New SFWA Rules

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New SFWA Rules

Postby ThomasKCarpenter » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:11 pm

And a great crying out was heard as dozens of WOTF entries pro'd out.

http://www.sfwa.org/2015/02/sfwa-welcomes-self-published-small-press-authors/

Seriously though, once we get clarification from Joni, this may be the end for quite a few of us.
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:21 pm

ThomasKCarpenter wrote:And a great crying out was heard as dozens of WOTF entries pro'd out.

http://www.sfwa.org/2015/02/sfwa-welcomes-self-published-small-press-authors/

Seriously though, once we get clarification from Joni, this may be the end for quite a few of us.


Maybe. Contest rules and SFWA rules don't line up precisely. They don't count flash, for example, and their definition of novelette is roughly SFWA's definition of novella.
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby LDWriter2 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:32 pm

Well, I think I will still be okay.
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby Strycher » Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:28 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
ThomasKCarpenter wrote:And a great crying out was heard as dozens of WOTF entries pro'd out.

http://www.sfwa.org/2015/02/sfwa-welcomes-self-published-small-press-authors/

Seriously though, once we get clarification from Joni, this may be the end for quite a few of us.


Maybe. Contest rules and SFWA rules don't line up precisely. They don't count flash, for example, and their definition of novelette is roughly SFWA's definition of novella.


What Martin said. I doubt this will change much for the contest. They seem to like to keep people eligible for as long as possible.

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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby s_c_baker » Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:44 am

I'm very happy about these new rules, which I hope will help break down some of the taboos about self-publishing. But I'm thinking Q2 this year will probably be my last quarter entering.

or a total of 10,000 words of short fiction paid at 6 cents a word for Active membership

I have (currently) a total of 9200 words sold at roughly the 6 cents mark:

“Raising Words” - Penumbra eZine, July 2013 (1200 words at then-SFWA-qualifying 5cpw)
“Oubliette” - Flash Fiction Online, April 1 2014 (1000 words at 6cpw)
“Little More than Shadows” - Daily Science Fiction, November 18 2014 (750 words at 6cpw)
“Fugue in a Minor Key” - Galaxy’s Edge, forthcoming (5400 words at 6cpw)
“Configuring Your Quantum Disambiguator” - Nature Magazine’s “Futures”, goes live today at 10:30am PST (850 words at 15cpw)

Even if Joni doesn't count flash, and even if the rules don't change from what they are now, it's starting to feel like cheating. Or, well, it would feel like cheating if I ever got more than a flat rejection these days. wotf019

On the other hand, hey--cool! I almost qualify for SFWA now! And hopefully will later in the year--I have a few pending submissions, and now that the bar has been dropped again for flash (which is most of what I write that's salable) I should be able to get those last 800 words some time soon.
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby ThomasKCarpenter » Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:34 am

Well, it'll be weird if they keep the rules the way they are, because I easily qualify for SFWA. On short fiction, the previous stipulation was that the market had to be SFWA approved, but the way they've opened up the criteria (which makes sense) would qualify me right away. And then, on the rules for novel length material, I'm pushing against the current WOTF rules as it is. If they adopt any of the SFWA wording, then I'm easily out on multiple books.

Either way, it'll be weird to be SFWA qualified (a professional writer's organization) but eligible to submit to the contest (an amateur competition). I'm sure Joni will give us guidance at some point (with the eye on keeping people eligible for the contest).
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby E.CaimanSands » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:13 am

s_c_baker wrote:I'm very happy about these new rules, which I hope will help break down some of the taboos about self-publishing. But I'm thinking Q2 this year will probably be my last quarter entering.

or a total of 10,000 words of short fiction paid at 6 cents a word for Active membership

I have (currently) a total of 9200 words sold at roughly the 6 cents mark:

“Raising Words” - Penumbra eZine, July 2013 (1200 words at then-SFWA-qualifying 5cpw)
“Oubliette” - Flash Fiction Online, April 1 2014 (1000 words at 6cpw)
“Little More than Shadows” - Daily Science Fiction, November 18 2014 (750 words at 6cpw)
“Fugue in a Minor Key” - Galaxy’s Edge, forthcoming (5400 words at 6cpw)
“Configuring Your Quantum Disambiguator” - Nature Magazine’s “Futures”, goes live today at 10:30am PST (850 words at 15cpw)

Even if Joni doesn't count flash, and even if the rules don't change from what they are now, it's starting to feel like cheating. Or, well, it would feel like cheating if I ever got more than a flat rejection these days. wotf019

On the other hand, hey--cool! I almost qualify for SFWA now! And hopefully will later in the year--I have a few pending submissions, and now that the bar has been dropped again for flash (which is most of what I write that's salable) I should be able to get those last 800 words some time soon.


Eh? What? I was about to say yup, this is good news, and congrats Stewart, but for myself I'm nowhere near qualifying even for a free chicken tika masala. But then I noticed you'd put your Penumbra sale on the list. So they're going to backdate sales to non-SFWA markets at then SFWA rates? If that's so, maybe I'll qualify for associate membership at least, I guess I should pay attention. wotf006

I shouldn't imagine I'll join though even if I do qualify. I'll wait until/if I get the full membership. Or at least until I win WotF. wotf004 Don't hold the door open for me.

Clearly I'm lagging behind on my bid for SFWA membership but I'm not too worried, there seem to be good reasons for it other than that I'm an awful writer. wotf019 For a start I've only got four stories under 4000 words still out on submission--I seem to have forgotten how to write short ones. My best one of these four (the one that got personals from Asimov's and Analog) has been stuck at AE for 150 days (sob). I've had confirmation its being considered though which is something, but sooner or later I'll just have to give up and send it elsewhere.

And then there's the issue of being a woman writer of hardish SF. Worse, a British woman writer of SF. wotf019 Such creatures have never really existed. Not sure why. Nina Allen has had some success in recent years but not sure there's anyone else. Don't ask me why, I have no clue, I'm not interested in getting into debates on the matter.

Fortunately I'm not too worried about my apparent lack of success. Despite my latest R, I seem to be making progress with WotF even though I clearly don't live on the same planet as David. wotf019 KD was at least a woman, she seemed to like my stuff more. I'm not the sort of person who leaps up and down claiming sexism or anti-Britishness or whatever, I think it's more simply a matter of cultural differences, differences of taste. No doubt if there were hoards of British women sci fi editors out there I could submit to, I'd be doing rather better. wotf006

It's maybe significant that I sold my first story to Cat Sparks, an Australian woman. I sold my second story to Canada. It could be there's something about British women writers that US readers can't abide. How many current British writers in any genre can you name? A question for my American friends. J.K. Rowling, obviously. And?
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby s_c_baker » Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:26 pm

Whoops, never mind on Penumbra. I forgot it was never SFWA-qualifying!

My understanding of the SFWA rules is that they are retroactive. So if I sold a story in 2012 to a qualifying market at 5cpw, that still counts towards SFWA membership even if the current rate is 6cpw.

It's maybe significant that I sold my first story to Cat Sparks, an Australian woman.

That was my first real paying sale, as well. wotf007

How many current British writers in any genre can you name?

Most of the ones that come to me are dead. (Iain M. Banks! wotf005 )

I'm probably not the target for that question, though, since I'm transatlantic in upbringing and citizenship. wotf004
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby E.CaimanSands » Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:09 pm

s_c_baker wrote:
How many current British writers in any genre can you name?

Most of the ones that come to me are dead. (Iain M. Banks! wotf005 )



Oops, I meant to say how many current (ie. not dead) British women writers can you name. I was about to point out that Iain M. Banks was a man, Stewart, (as well as, alas, being dead) but then realized the fault was mine. wotf019 I'm sure folks here can name a few British male writers who are still breathing (just about).
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby Muri McCage » Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:23 pm

Yes, it is indeed weird to qualify as a pro writer, but still be eligible for WotF. I've been hovering in that strange position for some time now. I had a story in mind for the James White contest...and then I got to the part where it said three stories sold makes a writer ineligible. My three Strange New Worlds (VII, VIII, and 10) sales made me technically a pro, but still eligible for WotF.

Quite a bit of my original SF could be called hard literary science fiction. I think that's a reason I get some amazing comments from amazing places about my writing and stories, without tipping over to sales. I can be a little too literary for SF markets and a little too hard for litmags. The whole situation is gratifying and frustrating at the same time.
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby E.CaimanSands » Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:32 pm

Muri McCage wrote:
Quite a bit of my original SF could be called hard literary science fiction. I think that's a reason I get some amazing comments from amazing places about my writing and stories, without tipping over to sales. I can be a little too literary for SF markets and a little too hard for litmags. The whole situation is gratifying and frustrating at the same time.


Yes, I think my fiction often just doesn't fit the markets. Partly that's because I'm all over the place. Of my four sales they've ranged from serious hardish SF to humourous fantasy.I've had personal "send more" type rejections from everywhere from Analog to Clarkesworld, two markets that surely aren't very alike. In other words I don't have a consistent "voice" yet (if I ever get one).

Then I write things like humourous superhero fiction and who the heck publishes that? wotf019 Often I get comments that complain that my story is just not the sort of thing they publish.

And when I'm writing hard SF I suspect all the more obviously "feminine" markets probably don't think I'm feminine enough, whereas all the more "male" markets probably find me not male enough. wotf019 My hard SF (ie. with hard SF settings), tends to have romance and politics in it rather than technical problems or military nonsense.

We should try YA, or romance, or mystery, Nice E.

You're probably right, Gator. But how boring is that? And you, romance? Pfft! I'd like to see that.

I'd be great at it. wotf007

No, you wouldn't, you really wouldn't. And YA? You hate teenagers.

Not true. They're great with barbeque sauce! wotf006
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby s_c_baker » Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:45 pm

I e-mailed Joni to see what she says. Will let you all know when she responds if she says I can share. wotf007
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby george nik. » Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:39 am

E.CaimanSands wrote:How many current British writers in any genre can you name? A question for my American friends. J.K. Rowling, obviously. And?


Well, I'm not American, but I will play anyway.
So you mean women British writers, not dead and not called J.K.Rowling. And I guess I have to answer without googling it. wotf005

Well, there's you of course wotf007

And Deborah Walker.
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby E.CaimanSands » Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:59 am

george nik. wrote:
E.CaimanSands wrote:How many current British writers in any genre can you name? A question for my American friends. J.K. Rowling, obviously. And?


Well, I'm not American, but I will play anyway.
So you mean women British writers, not dead and not called J.K.Rowling. And I guess I have to answer without googling it. wotf005

Well, there's you of course wotf007



Thanks! wotf006 But not sure I count. wotf001
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby LDWriter2 » Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:05 am

george nik. wrote:
E.CaimanSands wrote:How many current British writers in any genre can you name? A question for my American friends. J.K. Rowling, obviously. And?


Well, I'm not American, but I will play anyway.
So you mean women British writers, not dead and not called J.K.Rowling. And I guess I have to answer without googling it. wotf005

Well, there's you of course wotf007

And Deborah Walker.



I think I will join in with this:

Does it have to be British or do Irish count too? Or those born in the British Isles but now live elsewhere?
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby s_c_baker » Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:06 am

Joni replied to my e-mail and says they will be stick to the current rules for now as to what counts towards contest disqualification.

Since SFWA is dropping it's "qualifying markets list" altogether (I believe) with their new rules, presumably that means the contest rules will actually be what they say on the rules page, and not "three sales to SFWA-qualifying markets." But that's speculation on my part.
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby E.CaimanSands » Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:35 am

LDWriter2 wrote:
george nik. wrote:
E.CaimanSands wrote:How many current British writers in any genre can you name? A question for my American friends. J.K. Rowling, obviously. And?


Well, I'm not American, but I will play anyway.
So you mean women British writers, not dead and not called J.K.Rowling. And I guess I have to answer without googling it. wotf005

Well, there's you of course wotf007

And Deborah Walker.



I think I will join in with this:

Does it have to be British or do Irish count too? Or those born in the British Isles but now live elsewhere?


Well, southern Irish isn't British but Northern Irish is. wotf007
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby Ishmael » Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:00 am

I may not have too much trouble naming living British female writers, especially since Evelyn Hood presented me with the prize for winning the Falkirk Festival Short Story Competition last year, Janet Paisley was a judge the first time I ever entered at the festival and Kath Hardie has been a frequent source of helpful advice. Now living British female Hard SF writers are more tricky.

I will confess that I once so despaired of getting literary agents to read my stuff that I tried calling myself Philippa just to see if that worked. (It didn't.) And I certainly write hard SF. But maybe it doesn't count if you also have a beard?

But on the other hand I don't have an alligator, I have a mastiff whose name is Clyde. wotf008
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby E.CaimanSands » Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:21 am

I don't think there are that many well known British women writers. Ruth Rendell is still alive (one of my favourite writers).
Hillary Mantell.
I was going to say Ellis Peters but I just Googled, and she's long dead it seems. wotf005
PD James died recently.
Zadie Smith is young and alive. Huzzah! wotf024
Jacqueline Wilson.

So, a few there. wotf017
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby E.CaimanSands » Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:27 am

s_c_baker wrote:Joni replied to my e-mail and says they will be stick to the current rules for now as to what counts towards contest disqualification.

Since SFWA is dropping it's "qualifying markets list" altogether (I believe) with their new rules, presumably that means the contest rules will actually be what they say on the rules page, and not "three sales to SFWA-qualifying markets." But that's speculation on my part.


The rules say: "The Contest is open only to those who have not professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium. Professional publication is deemed to be payment of at least six cents per word, and at least 5,000 copies, or 5,000 hits."

I'm wondering now what the print run and hit rates are of many of the small press markets out there. wotf005

The James White Award will need to clarify its rules too. It currently says: "For the purposes of this competition a “professional author” is defined as one who is eligible for active membership of the Science Fiction Writers of America – that is a writer with three short story sales to qualifying markets or one novel sale to a qualifying market." And, "A full list of qualifying markets can be found at the SFWA website. We make one addition to that list, which is Interzone."
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby s_c_baker » Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:50 am

James White Award will definitely need to revisit its rules. :)

(Actually, given that the rules for SFWA qualification are no longer "three short story sales" but "10,000 words" even right now, their rules are already outdated.)
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby Ishmael » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:05 pm

The SFWA list to which the James White award rules made reference was still available for consultation when I checked earlier today. I seem to have cunningly avoided such markets with my sales since I entered the competition. Mind you, given my track record with Interzone we may entertain doubts as to whether the effective outcome of disqualification would be distinguishable from the norm.

What I do find irritating is that even if I managed to qualify for SFWA membership I still wouldn't qualify to enter the BBC short story competition because I'm lacking a UK sale. Now of course it would help if there was a UK market for SF. Of course there is Interzone (see above etc etc ad infinitum).
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby E.CaimanSands » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:56 pm

Ishmael wrote:
What I do find irritating is that even if I managed to qualify for SFWA membership I still wouldn't qualify to enter the BBC short story competition because I'm lacking a UK sale. Now of course it would help if there was a UK market for SF. Of course there is Interzone (see above etc etc ad infinitum).


Oops. You need a UK sale to enter the BBC competition? I was planning on trying that one, it would have been my first try at the Beeb. But if you need a UK sale, well, I guess I need to head back to the Subs Grinder. wotf005
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby Ishmael » Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:09 am

E.CaimanSands wrote:
Ishmael wrote:
Oops. You need a UK sale to enter the BBC competition? I was planning on trying that one, it would have been my first try at the Beeb. But if you need a UK sale, well, I guess I need to head back to the Subs Grinder. wotf005


2. ELIGIBILITY
2.1 The Award is open to British nationals and UK residents, aged 18 years or over on the submission deadline (Wednesday 25 February 2015) only, who have a prior record of publication in creative writing in the United Kingdom (see clause 2.8). Proof of nationality and/or residency may be requested of shortlisted writers.


2.8 The author must have a prior record of publication in creative writing in the United Kingdom. This means the author must previously have had a work or works of prose fiction, drama or poetry published by an established UK publisher (including e-book publication as well as printed), or an established printed magazine or newspaper in the UK, or have been broadcast by a UK National broadcaster. The prior record of publication must be the sole work of the author and not written as part of a writing team.
2.8.1 For the avoidance of doubt, ‘established UK publisher’ means a publishing house that publishes a list of titles by different authors, that produces titles with an ISBN and sells them in pounds sterling, and that distributes them through established retail outlets.
2.8.2 For the avoidance of doubt, ‘established printed magazine or newspaper’ means a periodical that is printed regularly (at least annually) that has been in circulation for at least the past 12 months, has an ISBN or ISSN number and is not self-published.
2.8.3 For the avoidance of doubt, ‘a UK National broadcaster’ means a national radio station or television channel.


http://www.booktrust.org.uk/usr/library/documents/prize-downloads/bbcnssa_2015_with_-booktrust_entry_instructions_and-_terms__conditions_final.pdf

I know. Isn't that irritating? And us so good too! wotf016
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby T. R. Napper » Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:37 am

E.CaimanSands wrote:
It's maybe significant that I sold my first story to Cat Sparks, an Australian woman. I sold my second story to Canada. It could be there's something about British women writers that US readers can't abide. How many current British writers in any genre can you name? A question for my American friends. J.K. Rowling, obviously. And?


This is derailing the thread I think so I'll try not to go on too much. Two quick points: first, kudos on the sale to Cat, she's awesome, but very tough.

Second, many experienced Australian pro writers and editors have told me that if you want to sell to US mags, it helps your chances if you have US characters or settings. Personally, I simply won't do that.

With the with exception of WotF, my five other sales have only been to UK mags (Interzone) or Australian ones, so maybe there is some truth to it. But this is a very small sample so barely worth raising. The more credible evidence for me comes from the Australian pros, many of whom bend their work towards a US audience.
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby T. R. Napper » Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:50 am

There appears to be a lack of clarity with the new SFWA rules on what is a SFWA market and what isn't. My understanding is they are yet to produce a final version of the new criteria.

However, when they do, I hope WotF adopts the new definition for determining 'pro' writers. There's been a lot of ambiguity around the eligibility requirements for WotF recently, and for the good of the competition, I feel it needs to be completely transparent about who is eligible and who isn't.
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby s_c_baker » Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:52 am

T. R. Napper wrote:There appears to be a lack of clarity with the new SFWA rules on what is a SFWA market and what isn't. My understanding is they are yet to produce a final version of the new criteria.

However, when they do, I hope WotF adopts the new definition for determining 'pro' writers. There's been a lot of ambiguity around the eligibility requirements for WotF recently, and for the good of the competition, I feel it needs to be completely transparent about who is eligible and who isn't.

They haven't put out the new rules yet, yeah. Just made an announcement that they're going to. wotf008

I agree with you for what it's worth, and that is part of why I'll likely stop submitting after Q2 of this year.

T. R. Napper wrote:Second, many experienced Australian pro writers and editors have told me that if you want to sell to US mags, it helps your chances if you have US characters or settings. Personally, I simply won't do that.

Historically I think this is true. These days, I'm not sure it's quite so clear-cut. Look at the recently released F&SF cover: http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/0 ... pril-2015/

There are also plenty of excellent magazines with a more international focus (e.g. Shimmer, Lightspeed, Clarkesworld)--even if the traditional big three digest magazines might be lagging behind the curve a bit in terms of geographical (and cultural) diversity.
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby T. R. Napper » Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:03 pm

s_c_baker wrote:Historically I think this is true. These days, I'm not sure it's quite so clear-cut. Look at the recently released F&SF cover: http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/0 ... pril-2015/

There are also plenty of excellent magazines with a more international focus (e.g. Shimmer, Lightspeed, Clarkesworld)--even if the traditional big three digest magazines might be lagging behind the curve a bit in terms of geographical (and cultural) diversity.


I see 9 US writers, one Chinese and one Brit on that cover, which isn't bad.

You're right, it's not necessarily clear-cut, and to be honest I'm ambiguous about it - after all they are US mags, presumably most of the audience are US readers, plus the editors will know a lot of the authors personally. So I understand why there may be a bias and I'm not overly worried by it (as a subscriber to one of the more venerable US mags, I can say they are definitely lagging on this).

But, as you say, things are opening up as they should (Clarkesworld is doing translations of Chinese short stories, which is very cool). One of the reasons I read science fiction is to get blown away by new ideas, different world views, strange perspectives (probably why I'm a big Philip K dick fan. Man that guy was weird).

Stuff from different countries can often offer really different ways of thinking about things (I'm always surprised but the utterly bizarre Vietnamese short stories i read, for example)
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby Ishmael » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:07 am

Having lived in the USA I don't find it difficult to write stories with US settings, though I try not to stray too far away from places I actually know if I am writing more or less contemporary stuff. For some time I persisted in the incongruity of writing about the US using English spelling. Then I did an exchange with another UK writer who can switch grammar and spelling to suit the market and I realised I was being pedantic. So I decided to do the same, since it is far less trouble for me to do the switch myself than to require a US editor to do it for me. I do not claim any causal connection here, but it is only in the last few months that I have done this and in those few months my US acceptances have gone from zero to three. It certainly didn't do me any harm.

On the other side of the argument, I know of at least one non-US magazine that complains of being oversupplied with contemporary US settings.

I don't know what, if any, benefit SWA membership would confer on me other than status. Clearly I cannot engage in face to face networking the way US writers can. I find it difficult enough to get together with other Scottish writers once a year. This may be just as well, since irascible hermits from the high moor are not always too good at human relations as my experience on a couple of other forums has shown.

Anyway, I shall worry about how to cope with such status if and when I attain it. For the time being I'll be glad if the WotF qualification stays where it is (reasonably intelligible) rather than changing to the (largely unintelligible) new SFWA proposals. I don't think I'm anywhere near the former yet. I don't understand the latter well enough to tell.
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Re: New SFWA Rules

Postby E.CaimanSands » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:46 am

My understanding of US settings extends to one week holidaying in New York City and whatever I've read or seen on TV. So for that reason I tend to avoid US settings as I'm bound to make some glaring mistake that all US readers will spot from three light years away. Interestingly though, not only has my one story with an unambiguously American setting sold, it sold with my highest per-word pay (at nearly 10 cents a word). It was set in the Florida swamp. No prizes for guessing what it was about.

As for US spellings, I persist in using British spellings for a good reason. I used to work for a UK-based publisher who produced material for the US market. As such us UK writers and editors were supposed to use American English. However, we still had a couple of American staff based permanently in the office whose job it was to copy check all our output to make sure it was properly Americanized. In other words, even though we all received instruction on how to write in American we couldn't be trusted to do it consistently. So I've been taking the position that it's better to leave it up to an American editor to change the whole lot rather than it look like I've been using some kind of weird half American, half British dictionary. But maybe I'm being an idiot, maybe it's better to do the best I can at Americanizing and let a US editor worry about picking up anything I've missed.
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