Ilona Andrews Says Smart Things

Which, if you know or read Ilona Andrews, will come as no surprise. 

She originally made this comment over on facebook, but I'm posting the whole thing here as a separate note because it deserves the attention. Also, so I can find it quickly again the next time I want to explain to someone why some of us are working so hard to change SFWA.

Ilona said: " I'm a female writer working in SF/F field. I have over half a million books in print, I'm published in 14 countries, and I'm #1 NYT bestseller. I have detailed knowledge of current market, contracts, digital publishing (both professional and self-published) and marketing. I can help the beginning writer avoid common pitfalls and I can effectively advise current working writers on the strategies that helped me be successful in my field right now. 

"I refuse to join SFWA. 

"SFWA is an organization where men grope women while they receive awards on stage, where my genre, UF, is invisible unless it's written by Jim Butcher, and where my opinion would be frequently discounted because of the institutional bias against women, in particular women who write fiction with romantic elements, despite a obvious evidence that I know what the bloody hell I'm talking about. This is how I currently see it from the outside. This is your public face. 

"There are several other writers, both male and female, who are successful and who refuse to join SFWA for these reasons. SFWA, as an organization, is unable to attract a large percentage of the currently working professionals in its field. 

"This is a huge problem, because as we all know, that which stagnates will die. Look at westerns. They almost died out, but they're experiencing a mild resurgence as western romance. They had to mutate to survive. 

"SFWA, as a pro-writer organization, has a duty to its members. It has a duty to stay current, flexible, and viable, so it can be useful and attractive to new members and current working professionals. Unless this enormous image problem changes, in ten years, NOBODY will join. I repeat, NOBODY will join you. In ten years, the new crop of writers, writers who are now 15-20, will drive the genre forward. I'm raising two of them right now and I can tell you that SFWA as it is now will be even less attractive to them than it is to me. Those services that SFWA members so often benefit from, like Griefcon, for example, will become less and less effective, because the publishing field changes fast and you need a wide pool of experience to draw on. 

"So, you have to decide. Do you want to stay relevant? Do you want to appeal to young audience? Do you want to represent writers that are working right now? Then as an organization, SFWA has to change and it has to change its public image. It has to appear welcoming and inclusive, because really it should stand for progress. That's what SF/F is about. "

© C.C. Finlay 2018