actually remember what their login is, to boot) I am reposting it here.

Dear Members of SFWA

I am running for SFWA President for the 2013-14 term.

I have been an active member of this organization for over 30 years, serving on its board of directors as a regional director in the 1980s. I believe this organization has been an invaluable asset to my writing career and I want it to continue to positively affect writers’ careers in the years to come.

We have come a long way from the days when Jack Chalker’s cat threw the organization into chaos by laying in a box that contained our entire membership roster and pushing assorted note card records out of the box to fall behind his filing cabinet. We have become not just an organization for professional writers but a professional organization for working writers.

My short-term goals are the completion of the incorporation plans already approved by the membership and already 98% done by the current board. The Operations Policy and Procedure Manual is another underway project that is critical to SFWA’s progress. Far too often, in the past, the good work of previous boards was undone, as new officers kept reinventing the wheel.

I am not interested in reinventing the wheel. I am not interested in sweeping changes. I like the direction we are generally headed and it is my intention to work with the existing board. I am for building consensus among the officers and members. I am for the ongoing efforts to improve the careers of working writers in an industry that is undergoing substantial changes.

This is not to say I don’t have an agenda of my own.

I am interested in examining current industry practices that are affecting reversion of rights. With the advent of eBooks in the publishing mix, what is out-of-print? What do current reversion clauses look like industry wide? Are they, in effect, tying up rights in perpetuity? This issue calls for exploration and discussion at the very least.

If there is a radical spoke to my campaign wheel, it is my desire to form an exploratory committee to examine a future event: a time where we may see the need to admit active members who do not currently fit our current membership requirements. What exactly is a professional writer? We have our membership definitions but we are now seeing writers not just making money, but making good livings without traditional publishing deals. While the time to change our membership requirements may not be here yet, I believe that it’s time to start thinking and talking about this.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with me:

  • I sold my first fiction to Analog in 1979 so I’ve been writing professionally for over 34 years.
  • I’ve been nominated for the Hugo twice and the Nebula once for my short fiction. I’m the recipient of the Hal Clement Award for YA Science Fiction for my second novel, Wildside.
  • I have published eight solo novels with Tor Books as well as one collaboration with my spouse, writer Laura J. Mixon. My first novel Jumper was loosely adapted into the 2008 movie of the same name with Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Jaimie Bell and Rachel Bilson. My books have been published in over 17 countries. I have been on the New York Times bestseller list (once.)
  • I publish the eBook editions of my first five novels myself and am fully familiar with the advantages and pitfalls of “Indie” publication.
  • I’ve been a full-time writer many times over my career, including the past 7 years.
  • For the past 13 years I’ve taught at Viable Paradise, the genre workshop on Martha’s Vineyard.
  • I will be 58 by the time of the election, am in good health, and have a 4th degree black belt in Aikido. (In other words, I really know how to fall down. In the words of the song, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, You’re never gonna keep me down.”)

I would appreciate your vote.

Steven Gould

“It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously.”

Sir Peter Ustinov 1921-2004

Edited to fix my conflation of Samuel R Delaney and Samuel L Jackson.

17 thoughts on “My Platform Shoes Give Me Nosebleeds

  1. Hey Steven! I am thrilled to hear you are throwing your hat in the ring, and I applaud your platform, particularly as a writer currently unable to qualify for SFWA under current guidelines for the reasons you stated above. If I could, I would vote for you!

  2. Sounds like a good platform, Steven. I would seriously consider rejoining SFWA under a Gould administration. Best of luck with the campaign.

  3. I’m really happy you are doing this. You are a person of great integrity, and a deep desire to make things better for your fellow writers. You’ve got my vote. Go, Steve!

  4. Thank-you, Mary, Cory, Lizzy Sensei, Ellen, Sean, and Stina. I’m a bit overwhelmed by the support I’ve received publicly and privately.

    (The Lurkers support me in email!)

    For now I’m just going to pretend their aren’t howls of outrage someplace I can’t see.

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