Continue to show your support for Semiprozines

Last year, many of us stood up and demonstrated the value of having a Best Semiprozine Hugo Award. While our efforts to save the category were successful, we cannot sit back and assume our work is done. I urge everyone that is eligible to nominate for the Hugos (anyone who attended Worldcon in 2009 or will attend in 2010) to check out some of the fine publications represented by this category, pick your favorites, and nominate. There is no better way to show your continued support.

Can’t vote? Spread the word to those that can. That works too.

Sincerely,
 

Neil Clarke
Clarkesworld Magazine
2009 Best Semiprozine Nominee

Semiprozines, John Scalzi, and Doing Right

There are some people urging me to weigh in on John Scalzi’s recent posts about a new magazine that will be paying authors poorly. In the course of that discussion, there were a few things said about semiprozines that some people assumed would set me off. It appears that my efforts to save the Best Semiprozine Hugo have put me in some sort of unofficial role as the crazy poster child for semiprozine rights. Some people forget, however, that there is a difference between what writers and their organizations call semi-professional and what the Hugos do. The Hugos don’t care what authors are paid. Some Hugo semiprozines, like my own, are paying professional rates and seen by SFWA as qualifying and by Ralan.com as professional. Many others aren’t.

The thing is, John is on the right track. Authors should be paid for their work. Running a magazine might be a fine hobby or small business for you to have, but that doesn’t absolve you from some responsibility to do right by your authors. Yes, of course, there are some publications that have author-benefiting prestige to them, but they are the exception and not the norm. You can’t hold up Interzone, Lady Churchill’s or Electric Velocipede and use them as the example that unravels John’s argument, nor can you just assume that you’re new magazine will join their ranks. It’s good to have goals and aspirations, but don’t sell your authors statistically-unlikely promises.

That said, I’m not as hard-line about the SFWA’s suggested professional pay rate as John appears to be. I posted about this issue quite some time ago and my position is relatively unchanged. I still discourage no-pay markets (I’ve done so twice in the last week and used John’s posts to help illustrate my point) and believe that there are legitimate semiprofessional-paying magazines that benefit writers.

Live from Worldcon

Having a great time at Worldcon. Attended the WSFS Business Meeting and know what to expect for tomorrow’s vote on the future of the Best Semiprozine Hugo. Attended a panel about magazines and whether or not they should have a Hugo, which led to several interesting discussions during and after the panel. Off to the Chesley Awards in a few minutes to represent Mats Minnhagen should his Clarkesworld Magazine cover win in the Best Magazine Cover category… and then immediately to my next panel on Mainstreaming the Geek Dream. Parties to follow.

The Semiprozine vote will take place tomorrow morning at:

WSFS Business Meeting
Saturday 10:00AM, P-518BC

If you are at Worldcon and have an opinion on this matter, please be there.

Semiprozine Series

I finished up my four-part post about the Semiprozine Hugo over at SaveSemiprozine.com this morning. In the concluding entry, I look more towards the future and ponder what can be done to clarify the definition of the fanzine, semiprozine, and editor (short form) categories. The vote takes place next week at Worldcon (exact place and time) and I’m hoping that we not only win, but also find a way start the ball rolling on fixing what is broken. Modernizing the definition is a good place to start and can dovetail nicely with education and promotion of what is eligible in (and from) all three categories. (also needed, judging by some of the comments I’ve read)

Anyhow, I’m told that lots of people have tried (and failed) to crack the nut of category definition. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on my very simplistic way to redefine the categories. Agree or disagree… discussion is a good thing.

Save the Semiprozine

I’ve been very low profile for the last couple of weeks. Email piled up a little (if I still owe you a response, sorry, soon) while I worked on tieing up some loose ends at the day job. I’m not giving them any excuses to prevent me from going to Worldcon next week.

Back in April, I launched savesemiprozine.org in response to a movement to eliminate the Best Semiprozine Hugo Award. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a great group of editors and publishers over the last few months and couldn’t be more impressed by the things they do and what we, as semiprozine editors, represent. I have become even more convinced that this category should not be eliminated.

To close things out, I’ve started a four part editorial on savesemiprozine.org that addresses various statements made against keeping the award. My plan is to post the final entry on Friday and encourage discussion throughout. Whether or not you’ll be voting, I hope you’ll take the time to consider what is happening and be a part of the discussion.

The final vote that determines the fate of the Best Semiprozine Hugo will be held at Worldcon.

Thanks!

 -Neil

Semiprozine Hugo Nominee Week

2009 Semiprozine Hugo Nominee Week kicks off today at savesemiprozine.org with a profile of Weird Tales. The site has been going a month now and I’m happy that we’ve been able to spotlight so many semiprozines and their accomplishments. We’ll keep plugging away, so if you have suggestions for things you’d like to see covered/featured there, please let me know.

By the way, last week, we set up a Facebook Page, so you can show your semiprozine support by joining that page. We also have a badge similar to the icon I’m using for this post (which you can steal too) here and use on your blog, website, etc.