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The future of furry writing

Ariosto

New Member
No! This is a great thread. MLR probably will like this anyway. Besides, all this is on topic. If the future of furry fiction is in the mainstream, do we like if we are pictured as "gay fandom" of "fetish fandom" or whatever. As a straight guy who is not into fetishes and who writes mostly general rated prose, I, of course, wouldn't like it, even if I had to accept it as a fact. But if furry doesn't go mainstream, I'm not so concerned. My readers know where I stand and that's enough for me, and other people won't care.

But that's just an opinion, and they can change...

Oh! So it's not a bad thread after all.

I'll say that I heartedly disagree with the "whatever sells" rule. Selling is not the only important thing, that's why nowadays teens are such a bad readers (usually), they take the popular stuff and come to like it becuase it was made to pander them. It's exactly the same problem with anime and moe.

Therefore, if furry writers trully wanted to become "mainstream" with merits, they should improve their writing skills and get someone who promotes them. And if they want to have it great, the should expand their writing topics and not dedicate solely to erotica/sex.

Think of Truman Capote, some of his writings and conversations are really dirty, but he was forgiven. Why? Because of his excellent writing and treatment of various real-life situations.
...

So, furries should try to follow Capote's path?
 

GraemeLion

Member
We have to differentiate two camps here.

For writers, what is on paper is the most important thing.

For investors/publishers, how it can sell is the most important thing.

Writers like to eat. It's handy. If I were to write a literary fiction piece about a husband and wife lion and lioness who went around shutting down gay bars in Furville and stomped gay people for fun, it doesn't matter how well it's written. It wouldn't sell well enough in furry, and no furry publisher would take it. Which means, I don't eat. (Well, I do.. but if the goal is to be mainstream, some writers need money.)

Money isn't bad. Money is how people judge your work. If you're good, you get MORE. So yes, while the art is dreadfully important, even the masters all the way back got PAID.

Let's not forget that Leonardo DaVinci painted the Mona Lisa FOR someone.

Michealangelo sculpted David for someone.

Art has ALWAYS had someone commissioning and paying, and someone creating. We don't talk about the commissioners now, we talk about the artists. We don't talk about how Rembrandt sold his soul when taking money for "The Night Watch," but we do know he got paid for it. There's a desire to lump money with selling out, and that's unfortunate. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to get paid AND doing what you love.

I guess I'm not as worried as other people are about this.
 

duroc

Member
Money isn't bad. Money is how people judge your work. If you're good, you get MORE. So yes, while the art is dreadfully important, even the masters all the way back got PAID.

I don't really agree with this. Money and sales is not a measure of quality. A lot of good authors get overlooked and a lot of not so good authors sell well but are obviously overrated. It really comes done to how the material is marketed and pushed toward a particular audience.

But then again, it comes back around, doesn't it? What sells? Gay fiction. Why does it sell? Because there are more in this market that are gay than not.

This is always one of those topics that puzzled me. When it comes down to reading material in the fandom, whether it is comics or books, what is really out there that is marketed or pushed toward straight people(or even bisexuals for that matter)? Let's look at some of the major publishers in the fandom.

Sofawolf:

Volle
Pendant of Fortune
Out of Position
Shadows of the Father
Fur-Piled
I.S.O.
Dog Days of Summer
X (Yes, this isn't completely gay erotica, but even Sofawolf says it's 70%)
Thousand Leaves
Waterways
Prisoner's Release
Heat(Again, not completely gay, but I would say it leans that way)

Furplanet:
Bridges
Carpe Diem
Profiles
Heathen City
Fang
Seeing Spots
Beyond Hollowed Walls
Within Hollowed Walls
A Single Quivering Note
Trevor's Tricks
The Hero

Rabbit Valley:
Associated Student Bodies
Spooo Presents(Again, not all gay, but I'd say it's 85 to 90% gay material)
Cocktails
Circles

These are some of the major things marketed, promoted, and pushed by some of the major publishers. And by pushed, I mean when I walk up to a table at a furry convention, something from this list is usually recommended by someone at the table. Now, where is the straight/bisexual material being marketed by these publishers? There really isn't any. Or there may be one or two things here and there, but they definitely don't get the same push as the gay material. So how can the fandom say gay is the only thing that sells, when there really isn't anything else to even try and compete?

Now, I'm not saying that if there was straight literature available, it would immediately sell like hot cakes. It wouldn't. It would take time to build a market, and gay fiction has a big head start. But if the fandom were to actually push and market some straight material, I'm curious as to what would happen over time. I mean, even the owners of Sofawolf have said that straight people have bought and read Kyell Gold's books. I myself have purchased a lot of things on the list above. So way couldn't straight or bisexual stories be supported by the fandom's gay community in the same way the straight and bisexual community supports gay fiction?

That's my thoughts anyway. Hopefully this comes out okay and doesn't get twisted around somehow.
 

Alexis

Writer
It does raise a question, most of the lit. I see about on the shelves is pretty conformist and boring... how come stories that involve gay/lesbian couples kept to the odd celebrity come-out here and there?

And as for some previous peeps comment on 'Characters that could be interpreted as furry', a talking badger that wears clothes seems like a furry toon to me :p. So in that respect, furry is out there but there seems to be some confusion that humans are some sort of higher lifeform so animalforms get treated as animals not peeps :)
 

M. LeRenard

Is not French
I just have to butt in here and add one thing:
Why are you guys all ignoring the fact that two anthros having sex isn't the same as two humans having sex? Because that just might be a huge component.
Yes it's true that a lot of novels of various genres contain sex scenes, and sex sells, so people buy those books like no one's business. But I don't think that would work the same for furry literature, so I don't think you could sell furry as well in the mainstream if you put forward the sex first. Yes, that sells within the fandom, because that's what the fandom likes. But when you go outside the fandom, you don't think anyone would start crying bestiality? And as soon as that happens, what happens to the publisher who agreed to publish your gay furry erotica novel?
I guess what I'm asking is, how many publishers would be willing to take that kind of risk, honestly?
In which case, what the market would end up wanting from furry is not the sex, which might just be a deathblow for their company, but rather the other stuff that's not as popular within the fandom.

Just an alternative to this line of discussion about getting it mainstream. Furry erotica doesn't have the same mass-appeal as regular erotica.

duroc said:
So how can the fandom say gay is the only thing that sells, when there really isn't anything else to even try and compete?
That's a good point. A good marketing campaign can make anything popular. Just look at Eragon. Convince one sheep, the others will follow.
 

Alexis

Writer
I can see where peeps get confused, or maybe haven't seen the whole picture.

Sex is a major part of furry fandom. Its probably because the animals that some part of us seeks to emulate don't hide or pretend sex isn't sex when it is sex, we know that a lot of people who aren't furries like to sometimes break from the norm and just plain bone and be dominated. So essentially, furries are more open about it.

Considering pretty much everybody is doing it all the time in some way or another, to pretend it isn't happening is juvenile, which is fine for kids but for grown adults it looks like it leads to unhappiness. So furries don't hide it, we're open about it (Sometimes too open some might say) and so it seems like sex is what being a furry is all about since you don't see it that often normally, unless you're looking.


Maybe if peeps wrote less about sex for once then the overall image would change.
I mean, there's plenty of non-sexual furry content out there on the internet, the problem is... its the internet.
 

KatmanDu

Squeezing the Charmin
Aaargh... is what I write "furry", then? I write sci-fi (none of which is on FA) and transformation stories- shapeshifters, werewolves and what have you. Furry? Anthro? Horror? I should know better than to post at work where I'm distracted.

I'd like to see a guild offer the same sorts of things the SFWA does... support, advice, promotion, advocacy... but it would be a long, long time before it could reach those levels. Most likely mentoring, support, and advice; and examples of what good fiction is. SFWA's membership requirements would be too steep, however; even if qualifying publications were Sofawolf et. al., how many authors meet that in this market?
 

GraemeLion

Member
Maybe if peeps wrote less about sex for once then the overall image would change.
I mean, there's plenty of non-sexual furry content out there on the internet, the problem is... its the internet.

Why?

I mean, I write non-sexual things. I get ten or twenty page views.

I write sexual things. I get 500 to 900 page views.

Let's imagine that I translate that into one story a week, and I charge $.50 a story, if you want to pay, and I get 5% saying yes, I'll pay ya $.50 a story.

That means my non-sexual stories get $26 at the top range. My sexual stories get $1170.

It's not the authors. The authors write what gets readers. They write to the market.

You're blaming writers for writing what the market wants.
 

panzergulo

canTANKERous individual
Maybe if peeps wrote less about sex for once then the overall image would change.
I mean, there's plenty of non-sexual furry content out there on the internet, the problem is... its the internet.

(Emphasis is Alexis')

There's plenty of non-sexual/non-adult/general rated in the fandom, and in FA. As a writer of mainly general rated stories but also some adult stories, I can say the adult stories get a lot more attention. The problem isn't that I am not writing general rated stories. The problem is that less people are reading them. And I am fairly sure when I say that most more or less serious writers face the same dilemma in FA, or any other furry site that allows writing to be submitted. Porn is what furries want to read. And to some (most?) writers, this is a clear sign that they shouldn't be writing anything else than porn...

It's a vicious cycle. As I said in my first post in this thread, the problem that the fandom itself doesn't recognize writing, regarding it only as fanfics and yiff, is something much more important than how people publish and buy novels, book, or stories in the future. If furry writing of all ratings would get more recognition, people might start caring about things like quality and content again... But that's only my opinion.
 

Alexis

Writer
kk, just two things Tigress;

If anthropomorphism is adding human traits to inert objects or other lifeforms, then surely human speech and any attempt at interpreting animal thought is anthro and therefore furry.

As for selling animal characters to adults, I'm gonna take up that gauntlet, watch my space :D
 

GraemeLion

Member
(Emphasis is Alexis')

There's plenty of non-sexual/non-adult/general rated in the fandom, and in FA. As a writer of mainly general rated stories but also some adult stories, I can say the adult stories get a lot more attention. The problem isn't that I am not writing general rated stories. The problem is that less people are reading them. And I am fairly sure when I say that most more or less serious writers face the same dilemma in FA, or any other furry site that allows writing to be submitted. Porn is what furries want to read. And to some (most?) writers, this is a clear sign that they shouldn't be writing anything else than porn...

It's a vicious cycle. As I said in my first post in this thread, the problem that the fandom itself doesn't recognize writing, regarding it only as fanfics and yiff, is something much more important than how people publish and buy novels, book, or stories in the future. If furry writing of all ratings would get more recognition, people might start caring about things like quality and content again... But that's only my opinion.

I have a writer friend who is nameless, but not Kyell, who is intending to write porn to build an audience, and then slowly scale back to general once he's got people interested in his characters. It's a valid tactic.
 

panzergulo

canTANKERous individual
kk, just two things Tigress;

If anthropomorphism is adding human traits to inert objects or other lifeforms, then surely human speech and any attempt at interpreting animal thought is anthro and therefore furry.

As for selling animal characters to adults, I'm gonna take up that gauntlet, watch my space :D

What did I say just a couple hours ago?

I agree with the first one. Something featuring anthropomorphic animals doesn't make it automatically "furry". Calling anything produced outside of the fandom "furry" seems quite egocentric anyway... anthropomorphic animals are much, much older -- probably as old as storytelling -- than the fandom, which is quite a young little thing, when you put it into the right perspective. I understand young people tend to get things mixed up, but let's try and call things with their right names here, shall we? Furry is the fan, anthro is what he or she is interested about, but something featuring anthro doesn't make it "furry".

It's immature, naive, to label everything "anthro" as "furry". A medieval woodcarving featuring a werewolf? Yes, werewolves can be considered anthropomorphic animals... but they are not "furry". An ancient Egyptian painting of one of their animal-headed gods? Yes, sure we can regard it as some level of anthropomorphism... but "furry"... no.

Sorry, but your categorizing has flaws. "Furry" is a sub-group of "anthro", not the other way round. You can't claim everything featuring anthropomorphic animals as "furry". It's like saying... say... every geometrical shape is "a triangle". See that square there? Yeah, it's a triangle. See that rectangle there? Yeah, it's a triangle.

Nope. It doesn't work like that. Something being "furry" must be produced by a furry, to furries... or that's at least my definition. Tell, if you have better definitions.
 

Poetigress

Panthera tigris libris
I have a writer friend who is nameless, but not Kyell, who is intending to write porn to build an audience, and then slowly scale back to general once he's got people interested in his characters. It's a valid tactic.

IMO, that IS selling out. :/ If you want to write porn, write porn because it's what you want to write, not because you're using it as a marketing scheme. I'm not denying that it might work, but that earns very little respect from me on a personal level.

Besides, that may well backfire on him. Once you make a branded name for yourself, it might be tough to get past the typecasting. (After all, Kyell may write more than gay erotica, but that's what his name is probably still going to be synonymous with for a long time to come, no matter what other projects he does.) What's more, you run the risk that your audience may prove fickle if they're not getting their fixes just the way they're used to.
 
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Poetigress

Panthera tigris libris
Nope. It doesn't work like that. Something being "furry" must be produced by a furry, to furries... or that's at least my definition. Tell, if you have better definitions.

Panzer, there's a history of the term "furry" being used a different way. When I first found out about the fandom roughly 10 years or so ago, it seems that more people said "furry" when they simply meant "involving anthropomorphic characters." In other words, a list of "furry books" would be a list of books with anthro characters, not a list of books by writers in the fandom.

Over the years, apparently as the fandom has developed and grown larger, it's become far more common to use "furry" to refer strictly to the furry fandom itself or things that are part of it.

So, to use an earlier example, no, I don't think Aesop or the ancient Egyptians or what have you were "furry" in the sense that the furry fandom uses the word today. But they did use anthropomorphic characters, so calling Aesop's fables "furry" could be seen as accurate in the earlier sense of the word.

So it really does depend on your definition of the word. Obviously, I'm still clinging to a definition that seems to be terribly out of date anymore. :/
 
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GraemeLion

Member
IMO, that IS selling out. :/ If you want to write porn, write porn because it's what you want to write, not because you're using it as a marketing scheme. I'm not denying that it might work, but that earns very little respect from me on a personal level.

Besides, that may well backfire on him. Once you make a branded name for yourself, it might be tough to get past the typecasting. (After all, Kyell may write more than gay erotica, but that's what his name is probably still going to be synonymous with for a long time to come, no matter what other projects he does.) What's more, you run the risk that your audience may prove fickle if they're not getting their fixes just the way they're used to.

It may indeed bite him in the butt and he's mentioned that fear to me. But as he put it , at least he'll have the readers rejecting him, instead of having no readers ever even giving it a chance.
 

panzergulo

canTANKERous individual
So it really does depend on your definition of the word. Obviously, I'm still clinging to a definition that seems to be terribly out of date anymore. :/

I still think it's irresponsible to name everything "anthro" as "furry". Sure, it might work inside the fandom... "furry" is equal to "is of interest to a anthro animal fan". But outside the fandom... quite a few children's novelists and other people might get rather offended if some random web people came and labeled their works as "furry". Nope, I do think the new definition is better.

Another definition candidate: "If the artist/writer/person who made it says it's 'furry', it's 'furry'." This is also my definition for "furry" (person). "Someone is a 'furry' when they say they are a 'furry'." This would automatically exclude everything that is produced by a person who has died before the furry fandom was founded.

Exclude? Why not outclude? Include and outclude. English is a funny language.
 

Poetigress

Panthera tigris libris
But when you go outside the fandom, you don't think anyone would start crying bestiality? And as soon as that happens, what happens to the publisher who agreed to publish your gay furry erotica novel?
I guess what I'm asking is, how many publishers would be willing to take that kind of risk, honestly?

There would have to be some overlap in one aspect or another. For example, an erotica publisher might be willing to publish a gay or straight furry erotic novel. (Maybe. I think things have warmed up a bit thanks to all the werewolf stuff.) By the same token, some of the more avant-garde independent GLBT publishers might be willing to have a go at something furry, either with erotica or something that just has a gay protagonist. These would most likely not be major publishers, though; you're right.

So again, to me this does illustrate the problem of saying, hey, this person is #1 in the fandom, so we need somebody like them to break into the mainstream -- since, as you point out, what's popular here might not work so well for those on the outside.
 

Poetigress

Panthera tigris libris
But outside the fandom... quite a few children's novelists and other people might get rather offended if some random web people came and labeled their works as "furry".

And that's because of the stigma that's grown up around the fandom over the years, unfortunately.

This is also my definition for "furry" (person). "Someone is a 'furry' when they say they are a 'furry'."

On a similar point, there are a number of artists on FA -- obviously aware of the fandom and producing work that they think will appeal to it -- who produce work featuring bipedal animal characters, the same sort of stuff made by loads of other self-named furry artists, and yet these people would absolutely die before they would ever, ever call their work "furry". So who gets to choose what's "furry" in that case -- the artist, or the audience?
 

Altamont

The Bard of the Beasts
I personally think that the best way to go about thinking about all of this is to drop the "fandom" aspect of it altogether; I know, it might seem to defeat the purpose, but I think the very definition of what we as a group collectively identify ourselves as being aapart of, this "fandom", is inherently counterintuitive to the mainstream.

Think of it: There have been innumerable homoerotic and heterosexual novels written for every genre known to man, and it all sells. I personally don't think sexuality is the main point; as MLR said, it's the fact that the stuff is about anthropomorphic animals having sex that keeps it out of the mainstream. Again, as MLR said, that is what doesn't appeal to the mainstream, but doesn't appeal to us.

The animals.

So, as the above posts pontificated, what if the writers of Furry fiction focused less on porn and more on more...tasteful (?) prospects? I personally don't think much would happen. Because it isn't about the sex, it's because we're writing stories aimed at adults that focus on talking animals. The reason that's not going to enter the mainstream is, in my humble opinion, that our society views anthropomorphic animals as "kids stuff".

Keep in mind that when I say "our society" I refer mainly to the United States.

But look at it: what is the one medium where anthropomorphic anything gets exposed to the point of becoming a convention that is borderline cliche? Children's films.

But nobody questions that, right? Rarely have I heard anyone complain about the number of children's films that concern talking animals, because that is where everyone believes them to belong. I personally think the reason that it is so hard for the furry sub-genre to breach in to the mainstream isn't because of sexual content but because people are uncomfortable with talking animals that engage in adult actions (adult as in mature actions, not as in sex) that are not allegorical for some higher, world-reaching theme.

We as a fandom are not bizarre for our love for talking animals, because nearly everyone in their lives has loved talking animals, and nobody I know would ever dislike them. We're considered bizarre by others, I think, because we take those anthropomorphic elements and put them out of the context that the rest of the world is by and large unfamiliar with. And since the world is unfamiliar with it, it doesn't like it.

Not to mention that a majority of the published furry fiction, erotic or otherwise, isn't particularly good, at least in my opinion. Save of course for Mr. Jaques, but I don't want to go near that potential Pandora's Box of flamez.

Sorry to go off on such a rant, but I felt as if I should ad in my two cents :)
 

bfoxxe

Sofawolf One
This has ranged a bit far from the original topic, but I wanted to return to that for a moment with a point I have been hearing on numerous lips "in the biz".

"It's all about the niche."

As has been mentioned, the big distribution model is cracking. Jamming a huge bookstore (or even a small one) with a wide variety of books which you keep for a week or four before remaindering and junking isn't cutting it anymore. No one is happy (except for the shipping companies who make lots of money carrying cases of books around) and with margins tightening, bad things are eminent.

The answer many small publishers and writers are exploring is niche market publishing. The goal is to identify your niche, expand your presence, maximize your saturation, build outwards. There is plenty of success to be had ENTIRELY in the niche markets -- some would even say that on overall value/time ratio there is much more than hoping for that one in a million shot of a royalty advance from a big publishing house.

One author we are aware of wrote a book about the experiences his siblings had while finishing a boat building project after their father died. It was one of those "come together, feel good" things about the family re-connecting after having been apart -- BUT, it was also about boat building. Realizing the basic story was too uninspiring to be of interest with mainstream publishers he self-published and marketed it extensively to the boat building community. It took off. He now has a second book, a movie deal (likely as not will never be realized, but it was money regardless) and plans on how to work into side niches.

It's not that it was a BAD book (though I haven't read it myself -- reading is for those who still have time) it was just lacking a "hook" to folks in the mainstream. But not to those in the niche. He doesn't consider himself a "boat builder" or even has plans to continue the hobby -- and the niche doesn't care. He doesn't have to be ONE OF THEM, he just has to care to speak their language, speak it truthfully and well, and give them the respect they deserve.

We're publishers, and Furry is our niche. (We happen to all be old hands in the fandom too, but that is beside this particular point...) Our job is to identify stuff we think people in our niche want to read, present it in as high a quality as we can muster, and at a price that keeps both us and our hardworking writers and artists afloat. It's fun (okay not all of it) and while we plan to keep trying to push the edges a little bit here and there, we've no plans or interest in trying to compete in the mainstream sea. Why would we?

As for the Kyell Gold discussion, I'll say this. Kyell writes what he likes (and does it very, very well). The market supports what he writes (over 1,000 copies of Out of Position sold in the first year of publication) and supports it. On top of that and the fact that he is a very good friend, he is a consistent producer (a novel of quality every year, without fail) and an author who turns in nearly print-ready material. ANY publisher ANYWHERE in ANY GENRE fights very expensive contract wars over retaining talent like that. I have little doubt that he could do as well in other niches as he does here, and am very grateful that he likes writing what he does.

Anyone else who can write on par (or even par +4) with Kyell: talent@sofawolf.com. We are ALWAYS looking for good material to add to the production schedule and would be delighted to start serving those under-served demographics in the Furry community. We're publishers, and Furry is our niche. :)
 

panzergulo

canTANKERous individual
On a similar point, there are a number of artists on FA -- obviously aware of the fandom and producing work that they think will appeal to it -- who produce work featuring bipedal animal characters, the same sort of stuff made by loads of other self-named furry artists, and yet these people would absolutely die before they would ever, ever call their work "furry". So who gets to choose what's "furry" in that case -- the artist, or the audience?

Let's hear what the people think:

http://forums.furaffinity.net/showthread.php?t=67310

Switzerland is one of the most democratic countries in the world. That is because they vote about everything. And surprisingly, the people rarely do bad choices.

Sorry to go off on such a rant, but I felt as if I should ad in my two cents :)

Rant? I don't see a rant here. It was a fine speech. And you make many valid points. And as said before, I'm not really for furry going mainstream... not truly against it either, though.

Anyone else who can write on par (or even par +4) with Kyell: talent@sofawolf.com. We are ALWAYS looking for good material to add to the production schedule and would be delighted to start serving those under-served demographics in the Furry community. We're publishers, and Furry is our niche. :)

Ha. I'm not selling myself to you, or anybody else. As long as I upload my stories in public and let people read them without charge, I am my own man and I can call my writing 100% mine. Sorry, I'm a street performer.

Nah, the real reason I'm not selling is that I don't have talent.

Sorry about the last part... I'm feeling quirky early in the morning.
 

Altamont

The Bard of the Beasts
Well, a fanfic isn't going to sell anywhere, by definition. :)

And not to be a stickler, but there are numerous novels that could easily qualify as fan-fiction that are widely published; for example:

Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys, a novel that focuses on the origins of Bertha Mason from Charllote Bronte's famous novel Jane Eyre.

Huck, a novel that elaborates on the life of Huck Finn's father

Pretty much anything written in regards to Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos.

Just to name a few :)
 

GraemeLion

Member
Yeah, very true. Items that have exited copyright do have a ton of fan fic and derivative works published for them. And it could also be said that licensed works is a form of fanfic :)

There are some authors out there that only do licensed work, and have had real trouble exposing themselves outside that.

But, for the sake of definition sanity, I'm assuming fanfic to be unlicensed.
 

Fere

Member
Nah, the real reason I'm not selling is that I don't have talent.

Everyone has some modicum of talent in any one particular field, or indeed fields. It's whether one has the committment and staying power through both praise and critique that defines a success.

In this respect, I think we can count ourselves lucky to be a part of such a vibrant community that is more liberal, open and free-thinking than most can ever hope to be.

Anyone else who can write on par (or even par +4) with Kyell: talent@sofawolf.com. We are ALWAYS looking for good material to add to the production schedule and would be delighted to start serving those under-served demographics in the Furry community. We're publishers, and Furry is our niche.

And this is a perfect example of such. The support base and routes/branches made available to us are as good as they can ever be, given the niche status. The health of furry writing lies within the community's structure, as an entity whose members actively seek to support one another. A continuation in seeing through the artistically niche/underground aspect of works, might encourage writers to see it all as an evermore 'common rarity'.

As one very famous man said... "power to the people".
 

Poetigress

Panthera tigris libris
community that is more liberal, open and free-thinking than most can ever hope to be.

In some aspects, that's true. In others... not so much. But that's another topic, and one that doesn't really relate to writing.

The support base and routes/branches made available to us are as good as they can ever be, given the niche status.

I disagree with you there, but I think I've already covered where I feel some of the problems are.

as an entity whose members actively seek to support one another.

And I have far less faith in that than I used to, honestly. Too few people want to support much of anything that doesn't personally and directly benefit them. But that's a human problem, I suppose, not one endemic to the fandom. *shrug*
 
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