Cat Rambo officially announced today that she’s running for another term as President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The full statement is at her blog: “Let the Wild Rumpus Continue: Running for SFWA President Again”
I realized during the past year that I know more about what SFWA is accomplishing today that I have at any time since Jerry Pournelle was President back in the early Seventies. And I don’t mean he talked out of school, just that we were at LASFS meetings every week, so whenever SFWA solved a problem I’d hear about it.
In between, with exceptions for things like publicizing Bud Webster’s work with author estates, the organization has projected a strong sense that its business is something members discussed in-house. Even presidents who are savvy masters of social media when it comes to their own work have largely confined themselves to promoting SFWA’s public events, and fronting announcements of new qualifying markets and warnings about publisher scams. I didn’t consider it wrong for SFWA to play its cards close to the vest. However, that meant the organization didn’t build a level of goodwill in the sf community at large that it could draw on when new writers expressed skepticism about why they should join, and get a more patient hearing when critics started a kerfuffle.
Cat Rambo has become a SFWA President for all of the people by steering directly into the winds of social media, doing all kinds of outreach. She also liberally shares credit with all the other SFWA volunteers, introducing us to SFWA’s energetic creators and problem-solvers and giving faces to that team.
Rambo’s re-election platform begins with the highlights of her past two-and-a-half years.
- Worked with Operations Director Kate Baker to help her establish policies and procedures that advance the organization’s mission. Members will have noticed, for example, the implementation of the Singularity, the electronic newsletter that lets you know the latest and most important/interesting information from the organization. I feel strongly that establishing an operations director who really drives the organization overall, rather than relying on the random and sometimes wildly varying commitment levels of the President and Vice President is a good move, and I look forward to seeing the amazing stuff that Kate will do in coming years, based on the way she’s kicked ass so far.
- Due to the hard work of our fabulous financial team of Bud Sparhawk and Oz Drummond, I saw us through a financial crisis that could have taken down the organization and didn’t. The board and I worked to enable Oz and Bud to create a financial plan that will keep us going another 50 years…
- Recruited Maggie Hogarth as VP, so I will take indirect credit for the ton of great work she’s done but say that it is really all her effort that makes her such an outstanding team member. Indie writers, Maggie has been consistently looking out for your interests and making sure you are always represented in discussions. She’s driven community efforts, formed the Outreach Committee, worked with the Nebula Programming team to get representatives of companies like Amazon, Kobo, Patreon, etc there, set up the NetGalley program, and been an amazing ally.
- The Speakers Bureau is up and running, SFWA has been publicizing it via flyers at ALA and other academic conferences and it’s got almost 200 members listed there.
- The EMF process has been thoroughly looked at in order to make it easier for the members to use and is being revamped, including figuring out how to make a portion open to professional speculative fiction writers who are not members, which I expect to see happen within the next month. This hasn’t been entirely smooth, but the end result has been greater clarity and unity of purpose among our EMF stewards….
If the members hold her over, here’s what she wants to accomplish in her next term.
- Better integration of the game writers, because I think we’ve really fallen short so far and need to do better.
- Getting the finances to a point where the annual Reception can be brought back, although I’d like to see it alternating between East and West Coast.
- Movement on health care. We’ve got a task force exploring it. Our best bet may be teaming up with another organization, but this remains to be seen.
- Seeing The SFWA Bulletin on a regular schedule.
- Get the Preserve Your Legacy campaign, aimed at celebrating Bud Webster’s memory while giving writers the resources they need to set up their literary estate, launched.
- Continuing to put in processes. One of the things I’ve worked hard at is passing on what I know of corporate management, and trying to make sure we are consistently working at a professional level.
- Continuing to build relationships with other organizations, including other writers organizations as well as publishing and marketing partners.
- More and better outreach to potential new members.
- Continued advocacy for writers, like the recent statement about magazines trying to monetize writers.
And here’s an excerpt from her statement of qualifications:
I’ve got decent people skills and a solid work ethic. When it comes to the various factions that clash occasionally, I’ve got friends on most sides and pride myself on trying to listen and understand where people are coming from. I try to unite rather than divide, and to lead by example. I frequently touch base with other members of the SFWA team and work well with them, including weekly Google Hangout sessions, texts, and phone calls. I don’t take myself particularly seriously (most of the time), have no problem admitting when I’m wrong, and try to learn from both my mistakes and what other people pass along.
She makes joining SFWA a more attractive option than ever. You’ll find more reasons spelled out in Henry Lien’s SFWA anthem — introduced on Rambo’s watch. (I’m one voter who’s putting it on his Hugo nominating ballot.)