Wow, this past week has been anything but boring. Brandon Sanderson basically broke the internet with his Kickstarter campaign. SFWA decided to change its name. More on book bans and antisemitism. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I’m not going to say much about Sanderson’s kickstarter except this: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL and “Way to go!”. For the most part, I’ve not seen much negative about it. However, there have been a few detractors, but I’ve come to expect them. What does concern me is the number of authors, most of them indies who don’t have a strong following, now thinking they can do the same thing. In the last few days, my social media feeds have been filled with writers talking about their upcoming kickstarters–that they hadn’t considered doing until Sanderson’s success. Oh the plans they have for the money they’ll pull in.
Except. . .
They don’t have Sanderson’s following. The kickstarter campaign was pretty much guaranteed to succeed because of his following, a following he has built over the years. I doubt anyone really expected the final result because–duh!. But there was very little risk to this for Sanderson.
That isn’t the case for these other authors. Not only have they failed to take into account his built-in fanbase that would automatically contribute to the campaign but they have also failed to take into account the time and effort that is going to be needed to promote their own campaign if it is to have any chance at success. But the shiny is oh so shiny.
I guess this is my roundabout way of saying go into a kickstarter or similar campaign with your eyes wide open. Be ready to do the hard work. But most of all, ask yourself a vey important question: are you ready for the ego hit if you don’t meet your kickstarter goals? If you answer “no” to either the ready to do the hard work or the ego hit, then reconsider doing the campaign.
Now for SFWA. Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America has been around since 1965. Going forward (starting in the very near future), it will no longer be the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Instead, the group is dropping “of America” and substituting “Association”. The reasoning is that “more than a quarter” of the membership lives and works in “non-US countries and territories”. It’s all for inclusion.
In other words, it is all for increasing the membership numbers.
Next up is an article from Publishers Weekly about book banning and antisemitism. Normally, I take anything from PW with a grain of salt. This opinion piece, however, hits the nail on th head. In discussing Whoopie Goldberg’s comments on the Holocaust as well as the Nazi book burning in WWII, Angela Engel had this to say:
How does this all tie back to banning books? Reading is education, and access to books and source material allows us to crystallize our histories in our consciousness, and in our children’s, so that we do not repeat the past. In May 1933, Nazis burned books, largely those by Jewish intellectuals, that contained “un-German spirit.” This burning took place at universities—similar to how current U.S. book bannings are taking place at schools. As literature about the Holocaust continues to be challenged, people lose access to the voices of the oppressed, allowing misrepresentations to seep into popular culture.
I suggest this can be expanded to all of our history. If we erase it from our history books, from the buildings on our college campuses, from our very collective consciousness, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes we find so abhorrent today. There is a reason our Founding Fathers valued free speech. By banning books, by removing statues, paintings, etc., from public areas because they might be “hurtful” stifles that free speech because it removes a topic of discussion. Without being to discuss why something is wrong today and might not have been 200 years ago is to court disaster. To put it into terms those advocating such actions might understand, it removes a teaching moment.
But it is so much easier to remove the so-called offending object, be it a book or a statue or a movie or whatever, and stick one’s head in the sand than deal with a difficult issue in ways we learn not to make the same mistakes in the future.
Okay, okay, getting off my sandbox now.
One last bit of business. Night of the Wolf, a prequel short story to the Nocturnal Lives series, is now available on Kindle Unlimited. This is an expanded version of the freebie made available last year to my newsletter subscribers. (It has more than 2k more words to flesh out the story from the freebie). Here’s the blurb:
Mackenzie Santos has seen it all as a police detective–or so she thought. The last thing she wants after closing one of the worst cases of her career is to go out to celebrate her birthday. But she promised and maybe Jenny was right. Maybe having dinner and drinks with her best friend would help put the horror of the case behind her. Soon she will soon learn she should have listened to her gut. Nightmares do come true and monsters really do exist. And, on this night of the full moon, she is the prey.