Furry Writers' Guild Forum

FWG 2015 Member Feedback Survey - Summary of Results

I had a chance yesterday to finally look over all the responses to Part One of the recent FWG member survey, so here’s the rundown on that section. Part Two will come later, probably after Easter. (I started to post this in the FWG members-only forum, but all in all, I’d rather everyone here be able to view it.)

Total responses received: 39 each to the 2 parts (out of 103 total members contacted)

Part One

Have you visited the Furry Writers’ Guild website (www.furrywritersguild.com) since its redesign in June 2014?
Yes - 97.44% (38)
No - 2.56% (1)

If yes, what did you like about the website?
Received 30 responses, with the organization and ease of navigation getting positive feedback.

What aspects of the website do you think could be improved?
Responses to this one were all over the board, so it was hard to feel much of a consensus on what might warrant improvement. To address a few things that were brought up: As far as updating the writer’s market more often, that of course depends on when there’s new information to update it with. There was also a call for members to be able to update their own bios, which might be possible, but I’d have to find a way to give each member access to edit just their page and not the entire blog (possibly with a password?), which I suspect might turn out to be far more effort than it’s worth. Right now, remember that all you have to do is email your new bio/pictures to furwritersguild (at) gmail.com, and I’ll get them updated as soon as possible. (Generally speaking, I’d advise members to provide links to their website or blogs where readers can find up-to-date information, and to list a few of their best publication credits rather than keeping an exhaustive list in the bio that has to be frequently updated. But I don’t mind doing frequent updates if you don’t!)

Do you read the blog on the FWG website?
Yes, sometimes 31.58% (12)
Yes, but rarely 23.68% (9)
There’s a blog? 15.79% (6)
Yes, I’m subscribed via RSS/email, or see posts via Twitter 13.16% (5)
Yes, often 7.89% (3)
Never 7.89% (3)

First, for those who haven’t seen the blog, it’s at

You can subscribe to it by email or RSS to receive the latest posts, and there’s an automatic tweet sent out as well when each new post goes live. We have four types of posts that occur regularly – the guild newsletter/update (on the 1st of the month), the Book of the Month (on the 5th), guest blog posts from our members (the 10th and 20th), and Member Spotlights (the 15th and 25th).

Any suggestions or feedback regarding the FWG blog?
This was almost entirely positive, so it looks like those of you who do read the blog like what you see. :slight_smile:

Any suggestions or feedback regarding the FWG forums? (Please note, this is just for feedback about the forums, not the shoutbox or the Coffeehouse Chats.) If you don’t participate in the forums, is there anything we could add, change, or improve that might encourage you to participate?

The impression I got from the responses to this question is that for those of you who do use the forums, your experience with them is mostly or entirely positive, and for those of you who don’t, there’s not really anything specific that we could change that would encourage you to participate. Many mentioned time as a factor in not participating more, which is understandable.

Have you attended any of the Coffeehouse Chats that take place at scheduled times in the forum shoutbox?
Yes - 35.90% (14)
No - 64.10% (25)

If you haven’t attended a chat, why not? (Please check all that apply.)
The times are inconvenient for me 44.83% (13)
Other 37.93% (11)
Wasn’t aware of chats 24.14% (7)
Don’t like the shoutbox format 13.79% (4)
Not interested 10.34% (3)

Among the “other” category, it pretty much boiled down to being too busy or the times often being inconvenient.

As far as not being aware of the chats… They get mentioned quite a bit here on the forums generally, and there are 6 reminder tweets that go out every week on Twitter referencing them. They’re also mentioned every month in the guild news update on the blog. If anyone has ideas for other places the chats should be mentioned to help raise awareness, let me know, but as they say, you can lead a horse to water…

Any suggestions/feedback about the Coffeehouse Chats?
I thought I’d get more complaints about the shoutbox format in these responses, but those mostly seemed to show up in the question about the website instead. :slight_smile: (On that topic, I know the shoutbox isn’t perfect, but as forum admin, Sean Rivercritic and I have considered other options, and right now the shoutbox is honestly the best we can do.)

There was some mention here of the chat times being rather US-centric, which is something I’m trying to change as we speak. And there was a suggestion for the topic-based chat (currently held Thursdays) to post that day’s topic in the reminder tweets, which I think is a very good idea – but those reminder tweets are usually scheduled days or weeks ahead of time, so I would only be able to include the topic if it were being chosen relatively far ahead of time.

Part Two is where things get more interesting. Watch this space. :slight_smile:

Glad to see the results!

On the couple of things that I can mention:

  • Concerning the shoutbox: Neither PT or I are super tech-savvy. The shoutbox is a useable tool because it involved me hitting a download button on the forum-specific mod site, then hitting upload package in the forums. That’s about the extent of my knowledge base. I’d welcome the idea of someone with another idea to help in implementing it, but until that happens, it’ll stay as it is.

  • Concerning the Thursday chat topic: I’ve been either coming up with these an hour or two before the chat starts or have been asking others for their ideas about an hour or two before the chat starts, so right now, it would be a bit difficult to post about the ideas in advance.

Okay, so I’m resurrecting this thread to finally post Part 2 of the survey results. Obviously, this is old data now, since the survey was done in early 2015, but I’m presenting it here anyway in case it spurs discussion or benefits the new president/officers in some way.

(Apologies for any weird spacing; SurveyMonkey doesn’t make it easy to export this stuff unless you shell out big bucks for a pro plan.)

Submissions to future FWG anthologies should be…

open to all writers, regardless of membership status 22.22% (8.0)
limited to FWG members only 47.22% (17)
alternating - with one anthology as an open call, and the next limited to members only 30.56% (11)

The comments on this one tended to lean toward supporting open call either for philosophical reasons (wanting to be open to everyone) or practical ones (would we get enough submissions if it were members-only), but there were some comments that favored limiting to members only, mostly because it would constitute a member benefit.

Would you be interested in purchasing FWG-themed merchandise (T-shirts, mugs, etc), with proceeds from sales being used to help cover costs of guild maintenance and future projects?

Yes 25.64% (10)
Maybe 56.41% (22)
No 17.95% (7)

If you answered “yes” or “maybe,” what types of merchandise would you be most likely to purchase? (Please check all that apply.)

T-shirts or other apparel 62.50% (20)
Coffee mugs 43.75% (14)
Mousepads 12.50% (4)
Notebooks/journals 50.00% (16)
Pens 31.25% (10)
Tote bags/messenger bags or similar 28.13% (9)
Other (please specify) 43.75% (14)

(In this case, “other” included flash drives, membership pins, stickers/bumper stickers, lanyard pins, baseball caps, keychains, pendants, posters/art cards, and ebook covers. I should note to whoever, thank you for suggesting “flasks,” but um, no, and one respondent noted “as long as they specifically do not have FURRY in big noticeable letters,” which might be somewhat tricky since we are, after all, the Furry Writers’ Guild.) :wink:

Would you be willing to pay annual dues to the FWG in order to cover costs of maintaining and advertising the guild and fund future projects? (All funds are listed in US dollars and would be paid to the FWG PayPal account unless alternate means of payment were necessary.)

Yes, at $10 a year 50.00% (19)
Yes, at $5 a year 36.84% (14)
No, would not pay any amount 13.16% (5)

I admit I was surprised by how many respondents would be willing to pay dues – though, of course, the people responding to the survey made up a relatively small sampling of our total membership. That said, comments on this one were all over the board. Some would be willing to pay more than the suggested amounts, others cited financial hardship, and others reasonably felt they’d need to see more member benefits to make paying dues worthwhile.

Any suggestions for other benefits you’d like to see added for FWG members?

Taking snippets from comments here:

–Mentorship program restored.
–Perhaps see if other furry publishers would be willing to save at least one slot in their anthologies for a guild member (if it wouldn’t lead to contention)
–If experienced & published members are willing to offer member-only workshops, or discounts on their books to fellow members?
–Maybe a shared library
–Website badges and that kind of thing that members can use to both proclaim their membership and promote the guild
–Some sort of official members only skype chat
–Some sort of badge for members to wear at cons
–Having a dedicated forum for artists willing to license their work for book covers would be AMAZING.

As a side note, I came this close to ordering badge ribbons for Rainfurrest but ran out of time, plus that would be something that would really be much better once the FWG has a logo or something to print on there other than just “FWG Member” in some basic font. There’s also an argument to be made that having member badges might foster that elitist club image (though I admit I care a lot less about that now than I did when I took office two years ago).

We also got suggestions for things that already existed (like a newsletter with upcoming deadlines and such, which is essentially already posted to the blog the 1st of each month) or for things that have since been implemented or are getting started (workshops, more anthologies). Promotion was also mentioned prominently, presumably of members’ books/projects, although there weren’t any specific methods suggested.

Overall, what do you feel the guild is doing well?

Again, excerpts from comments:

“That the website and social media is becoming more cohesive. I like that members can now submit articles to the site.”
“It’s great as a resource for writers, and not just furry ones.”
“The released anthology, Music to your ears, is quite good quality.”
“I think the guild presence improves more and more. I’m fairly new but I think there’s participation and we’re going in the right direction.”
“The Guild seems to be collating nicely.”
“While I am not an active voice in the guild, I still feel part of a community. Writing is a lonely enough occupation. FWG helps me feel less lonely.” (Honestly, I think that’s my favorite of these comments. Never underestimate the power of feeling less lonely.) :slight_smile:
“I think we’re doing good at getting our name out there!”
“That the Guild exists at all is a wonderful thing. Even though I don’t participate much, I’m glad to know it’s there.”
“The guild has done great at being a center point for the furry writing community. It’s given a place for several writers to go, member or not, and be able to talk to and learn from other writers in the community.”
“Supporting each other”
“Creating a community”
“Welcoming new members and encouraging participation.”
“The guild looks professional and presentable.”
“Good community, and good collection of resources (especially the links to markets, but also the informational forum and blog posts).”
“Right now, I think it’s growing just the way that it should.”
“Building a network and supporting writers.”
“I think the guild is doing pretty much everything well right now. It’s a lot better than it has been, and it continues to grow.”
“Helping its members to get published in furry-specialty press”
“The forums. It’s really creating a community for writers.”
“I think it is doing a better job incorporating more people to be involved”
“I think the guild is excelling at giving writers of our genre a place to come together and discuss our craft. I also think it is excelling at gathering and providing paid markets (but we can always use more!).”
“Community aspects and engagement is good”

We also had some replies to that question that boiled down to “yes,” which I think was people misreading the question to be more like “do you think the guild is doing well?”

Overall, what do you feel the guild can improve on?

And this is where it gets fun. :slight_smile: I’m including every response here except for the ones like “n/a” or “don’t know.”

“Presence in Furry Cons.”
“I wonder if there would be some way for the guild to be a more direct facilitator of publisher/writer interactions? Because in my experience, a number of furry publishers suffer from lack of submissions.”
“I would like to see a monthly “newsletter” even if it were just a set of links to highlights found on the forum or blog with one or two line summaries.” (again, the monthly blog post fills that need currently)
“Keep on track with the improvements”
“I think overall the guild is in a decent place. There seems to me to be fairly good participation in an age where all sorts of club membership is declining.”
“Getting more forum users as well as more official guild members (and getting current members active)!”
“I’m not sure how recruitment is doing, so I won’t comment on that other than to say I haven’t heard much about it from anyone who isn’t a member.”
“The guild really needs something to draw more writers into becoming members, some reason to become a member.”
“I’m concerned that too much of the sales of publications produced by guild members (or featuring a majority of works by guild members) are mostly being purchased by each other, effectively becoming a mutual admiration society. I think we should discuss what we can do better to promote these works to the greater furry community.”
“We’re not giving new writers enough support via critiques, etc. Also, need more publisher input, but I dunno how to go about getting it.”
“I wish there were more markets listed but I realize there aren’t that many furry markets in the first place. I used to check the market listing every other month or more–which meant going to the website and poking around. I have only done that once in the last four months.”
“A more active membership. Even if it’s just posting progress in their section of the member area forum, it would be nice to see that the long list of members are actually interested in continuing to be members.”
“This is from a fairly ignorant point of view given I’ve not been involved too much, but it’d be nice to see where the FWG is influencing the fandom generally, or even people outside the fandom, to read more and try more diverse titles within its retinue.”
“Reaching out beyond the fandom.”
“Promoting guild member’s work. Most of this is difficulty getting the general furry audience’s attention, but there might be some unexplored avenues for promotion.”
“I would like to see more activity in the critique forum.”
“More paid markets! :smiley: You’re doing great there already, but I always want more. I’d also like more topics on the publishing side”
“Not sure the Coyotl Awards are working very well”

So that’s how it boils down. As before, discussion is welcome, though again, keep in mind this reflects the opinions of the active guild members about a year and a half ago now…