Authors: If you want publishers to e-mail you, they have to be able to find your address.Liz Bourke's essay over on Tor unpacks this beautifully.)
And particularly over the last eighteen months, I've heard more and more editors and publishers state that they have to expend that effort to reach out to diverse voices.
I'm one of those publishers saying that, after all.
So when a friend had a list of diverse speculative fiction authors at a recent convention, I jumped at the chance to get a copy. I maintain a list of authors for my editors to use, and I wanted to add more voices to my list.
Unfortunately, that list my friend had didn't have contact information. So I got a minion to try to find contact data for these authors. It took a little while, but she got it back to me.
And then I realized I had two big problems.
1. A substantial number of those authors only have social media profiles (or forms on their website) as ways to contact them. The webforms aren't too big of a problem, but the social media stuff is. It just feels super awkward to write:
@AuthorIDontKnow Hey, can you send me your email address for reasons?Especially when I'm trying to collate a list like this - it means I'll have a bunch of tweets all in a row that say essentially the same thing, and might be perceived as a spammer rather than an interested party. I'll probably have to bite the bullet and just start tweeting and hope nobody gets upset.
2. Far, far worse is when authors have no public-facing contact information. Sometimes I can look them up on SFWA's membership roster (since I'm a member), but too often it means I just have a name, nothing more.
Perhaps these folks are already swamped, and aren't interested in more writing work.
But if you're an author and are interested in more writing work, it's important that you have a way (like a nameplate page and e-mail address) that publishers can reach you.