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Eugie · Foster's · Self-Indulgent · Musings


Grumbles with SFWA red tape

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Writing Stuff:

ARGH! Received the October SFWA Forum in the mail today. I'm not listed in it as having been upgraded to "Active" membership. Let's see, tallying up the SFWA-approved pro sales I've made: one to Cicada, one to Phobos Books, six to Cricket, two to Realms of Fantasy, and one to The Third Alternative. That's almost four times the requisite three required for Active membership. What's the hold up?

Normally, I wouldn't be upset, but I've been burned by SFWA red tape before. This is bringing back nightmares from a couple years ago:

I sent in my initial application May 2002. No reply for two months.

July: Queried the Executive Director of the SFWA about my status. Still no reply.

September: Queried again, this time carboning the SFWA president (upon the advice of other SFWAers). Heard that the Exec Dir. was "working on my application" and if it was okay to telephone me to verify something. I immediately fired a note off to her to tell her to call anytime. One month later, no call, still no membership.

October: The Eastern Director was kind enough to get involved with helping me get this processed. Another round of queries. Still nothing.

November/December: By that time I needed to know what was up because I was getting my taxes ready and I needed to know if my dues check got cashed and therefore whether or not I could write it off. I fire another note off to the Exec Dir. explaining the whole check cashed/tax issue. I get an email from her telling me to expect my membership packet in the mail. It arrived a couple days after. Wahoo.

BUT I still have yet to appear in the SFWA member directory or any of the Forum updates, despite several emails AND the fact that several other writers I know who applied AFTER me both got their membership before me and are in it.

And now this. It's enough to make me start pulling out my hair!
I'm feeling:
frustrated frustrated
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[User Picture]
On October 23rd, 2004 11:09 am (UTC), reudaly commented:
Pulling out ones' hair tends to be painful - so I wouldn't recommend it.

And it's stuff like this that makes me really NOT care about professional organizations like this.
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On October 24th, 2004 04:52 am (UTC), eugie replied:
I really do like being a member of the SFWA. My mentor, Ann Crispin, highly recommends membership, being a defender of writers rights and a previous VP. I also like the networking opportunities, getting the publications (the Bulletin as well as the Forum, not to mention all the online updates), and I'm excited about being able to nominate and vote for the Nebulas--once they process my &*$%! Active status. Otherwise I would've given up on them already. Plus, I'm still neo-pro enough that it gives me a sense of reassurance to list my SFWA affiliation on my cover letters to editors.
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On October 23rd, 2004 01:07 pm (UTC), gardenwaltz commented:
eugie, you can claim the deduction as soon as you've mailed the check.

gardenwaltz, who knows something about these tax things...
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On October 24th, 2004 04:43 am (UTC), eugie replied:
Thanks for the info! Definitely good to keep in mind for future reference.
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On October 23rd, 2004 06:24 pm (UTC), cussedness commented:
As a long time member of SFWA, I can tell you from experience, that sometimes you have to keep reminding them until they get it done. A quick call to Jane Jewell would probably help.
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On October 24th, 2004 04:45 am (UTC), eugie replied:
I hate calling people. I always feel like I'm intruding. Plus, we make few enough long distance calls that we've got a really crappy plan which charges an eye and finger for calls. 'Course I could deduct that cost from my taxes too, I suppose . . .

I am getting pretty desperate. Not to mention frustrated beyond tolerance. Thanks for the suggestion!
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On October 24th, 2004 12:16 pm (UTC), chance88088 replied:
I'm sorry - that totally sucks - I thought they had gotten it all streamlined when they announced which markets were qualifying.

maybe complain in one of the sfwa newsgroups?
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On October 25th, 2004 11:20 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Ah, yes
Sounds like a PE (people error). Keep calling/sending messages until reboot (aka voting the new board) is possible.

Joel
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