Archive for the ‘FemSFBookswap’ Category

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!


WisCon 31

Welcome to everyone joining us via WisCon 31! We expect to get a big jump in membership this weekend and we hope that you’ll enjoy the bookswap. After the con there will be several new books to swap as many publishers have agreed to give us review copies. If you’re still at the con and now officially a member of the bookswap, come find the Angry Black Woman/K Tempest if you want to take home a swap book.