Some years ago, I came across a fledgling organization called Broad Universe, aimed at helping women spec-fic writers around the world. I thought it sounded neat, so I signed up; since then, other than dutifully renewing my membership every year, I’ve almost entirely ignored it. I’ve helped out with this n that, and participated in stuff like the Full Moon Blog Hop, but taking advantage of my BU membership isn’t on my mind most days.
(By the way, if you’re already a member of Broad Universe, you probably already know all the stuff I’m about to talk about. Feel free to skip to the end and post a comment about your experience with BU!)
I just took a look through the BU web site to see what’s going on lately, and I’m . . . mad at myself, honestly, for not taking advantage of all this cool stuff. For example, I knew about the Rapid Fire Readings at conventions–where a group of BU authors get together for a panel in which we read 5 minute excerpts of our work out loud–and I knew about the convention sales table, where BU members can hang out and take shifts selling their work over the course of the convention. I’ve always liked participating in the former (SO much fun!) and never bothered with the latter (I usually already have a sales table through The Scribbling Lion).
But there’s more. Oh, my, my, so much more. I’m very behind on what this little organization has blossomed into.
There’s a catalog. Granted, it’s still a bit basic in appearance, but it gets the job done.
There’s an Active Members Directory that lists author web sites, bio blurbs, and whether the author in question is available for speaking gigs (very important!). Again, more functional than fancy, which is perfectly fine by me. (I’m listed on this page, if you’re interested.) 😀
The Events Page is the most biggest coolest (err…. I mean…. I’m a bit tongue tied, sorry) — I really like how the Events Page is developing. It’s a fabulous list of upcoming events, from big to small, conventions, conferences, individual parties, online, offline, Twitter, FB, you name it. Never mind the organization involved behind the scenes, the members that are coordinating advertising efforts, attendance, schedules, talking points, outreach … well, okay, mind that. It’s a huge amount of work. But while the calendar itself may be the tip of the iceberg, it’s a BIG FREAKING DEAL for folks like me who are always scrambling to remember what happens when in the spec-fic convention world. That alone is worth the $30 a year, to me!
One of the newer additions to the organization’s perks is a discount on NetGalley access. That doesn’t particularly interest me at the moment, but apparently other folks find it handy. Maybe I’ll check that out eventually.
There’s a lot more to this iceberg, as I mentioned above. User forums, Facebook groups, blog hops, advice on every imaginable aspect of writing, self or trad-publishing, promoting your work, and overall cheerleading throughout–which is no small thing, let me tell you.
If name-checking is what gets your attention, I’ll point out that Gail Z. Martin, Danielle Ackley Mc-Phail, Elizabeth Black, Valerie Estelle Frankel, John Hartness (yes, guys can join!), Laurel Anne Hill, Paula S. Jordan, Jody Lyn Nye, and Jean Marie Ward are all members.
Writers of speculative fiction really need to check out this group. It’s worth the price tag, and I say that as someone anxiously counting pennies and side-eyeing travel costs.
Please feel free to comment with questions, but do take a moment to see if the BU site already answers them first!