Proud New Member of WSFA

WSFA - Washington Science Fiction AssociationOn Friday, January 3rd, I officially became a member of the Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA). This non-profit organization was founded in 1947. Here’s their official description:

The Washington Science Fiction Association is the oldest science fiction club in the greater Washington area. Its members are interested in all types of science fiction and fantasy literature as well as related areas such as fantasy and science fiction films, television, costuming, gaming, filking, convention-running, etc. WSFA meets the first and third Fridays of every month at approximately 9:00 pm. Non-members are encouraged to attend. Club meetings include a brief business meeting, after which the group gathers informally over light refreshments to talk about just about anything including (on occasion) science fiction literature and media.

Although they don’t explicitly state this in their official description, the organization’s true purpose is to promote science fiction and fantasy literature within the greater Washington DC metropolitan area. To this end, they annually organize and run Capclave, a very nice regional conference. They’ve also hosted, or had members participate in hosting, some of the big, roving conferences. Notably, WSFA has hosted the World Fantasy Convention, most recently in 2003, and they’ll be hosting it again in November 2014. Some of the organization’s members are also currently putting together a bid to bring the World Science Fiction Convention, my favorite convention, to Washington DC in 2017.

Put simply, I think the organization does good work.

But I’m a writer. Why am I interested in joining the organization? Well, let me list some of my reasons below:

  1. Promote SF Literature: I love science fiction, but there’s a vast difference between SF in literature and SF in media. Frankly, the SF literature is far more sophisticated than most of the SF that’s coming out of Hollywood. I’d like to help make sure that our SF books aren’t forsaken for their media counterparts.

  2. Reduce the Graying of SF Fandom: There’s an effect known as “the graying of SF fandom,” in which the average age of SF fans is rising. Prospective younger fans are often lured away by other technologies like games, movies and television. Or worse, they’re not even introduced to SF in any meaningful way. I’d like to help ensure that younger readers are introduced to our “literature of ideas” so that we can bring newer, younger fans into the fold.

  3. Networking: I’m writing professionally now and, frankly, I’m hampered in some ways because I don’t know people in the SF field. I need to know editors, cover artists, fellow writers, etc., in order to be successful at what I’m trying to accomplish as a writer.

  4. Expanding My Fan Base: I write SF and Fantasy. WSFA members read SF and fantasy. By attending meetings, I’m associating with people who might reasonably want to read the things that I write. They are also well positioned to foster great word-of-mouth regarding my stories. However, there’s a careful balance that I need to maintain here since WSFA doesn’t exist to promote individual writers. Joining the organization requires a certain integrity of intent, i.e. – a commitment to help the organization accomplish its goals. Accordingly, I’ve adopted a deliberately low profile when it comes to promoting my own work.

  5. Entertainment: I know more about science fiction than all of my friends. Period. I’ve seen more SF movies, read more SF books, know more about SF history, and I’m more familiar with SF/Fantasy memes. I’m constantly recommending books to other people (“Oh, you like zombies? Try Feed by Mira Grant, aka Seanan McGuire”), loaning DVD’s to friends (“You should see the indie SF movie, Cube“), or explaining SF concepts like the Singularity. Conventions and WSFA meetings are the only places where I can go and meet other people like me.

I’ve been attending WSFA meetings since September 2013. As a writer, how has associating with WSFA been beneficial to me so far? Well, it’s done a lot of things for me already, more than I had envisioned when I first began attending meetings.

  • Scored low-cost tickets to Capclave 2013.

  • Received advice to sign up for the Writers Track at Capclave 2013. I did this, and it proved to be excellent advice.

  • Met an editor at one of the meetings. Got some advice on venues that might buy some of my short fiction. Have periodically had other members tell me about various anthologies that were looking for submissions.

  • Provided advice to the organization that plans to bring a science fiction museum to Washington DC.

  • Got to see a live reading of a new story by Jamie Todd Rubin, an up and coming writer from this area.

  • Have heard some really awesome stories about fandom and the writing community. As a result, I have a new appreciation for lime jello.

Overall, I’m proud to be part of WSFA. I expect to have a lot of fun thanks to the organization. I also expect to do some worthwhile work promoting the “literature of ideas” that I love so much.

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2 Comments

  1. Bill
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

    The upcoming World Fantasy and Worldcon Bids are under the auspices of another local group, the Baltimore Washington Area Worldcon Association. There is a lot of crossover in membership between WSFA and BWAWA

  2. Posted January 19, 2014 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    Noted, Bill. I think I kind of knew this, but probably didn’t articulate it well in my post. From what I’ve seen, BWAWA pulls members from both the WSFA and the Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS), which hosts Balticon (and other events) each year.

    Anyway, I think the folks involved in BWAWA (and WSFA and BSFS for that matter) are doin’ a great job. I’m looking forward to the World Fantasy Convention in Washington DC this year, and, hopeful, a successful WorldCon bid for 2017.

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