Hello Furry Writers’ Guild members! My name is Linnea “LiteralGrill” Capps and I will be running for president of the guild. I have been volunteering my time as the Public Relations Officer for the guild (which has passed 2000 followers on Twitter since I have begun). I am also the acting chairperson of the Coyotl Awards and through my efforts the 2019 awards were able to take place this year. I’m an award winning published author and in good standing with the guild.
I also have what many don’t who are writers: lots of time. Virus concerns or not, my life currently keeps me at home with many extra hours that I could focus working purely on the guild. With this being a possibility I can take on bigger projects to improve the guild than any president prior. With this in mind I hope to achieve these goals during my presidency.
Calling a vote to make a general update of the guild bylaws to include:
- Rules for voting for the Coyotl Awards Chair
- A reorganization of of the guild officers positions
Currently we have the presidency, vice presidency, and secretary/treasurer as positions. The duties of these positions could be better condensed and included with new positions that have been suggested by the previous administration.
President – Responsible for maintenance of the guild email and correspondence, approval of new members, maintenance of the guild contact list, maintenance of the guild website, as well as interpretation of the by-laws and guild policies/conduct codes as necessary. Any other duties not specifically delegated below are assumed to be under the authority of the president, to be delegated as the president and individual officers agree.
Vice President: Responsible for assisting the President with any duties delegated from the above. Responsible for guild operations should the president become unable.
Treasurer - Responsible for maintaining the guild’s PayPal account (or other electronic funding accounts as applicable), as well as providing quarterly treasury updates for public view in the FWG forums.
Public Relations Officer - Responsible for maintenance of all FWG-branded social media accounts, the FWG blog, the FWG forums, as well as developing and pursuing promotional strategies for the guild.
Markets Manager - Responsible for keeping the markets section of the website up to date.
Coyotl Awards Chair - Responsible for running the Coyotl Awards
Originally the vice president position was in charge of several small bits of what these positions do. With these positions better defined it would be better for the vice president to simply help aid the president in whatever extra work needed to be done to keep the pressure on one individual officer down. In the chance the president is unable to perform their duties they would pass down to the vice president, treasurer, the public relations officer, etc.
Let’s not lie to ourselves, it’s been very difficult to get volunteers to do work needed by the guild. Most people have jobs, hobbies, and are of course writing! Hopefully these positions will allow work to be spread out better so those in officer positions won’t feel overwhelmed while anyone wanting to take on additional responsibilities can know exactly what they are in for. I would still allow officers to maintain multiple positions as long as they have the time needed to do so.
This would also include updating the guild bylaws to actually include rules for a vote for whomever is the Coyotl Awards Chair as we currently lack any such system. While I have been honored to help keep the awards running this year and would love to continue doing so, I understand that some were unhappy that I was placed into that position without a vote. There should be a system in place officially to take care of this function.
Modernization And Updates To The Guild
The website needs a serious visual overhaul, it’s out of date (the theme is no longer fully supported by WordPress even) and could use a fresh new look to make it look more vibrant and modern. Hopefully this will get new perspective members to see we’re active and lively around here! Also I hope to modernize the guild in other ways. There is the potential to move our official slack to Discord, a more commonly used platform, to encourage more activity as an example.
In general I also hope to update guild activities. I have spearheaded the Micro Fiction Monday initiative within the FWG and so far it has been an exciting success as an example. I intend to create a strong beta reading program to help fellow writers improve, create focused groups for working on submissions in markets we know of, and work on events for guild members to continue our strong social presence. Everything from movie hangouts where we discuss the script written to running more exquisite corpse stories to flash fiction events. Hopefully we can create an even stronger social fabric for the guild while helping people improve their writing!
A More Active FWG Blog
This year for Black History Month with the help of FWG members we were able to feature three black authors in the guild with interviews on the FWG blog. This was a project I helped spearhead. Let’s face it, minus major news updates the blog itself has been mostly quiet. I would like to change this and find more ways to feature authors, editors, publishers, and just plan anything else we can think of to help make the FWG blog a more exciting thing to keep checked up on!
Alongside this, we used to give out newsletter updates. This might also be worth bringing back and is something I would like to consider doing. Keep people up to date on the guild, new submission opportunities, and more.
A Full Update Of Guild Membership And The Guild Directory
Through my work with promoting more of our writers via the FWG Twitter, it’s become obvious that our membership directory is out of date. Several members now go by entirely different handles, use different accounts, and likely do not have their emails updated (which we use for things like Coyotl voting confirmation among other things). I would like to make it a priority to make sure our membership listings are up to date and have an actual list of active guild members.
The Implementation of Voluntary Dues
Keeping the guild running is not free. The Coyotl Awards alone would cost an estimate $100 minimum and we still have to host the website which could sorely use an update. In general the guild itself could use a visual overhaul as well which costs money. Implementing voluntary dues could help keep the guild running without having to take as much money from the pockets of guild officers. By sending an email out to our members at the start of each year and asking for something as small as a $5 donation we could help raise funds. If even half our members simply donated a single dollar we would have enough for the Coyotl Awards themselves.
Work Towards Becoming a 501 Nonprofit Organization
Truthfully, this action should have been taken a long time ago but it is understandable why it hasn’t happened. A corporation would need to be formed which is complex and costs money. Not to mention the over 28 pages of forms to become a 501 Nonprofit, the minimum $400 application fee, and the tax filings thereafter.
With the ‘modest’ estimate of $500 needed to even make this happen this will obviously need to be a long term project. I intend to fully research what would be needed and develop a plan towards reaching this goal that can be started in this administration and carry on into any future administrations to be presented to the guild. If agreed upon by a vote we can work towards this big goal!
Get Feedback From Members To Improve The Guild
Look, I took a lot of time to think about these ideas but one mind can never see things from ever angle. I want to get ideas from you, the guild members, on how to better our guild. If any of these ideas seem like they have holes? Challenge them! If I missed something obvious we should be doing? Tell me! I’m not the type to have so much pride I cannot admit when I am wrong. Please help me do all I can to help make the guild the absolute best it can be!
Thank you for taking the time to read my platform, I know there was a lot there and I appreciate you taking time out of your day to do so. I hope that as your guild president I can work towards making the guild better than ever before!