The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) have an election coming up, and a ton of rhetoric and flame wars are going on. I’m not in the association, so I won’t be voting — but if I could, I’d be voting for John Scalzi for president. It’s no secret that I’m a Scalzi fan, but there’s much more to it than that.
Let’s face it, there are are a lot of books out there. A lot. Many, if not most, of them are good. Yes, there may be an occasional book that you hate — but really, that’s just you. Someone likes it. So for someone picking books to read, it’s difficult. I hate to admit, but more often than not, the title and cover art are what sell a book to me. Maybe a cool author name too. That makes me sad.
Here’s the real deal — Scalzi is a very accessible author. He’ll return your email. He’ll send you a free autographed book. (Well, maybe not, but he’ll let you download some books for free, so that’s something.) He’s someone that I want to support, not only as an author, but as a family man supporting a wife and child. It’s his willingness to be accessible that brings out that desire in me.
What does that have to do with hardcovers? Simple. I only buy hardcover books when I want to support the author, and not just read the book. If it weren’t for John Scalzi’s website, and Wil Wheaton’s blog — I’d never own hardcover books they wrote.
No, it’s not fair, but it’s true. Writers need to know that, and if Scalzi becomes SFWA president, at least the SF&F ones will hear it. Unfortunately, there is more to being a writer than writing.