Author Topic: Is there any point in being a member of the BFS?  (Read 4232 times)

Offline IanH

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Is there any point in being a member of the BFS?
« on: December 08, 2009, 11:33:25 pm »
I've just learned from Jim Steel. fiction editor of Interzone and fellow member of the Glasgow Science Fiction Writers Circle that he got the latest BFS mailing a week ago. I haven't got mine, and I wonder if I'm likely to get it.The reason I wonder is that I was told a couple of months ago - after a membership check - that my membership had expired in May. That's funny I replied, because here's the email you sent me thanking me for renewing it. Ooops, I was told, forgot to update the database. I got the impression from the reply that I had missed a mailing in June, and I still haven't got this one. So what's the point in being a member if you don't get the mailings?

Ian Hunter
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(and poetry editor for Dark Horizons)


Offline Rolnikov

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Re: Is there any point in being a member of the BFS?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2009, 09:49:05 am »
The mailing that's just gone out is the very, very late September mailing, including Dark Horizons 55 and the BFS Yearbook, which many of us already collected at FantasyCon. To make up for that mailing's Prism still not being ready, Martin and Helen also included New Horizons 4, which arrived early, in those parcels.

Helen and Martin's plan is for those of us who collected our September stuff at FantasyCon to get New Horizons 4 in our December mailing, as originally planned.

If you (or anyone else) didn't collect DH55 and the Yearbook at FantasyCon, but haven't received a mailing, email secretary@britishfantasysociety.org to ask what's up... The last update I had was that unfortunately some international members will still be waiting for that mailing while the Yearbook is reprinted.

We're really sorry about the various delays, and we're working very hard behind the scenes to organise things better and ensure we don't have the same problems next year. It's easy for committee members who work in publishing to forget that others don't necessarily have the same experience of booking printers, deciding print and copy deadlines, budgeting for postage, and so on, so we're going to provide a bit more support through a production schedule, and by putting together a committee handbook.

Offline sandranorval

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Re: Is there any point in being a member of the BFS?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2009, 10:52:00 pm »
In your defence I was very excited when I received the mailing and saw the quality of the publications, well worth the wait.

Having volunteered for many organisations I know what a thankless task it can be especially when things go wrong, so from me and I'm sure there are others out there who agree, THANK YOU! I'm sure the learning will improve things for the future and as for benefits of membership, well I'm learning lots and it's interesting reading other opinions too. Plus hoping to book up for Fantasycon soon.

Sandra  ;D
Sandra Norval

Chapter One of Libertine available at www.sandranorval.co.uk
Also find me on facebook and twitter (@sandranorval and @enterthetwixt)

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: Is there any point in being a member of the BFS?
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2009, 03:15:21 pm »

We're really sorry about the various delays, and we're working very hard behind the scenes to organise things better and ensure we don't have the same problems next year. It's easy for committee members who work in publishing to forget that others don't necessarily have the same experience of booking printers, deciding print and copy deadlines, budgeting for postage, and so on, so we're going to provide a bit more support through a production schedule, and by putting together a committee handbook.


I still think it makes better sense to find one capable printer and stick with it for all BFS publications, and not go here and there as seems to be the current case (maybe not for the hardback books). But that's just me thinking aloud :-)



Offline Rolnikov

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Re: Is there any point in being a member of the BFS?
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2009, 04:59:31 pm »
I think this is actually an example of why that isn't always a good idea - the September Prism went to the same printers used for New Horizons, the Yearbook, and In Conversation!

Offline iamacanadian

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Re: Is there any point in being a member of the BFS?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2009, 02:24:54 am »
I think this is actually an example of why that isn't always a good idea - the September Prism went to the same printers used for New Horizons, the Yearbook, and In Conversation!
MPG Biddles, the same as any printing firm, always is able to work better with a pre-booked job. I've no idea if the September Prism was pre-booked, but telling them in June that you'll have a 64-page, stapled publication run in 1,000 copies gives them the information they can set aside time in the production run. If the page number, binding, or page size changes, they still have a block of time set aside for you, as long as you keep to the  If someone comes to them and says, "here you go: when can you have it done?" then that job is at the mercy of the next hole in the schedule. September is also the single busiest time for the printing trade, bar none. All the people who requested time in September's jobs back in the spring come ahead of you. In theory, you could schedule every single issue of all the periodicals for the next eight years, should you want to be that forward thinking. Scheduling at least the next year's worth would certainly be worthwhile and reasonably painless, no matter what printer used.

In the first three months of the year, any printer is seeking work. But, at any any other time of the year, if a printing firm is able to turn around a job like the wind, you have to ask "why aren't they busy?"

And again: this is stated with no understanding of how things were done, nor -- more to the point -- not done. Doing one of these newsletters, collections, and so on is a thankless job. The only time you hear from people is when you've screwed up.
Ian Alexander Martin; Proprietor, Atomic Fez Publishing


Offline Rolnikov

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Re: Is there any point in being a member of the BFS?
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2009, 09:23:43 am »
True, but my point stands - you need to select the best printer for each job. An expensive, quality printer with a four-week turnaround may be perfect for a showcase hardback anthology, but that doesn't mean they're the best option for your small organisation's internal newsletter.

It's worth noting that only one issue of one publication has run into any trouble at the printers - the September Prism, and like you say that wasn't booked in, and was a fortnight late before it even went to them. Everything else has been delivered to the BFS more or less on time.

The problem was that we waited for Prism before sending anything else out, because it was dangled in front of us like a carrot, always a week away! In future we'll be more ready to say, that's not going to make the cut for this mailing, let's proceed without it.

Offline IanH

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Re: Is there any point in being a member of the BFS?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2009, 09:59:23 pm »
Thanks, Stephen, I can appreciate the problems of bringing titles out on time (having failed to do that spectacularly with the first "Raw Terror" anthology which I've just got back from the printers) and the - thankless - task of being a committee member, or volunteering to do something for the BFS. My main problem was being in the awkward/embarassing position of being told that I couldn't take a copy of DH55 (which I had a story in), or the Yearbook because I wasn't a member, despite my arguing to the contrary. Only the intervention of Paul Campbell got me a copy of DH. And I was told that a membership check would be run on me, which it was, and duly confirmed that I wasn't a member. Hang on, I said, what about this receipt email you sent when I renewed in May? Ah, right, we forgot to update the database, sor-ree. And because of that I believe I missed a mailing in June, if there was one.

Ian

www.ian-hunter.co.uk