Dear The Internets: I Am Running For President of SFWA
Yes, you read that right. Just a few moments ago I formally sent my candidacy letter to the Elections Committee of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and also posted it to the SFWA Web forums. But so the rest of you know as well, I’m telling you here, too.
Posted below the cut is my candidacy letter, if you are interested in what such a thing looks like, and also what my platform and positions are — and who is running with me, as part of a slate of candidates, all committed to the same goals for SFWA. And for those of you who can’t wait, here’s who the VP candidate for our slate is.
If you are a SFWA member, I hope you’ll read this letter here or in the SFWA forums and consider giving your vote to me and the fellow members of our slate. If you are eligible to be a SFWA member but are not, please consider joining SFWA and helping us continue to build the organization. Thanks.
Dear SFWA members:
Hi there, I’m John Scalzi and I am running for President of SFWA.
For those of you who don’t know me, allow me to tell you a little about myself.
- I’ve been a member of SFWA since 2003. Pretty much my first act upon receiving my signed contracts for my first novel was to fax the contract to SFWA so I could join the organization.
- I have been a full-time professional writer since 1990. My first full-time writing job was as a film critic for the Fresno Bee newspaper, where I was also a syndicated humor columnist. In 1996 I joined America Online as its in-house writer and editor. In 1998 I went freelance, which included doing corporate consulting for online and financial services companies (including Network Solutions, Oppenheimer Funds and US Trust) as well as writing for newspapers (Washington Post, Dayton Daily News), magazines (Official US Playstation Magazine, MBA Jungle) and book clients (Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, National Geographic).
- I have been an author since 2000, when my first book, The Rough Guide to Money Online, was published. My first novel, Old Man’s War, was published in 2005. Since then I have published 14 books, divided equally between fiction and non-fiction. In addition to writing science fiction I am also the Creative Consultant for Stargate: Universe, a science fiction television series airing on the Syfy Network, and also a columnist for AMCtv.com, writing on the subject of science fiction film.
- In the genre my work has been nominated for seven Hugo Awards, including three Best Novel nominations (in 2006, 2008 and 2009). I have been awarded two Hugos. I am also the recipient of the Campbell Award (2006), the Geffen Award (Best translated science fiction in Israel) and the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award (Science Fiction category). My work has been additionally nominated for the Seiun Award, Sidewise Award and the Prometheus Award and has been a finalist for the Locus Awards.
- For SFWA I have served as the Chairman of the Exploratory Copyright Committee in 2007, and was a participant in the committee which examined and recommended revisions to SFWA bylaws in 2009. I previously ran for the office of SFWA President in 2007.
- I live in Bradford, Ohio, with my wife Kristine and daughter Athena.
I believe that my professional and personal experience gives me a perspective that will be useful as president of our organization. Specifically:
- My status as an actively publishing writer means I am engaged at all levels of our industry and have relevant personal experience in the issues facing science fiction and fantasy writers today.
- I am well-known within the industry and can use my personal contacts with editors, publishers and other industry executives for the advantage of SFWA and its members.
- My knowledge of and personal experience in related industries (non-fiction publishing, online publishing, film and television) will allow me to provide a wide base of insider knowledge for the benefit of the organization.
- I have been publicly and privately a vocal supporter of fair compensation for SF/F writers for their work, and for the rights of writers to control their work online and offline, and would continue to be so as President.
- I have long been a supporter of SFWA publicly and privately and have encouraged writers to join, benefit from and contribute to SFWA, and would use the position of President to amplify that message.
III. OUR SLATE AND OUR GOALS
While I am running for the position of President of SFWA, I do not believe that the position functions in isolation — the President works with the Board of SFWA, for the benefit of SFWA’s members. To that end, I am not running alone but am running with a slate of other board candidates, which include:
- Mary Robinette Kowal for Vice-President
- Bob Howe for Secretary
- Amy Sterling-Casil for Treasurer
- Sean Williams for Overseas Representative
While each candidate has his or her own goals, our slate goals for the 2010-2011 SFWA administration are simple:
- To finish the hard and useful work begun by the current administration to put the organization on solid ground;
- To continue SFWA’s path toward institutional stability and member growth and retention.
1. Top priority is to focus on those things already in process which might still be in process come July. These include:
- Operations, Policy and Procedures Manual
- Policies and initiatives regarding member copyrights (Google Books Settlement, etc)
By and large we are committed to concluding these processes as begun by the current administration if necessary, in particular the re-incorporation as a non-profit organization in California, which will allow us to
- Start administering the SFWA legal and medical funds as tax-deductible entities;
- Allow SFWA to apply and then administer federal/state/local grants to the benefit of our members
Beyond and as a consequence of the above we will also seek to
- Finalize SFWA diversity and sexual harrassment policies;
- Begin search (pending ratification of by-laws) of SFWA CEO
2. Secondarily, we will fine-tune or initiate the following:
- Our member volunteer process, to match willing member volunteers to SFWA needs;
- Member communication, to send pertinent information about and regarding SFWA to its members in the most visible and efficient possible way;
- Member education, to help our members stay current with SFWA news and initiatives;
- Outreach to organizations who would be interested in our members (conventions, book fairs, organizations looking for speakers, etc);
- Outreach to writers who could be members of SFWA but who are not
3. Beyond this we will continue to explore avenues that allow the size and focus of the organization to benefit our members, including revisiting health insurance coverage possibilities for our members.
I have been fortunate in my science fiction career and being a member of SFWA has been a part of that good fortune. I look forward to serving the organization with this slate of board candidates and to help SFWA to improve and to continue to be a useful part of our members’ careers.