Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Broad Universe Anticipation

I've run Rapid Fire Readings, I've worked book tables, I've been on panels - but at no other convention have I had the pleasure and responsibility to be this deeply involved with Broad Universe promotion.

And, in case you're new to the blog:

Broad Universe ( is an international organization dedicated to promoting women in science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and other genre work.

(I stole most of that elevator speech from Phoebe Wray, Prez of the Motherboard, to give credit where credit's due.)

If it wasn't for all the help and support of BU, I would not likely have as many fiction publications and experience as I do now. We have a great Yahoo! Groups list where we do a lot of networking and cheering each other on. We bring each others books to conventions. We organize Rapid Fire Readings (where we squeeze as many women readers into whatever panel slot an convention gives us) at as many conventions as we can. We have several newsletters and online lists of member publications. And, we continue to grow with new programs - such as the Mary Shelley Birthday Party this year put on by Broads in the New England Area.

Onto Worldcon:

In addition to the Party! which I already posted about, Broad Universe hosted an information table where members could put out promotional items about their publications. We also had our freshly printed New Release book, highlighting members' pubs for 2009, information on the organization, and advertising for our Rapid Fire Reading and Party. There were stickers, bookmarks, free CDs, palm flyers and more - and I don't think I ever found the info table unattended - so someone was always there to talk to interested con attendees.

Our Rapid Fire Reading showcased 12 members (was 15, but the time & room change lost 3). Despite the room & time change, we ended up with a good-sized audience - and we had a lot of fun as we usually do. The selections included all science-fiction, fantasy, horror, flash, poetry, and even some filk! I read a little from "Party Crashers," and then shared my poem "Love Song for an Immortal."

Another early hour of 9AM didn't detract much from the "Broad Universe Presents…" panel, either. We still had a good crowd and some excellent discussion about women's presence in genre fiction - and how to help women gain more of a stronghold when things are still unfairly favoring male writers. We shared statistics, anecdotes, and positive plans - many of the conversations following us out into the hall, into other panels, and even to our party!

There are a lot of reasons women need the support of organizations like Broad Universe. For example, here is a page of stats from our site. Phoebe shared even more up-to-date statistics at our panel. Other points that were brought up is that only about a third of the submissions going out are of women, yet there are so many women who want to write and are writing - but aren't submitting. Events like Broad Universe Mailing Parties remind women to submit their work - so they CAN be published.

Check out the Broad Universe webpage, our newsletter - and most of all, our members' publications. Look for us at more conventions - especially in 2010 where I'm already scheduling Rapid Fire Readings. It will be our 10th Anniversary - so we're in celebratory mode for how far we've come, even as we continue to reach for the stars - where we ought to be.


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