Ocean suggested I should write this up and pose it to the FWG at large. It stems originally from a discussion of what used to be maintained at Yiffstar as the “recommended reading” lists (first by Bahumat and Toumal, and then later by Jeeves and Toumal). I think it’s conceivable that they were supposed to be replaced by the Groups functionality at that site.
The FWG has a SoFurry group, but I don’t know who maintains it or what the mandate was intended to be — is it intended to be a private group for discussing Guild news? It collects a few stories, but the news is private and I can’t read it so I don’t know what the history is.
Irrespective, it seems to me that there is a chance to use a (or more than one?) FWG group here, in two ways —
[ul][li]Using an FWG group to highlight submissions from FWG members when they post there. That lets readers quickly find good stories (or, where it’s used to post excerpts from print stories, to find what anthologies and novels they should be buying) and gives FWG members a signal boost since discoverability remains an issue.[/li]
[li]Using an FWG group to curate the next generation of recommended reading lists, which at this point have fallen into the domain of word-of-mouth. But what if, in the capacity of a organisation intended to “Support, inform, elevate and promote quality anthropomorphic fiction and its creators” we published a monthly or quarterly list of recommended reading? Surely that’s in our mandate.[/li][/ul]
I use SoFurry here as a proxy for FA/InkBunny/Weasyl/etc., since I assume that similar functionality exists there. But I also mention it because I know the numbers for SF, and where anthropomorphic fiction is concerned I think we should take a moment to appreciate the scope of how much furry writing there is. Because the answer is really cool:
In 2014 alone, around 16,500 stories (that is, not journals or images, just content tagged as “Stories”) were added to SoFurry. At an average length of 4100 words, adds up to 67.7 million words of new furry content. Amazon says the median novel length is 64kwds, so that’s about 3 novels a day. From one site!
This is fantastic! And it’s both an opportunity, and a problem. It’s an opportunity because it’s a massive audience, because it’s a potential market, and because the thousands of writers there are our comrades-in-arms, or at least comrades-in-words. It’s a problem because with that much content, finding the best of the best is tricky. Which would be where the FWG could be a light in the darkness!
Have we ever considered doing that?