I’m really feeling lucky this got posted in the slack so I could find it. I’m gonna try and mention a few things and hope they help. Before I get to that a little context. I’ve ran a few other kinds of organisations before so have some experience in marketing groups as well as running volunteer organisations.
I’ve got a LOT of time on my hands, I’m disabled and have a lot of time at home that could really use filling up. If there’s a need for a volunteer force to update these things I can be a one girl wrecking crew, send me some sort of message and I’ll be on it. With that out of the way…
- I didn’t realize the Telegram group even existed.
Publicity for things available for the groups need to be improved. A more active presence on Twitter, perhaps even simply scheduling some tweets every week, could be a huge deal. Making sure we’re connected with authors and publishers, building a brand base where people will actually be checking in can help give the guild leverage and popularity. I’m certain there’s furry writers out there that don’t even know the guild exists. It takes big efforts to change that.
In general having a google form where authors could submit when they got books coming out, stories, etc so we can singal boost those active in the guild could help as well. Even organizing something with the Furry Book Review we could help make sure new writers have a review out for a new book day one so they got something on amazon and everywhere else. It’d be a huge perk of joining the group.
Prominently displaying links to the slack and telegram groups right on the site would also be a huge boon, people like me won’t know these things even exist to utilize otherwise. I understand crummy people will come in to try and troll sometimes, but it’s possible to set up tools to make that a pain for them.
TBH I’d also give up slack and move to Discord. No point staying in the past, TONS of furs have Telegram and Discord is incredibly popular and has a plethora of moderation tools. Not to mention you can offer swag to people on Discord. Special color names for folks who’ve confirmed to have beta read a lot of stories, for publishers, editors, etc. Heck even specific chats for some of those people with access provided by their volunteer work for the guild and its members.
Heck in general I doubt most people think they can join the slack or telegram, if they know it’s out there, unless they’re already members. That alone hurts efforts to get more people interested.
- The website is out of date, making it feel unhelpful. The guild needs a facelift and update
Not in all things, but certainly some. The Convention Books page for writing opportunities has information from 2016. Things like that make the guild look as though it is inactive. I get people are busy 100% but there for sure needs to be someone dedicated to keeping the writing opportunities up on the site. Perhaps a google form for publishers to get us the info for them too. People established in furry publishing would certainly offer if asked nicely.
For conventions themselves, I’ve got some connections with staff in big cons. I might be able to reach out to keep them giving us info for any of their books that publish stories too.
In general, the website needs a huge boost. It feels old and clunky. I know that also takes a lot of work and who would volunteer is a valid concern but it still needs doing. If the site looks active, exciting, vibrant, it’s gonna make people think it’s worth joining!
Imagine if whenever a new publishing opportunity was posted there was a blog post on the main page, not only discussing the details, but linking to a discord where a chat specifically to help people writing those stories was? People see the information, know there’s tools to help, beta readers ready, and potential veterans offering advice. They will be eager to jump in
Also this is gonna sound ironic as I type this on a forum, but people don’t use forums anymore. You want feedback? Pop up a google form or something in the chatrooms. It sucks but that’s part of why I think a general update to the guild to modernize could be helpful. Gotta accept the realities of stuff changing and embrace them to keep folks coming in.
It’s a good question, and I’m seeing great suggestions on how to make things better than a social group. When looking at the submissions and open markets… Why don’t we try and encourage submissions more? I like the idea of the Coffee House chats there are, but it would be easy to post things up as writing prompts and have everyone working on them getting together, sharing, beta reading, and submitting. The group itself driving more and better submissions to publishers making them more excited to work with us.
- We need the Coyotl Awards, but something more.
I like the idea of the Coyotl Awads. It’s TOTALLY reasonable that it’s overly stressful if you’re forced to do all the work @Ryffnah that you wouldn’t want to do them. I get that deeply, it’s unfair. Something like the Coyotls I think is helpful to smaller writers in the guild to get their stories in front of folks and get a little recognition when it comes to short stories and the like.
On top of this though there needs to be a yearly Furry Writer’s Guild anthology. Maybe a singular writing topic that’s up all year, put out into book form. With print on demand services places like Amazon offer, it’s totally doable to do this at minimal costs while using any profits the book can get to help with the awards. This alone would make joining the guild worth it, a serious chance at having a story published each year and help of everyone around you to see it happen. Of course to be in it you gotta be a member of the guild.
Heck this provides more than just things for the writers in terms of opportunities. We can get people editing credits on these stories, people can learn about formatting for publishing/ebooks/etc. It not only helps us but can be an amazing resource for people to learn so they could self publish or open up doors for themselves in the future.
The awards and an anthology would help keep the guild relevant and in the public’s conscious a bit more. Kinda goes alongside that marketing stuff from earlier.
Donations are awesome and I love the idea of voluntary dues and said dues giving some special perks. TBH I’d also be down for seeing people able to join the guild purely by paying dues if they haven’t been published yet.
With web hosting, awards, all of that, some sort of crowd funding could be done each year. I’m certain members might be willing to offer stories of various lengths to folks willing to donate and help the guild. Not to mention those could be collected into an ebook for sale, once again potentially bringing in a little more revenue for the guild. We set a goal for a budget that needs to be met to function, and find a way to raise those funds.
Perks should be there too though for folks that volunteer their time as money. If someone is beta reading like 10 stories a month for members they deserve some awesome stuff. They’re making it so people want to even be in the guild for its social aspects.
WHEW I felt like I said a lot. You bet I’m gonna be throwing my name in for elections incoming and I hope I can contribute more than ideas in the future. Like I said, I got a lot of time on my hands. Shove me at the problems and I’ll help!