New Direction for the SFBookswap

I first wrote most of the entry back before the beginning of the year, but it’s taken me a long time to put the pieces into place and make everything work. Already our little operation has been through a fitful start and a rebirth, and now it’s time for some more changes. Not unpleasant ones, though. Hopefully the changes I talk about here will make the bookswap even more useful for everyone. It’s just a shift in philosophy based on some learning I’ve done through this process.

When I first started the bookswap, my idea was a lofty one. To create a community of people who were interested in women’s F&SF and wanted to participate in the genre’s awards process. I figured that everyone would be excited about getting new books, reading them, passing them along, and reviewing them. I was partially right. There were many people who were interested. However, the thing I failed to understand at first (which I completely do now) is that most readers, even voracious readers, are not interested in reading every available book in order to decide which books are worthy of nomination and awards.

As I said, this is not a notion I am laboring under, anymore.

I also really failed to take into account that, on most award ballots, there is one, maybe two slots for novel-length work and 3 – 5 slots for short fiction. And though novels get most of the attention, it’s much easier to read widely in short fiction.

This led me to ponder what changes we can make in the SFBookswap.

First, we’re going to put a lot more emphasis on reviewing books and calling attention to stories here. Jasmine will continue highlighting all of the online stories written by women. I will start collecting information about print stories and pointing to reviews of them. We now have several new book reviewers associated with the site, and in the next few months you’ll start seeing their reviews on a regular basis (more on that later).

Second, in terms of swapping, I would like to bring those interested to the blog itself instead of trying to maintain a community elsewhere. This way, you won’t have to sign up for yet another bulletin board/social networking site/whathaveyou. We’ll also focus on swapping magazines more than books, since they’re cheaper to ship/pass around and, again, contain short stories. Plus, people are more willing to let go of magazines than they are of books, especially books they love.

I would also love if we could set up the swap so that most of the transactions happen at cons — the major ones throughout the year: Worldcon, World Fantasy, Readercon, WisCon, Boskone, etc. — with some happening through the mail. I feel that this will only happen if the community is interested, so I’m willing to sit back and see if it develops, rather than attempting to coordinate it right away.

Each time we post a review, we’ll indicate whether that book or magazine is available for swap. If you’re interested in it, just comment (and leave your real email — no one can see it but the admins). You just have to be willing to post your thoughts on the book once you’re done with it. And if you pass it on after that, all the better.
The idea is to make the bookswap blog a nexus of information on SF literature written by women and a guide to those that are worth reading and perhaps even worth nominating. It will also be a place that readers can come to if they don’t have access to recent fiction. The basic ideal is still there — to provide readers who need it with recent fiction so that they can take part in genre award nominations.

If you’re interested in becoming part of the swap, all you have to do is keep an eye on the blog. You can bookmark us, subscribe to our feed, or friend the feed on LJ. If you definitely want to get books to swap, the best way to do that is to become a reviewer. For details, send us a note through the Contact page.

And if you’d like an introduction to the reviewers who’ve already agreed to be part of the project, check the comments. A few of them will come by to introduce themselves.


P.S. We have some other changes coming up this summer, including adding fiction written by People of Color to the swap. Keep watching!


  1. My name is Maggie. I am a recovering anthropologist who lives in Idaho. Currently I stay at home with my two boys (six and almost three) and write SF/F and grants in my spare time. I am also a voracious reader, and love all types of … well… writing, but I am definitely a speculative fiction fan.

    I keep a semi-regular writing journal at and a personal journal at .

  2. Hi all! I’m Lisa, a.k.a Keix, short for Keilexandra. I go by all three, so feel free to call me whatever suits your fancy. I’m one of the new book reviewers for SFBookswap and Fantasy Magazine. Primarily I am a voracious reader of fantasy (the fantasy of manners subgenre in particular), but I’ve expanded into SF of late and quite enjoyed the venture. I’ve also made a personal commitment to read more fiction by women and POC, so becoming a reviewer of exactly those types of books seemed like a perfect fit.


  3. Hi. I’m Lynn, a writer and editor who is going back to full-time fiction writing for a few months, then easing into freelancing again. (This after years of working as a tech writer, marketing writer, content manager for a web site, etc.) I started out in book publishing, a job I still love.

    I have a severe case of abibliophobia — the terror of being caught without something to read. Consequently my car is always stocked with Something to Read (AKA, more books than some people keep in their houses), and I love my PDA because it means I can always have the complete works of Jane Austen, the Brontes, and Oscar Wilde in my pocket, as well as various other beloved books.

    I keep a blog about books, landscape, politics, and California culture at

    My personal journal is at

    I *will* be at WisCon!

  4. Hey, my name’s Ari, and I’m from Brooklyn, NY. I’m a web and graphic designer, and part time editor/betareader. I’m a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy literature, so I’m definitely looking forward to being a reviewer for this project.

    My personal website ( is where I keep most of my art and writing, but at the moment it’s being revamped from the bottom up.

  5. Hi, I’m Anna, and I’ve just returned to Canada after a five year absence. It’s lovely, but I must admit – I forgot how cold it was!

    My travels haven’t left me much time for books, so I’m very excited to get back into reading and talking about books with people who also get excited about reading.

  6. Salutations! I’m Deborah, beleaguered English teacher by day and practicing writer always. (I miss my Japanese students, whom I taught in Tokyo for two years. These American students are not so nice. At least in my school.) I’m in the process of building my website and my reputation as a writer, but I’ve been reviewing books and films since 2004. I write for Green Man Review and you’ll soon be able to access a listing of my reviews there on my website.

    I’m very pleased Tempest has offered me a chance to review for another excellent site and even more excited that we’re fostering an interactive community here. Also, I just have to say it’s excellent that we’re going to have some focus on short stories: I love reading short fiction in magazines and anthologies and I really feel they often don’t get as much play as they should.

    Should anyone wish to read me on Livejournal (in addition to the SFBookswap feed on LJ, of course), you can find me at:

  7. Howdy. I’m Jules, a poet and sometime fiction writer. I’m another new reviewer here, and I’m very excited about the emphasis. I’ve done reviews for Strange Horizons and The Fix, as well as posting a few to my own journal, which can be found at

  8. Unusualmusic

    I am a student, a voracious reader, and completely addicted to the internets. See me on LJ under that name. 🙂

  9. *waves* Hi, I’m Shira. I live in Geek Central (Boston) with my husband and daughter, also reviewers (send us the YA stuff if you want a genuine thirteen-year-old’s review!), and three cats, who sit on books all the time but have yet to offer a substantial review of any.

    I also write stuff, mostly SF/F; I have a web-based urban fantasy world with a story unfurling at, and you can read my ongoing flash-fiction-from-reader-prompts series at

    I’ll be at ReaderCon and WisCon, and would love to participate in bookswaps there. 🙂

  10. last time, i joined a writing contests on the internet and i won a small price for writing a nice piece of writing :;”

  11. Very well written story. It’ll be beneficial to anybody who utilizes it, including this writer . Keep doing what you really are doing i will definitely read more posts.

  1. 1 Feminist SF - The Blog! » Blog Archive » SFBookswap News and Award Time Again

    […] want to call your attention to the SFBookswap blog, where there is some news. When I first started the bookswap, my idea was a lofty one. To create a […]

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