IASD Update 1 – 2016

TomMembership Numbers

Welcome to the start of our first year with our refreshed website.

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My updates during the ten weeks of our restructuring project were intended to keep our members up to date and involved with all we were attempting with the website. In those updates there were multiple topics, but as we go forward I’ll experiment (again), this time with the idea of a single topic.

What are we doing to qualify and quantify our membership?

We are aiming to estimate our membership numbers over the two weeks up to and including Monday 18th January 2016.

Ian’s ‘Census Referendum post on the main Facebook page gives a brief explanation, and there has been a rapid and positive response, but I noted some confusion in replies. This has prompted the topic and tone of my first update of the new writing year.

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Why is it necessary to check and adjust our membership now?

In order to build anything it is necessary to have strong foundations.

As we continue to improve our website, the project will be carried out not only with the consent, but also it is hoped with the participation of our membership.

To enable us to develop ideas and strategies we must have a clear understanding of our numbers. We cannot be expected for example to ask for a majority vote on an action if we don’t know what a majority would be.

Facebook reports us having 608 members in the IASD.
Please trust me – this is not the case.

In a document I’ve set up on my PC, I have now listed 145 authors – taken from both our website and regular checks of our Facebook page over the past two months. If we allow for 100 unpublished members it still leaves us at half of the supposed membership.

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What is creating the problem?

We have a number of authors presently on our website and appearing on our page who desire no more than an extra ‘free’ platform for their work. I know I’m like any other author and appreciate a free ride on a platform, but the IASD is different in several ways to many groups.

* Many hours are spent locating and listing our authors’ details.
* Many hours are spent working on the individual covers.
* Many hours are spent working on the presentation and navigation of the website.

Your Admin team have no issue with the time they give up for these activities, because our willingness is part of the group’s culture of support and discussion. We do these things because we have an active and appreciative membership.

We also have freeloaders.

Example of a freeloader in our midst:
We have a number of authors who have ‘joined’ us simply for publicity. They are only ever seen when asking for shares, likes, votes, sales, etc.

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What do we ask of our members?

If you are a member of the IASD, all we ask is that you make an occasional ‘appearance’ in a thread which is not in the vein of the example of a freeloader I’ve given above.

As a member:

– You could be a writer of any standard, a reader, a reviewer, or a person with skills which are useful to the group: editing, proof-reading, graphics, etc.

– You do not have to be published, or even have written a book, but a regular ‘like’, or ‘share’, or ‘comment’ will let us know you care about the group and wish to be a part of the whole.

– I realise there will be the argument that it would cost nothing to keep the status quo, but I would argue that apart from accuracy in numbers, it costs integrity. I wouldn’t like us to bowl along thinking we were bigger than we were.

– We are not interested in, or willing to allow anybody to ‘freeload’ on the many hours of our support and discussion within the group. Some of our unpublished members are among the most active – and our success has come through inclusion and participation.

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I apologise for what may appear a dictatorial or negative response to the activities of a few.

As always, your thoughts and ideas are all appreciated and noted. I’m sure I speak for everybody when I say we’d like to go from strength to strength as individuals as well as a group of like-minded people.

In summary, we will attempt to establish an accurate membership. If this means we have 300 or less members then that is fine, because we will at least know what a majority vote should look like. If we continue as we are, the Admin might as well dictate what we do and how we go about any amendments.

Thank you for having the patience to read this lengthy explanation.
Tom

22 responses to “IASD Update 1 – 2016

  1. Building a strong foundation says it all, Tom. I did note that there was some confusion on the IASD Facebook site as to what the streamlining of membership entails, and I think this post explains the idea behind that perfectly!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Anne. As you’ll appreciate, even for we creative types it’s sometimes difficult to get the main issues explained without leaving somebody behind. Thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s the discussion part of IASD that makes it important. We have – as you noted – 600+ members but you rarely see a whole lot of those people discussing anything. Anyone can and should join in. Everyone has a voice, but if they choose to not use it IASD may not be the best group for them. Even something simple like Liking a post or simply saying “I agree” every now and then is sufficient to say someone’s getting something out of the group. Writers, by and large, are pretty introverted people and it can be intimidating to penetrate the camaraderie of some of the original member, so some of the folks who are just lurking may just need some time to decide to engage. The people who just continually post ads for their books, though, seem to be missing the point of the group.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks for the explanation Tom. I agree with your points. Eric also makes an interesting point that new members could be intimidated by the camaraderie of the original members. I can only speak from my own experience. I have only been a member for about 6 months and have to say that this is the most welcoming group I have joined. I have never felt intimidated and I genuinely want to participate. For me what has been the best bit of this group has been, not only the support offered to all, but learning about authors and books I had never heard of before. The group has introduced me to some amazing writing. I have also learned from so many of the pearls of wisdom that so many have offered so freely. And what was not to like about the Max Power Awards! Truly exciting. So I trust the judgment of the admin team and back the current endeavours.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Many thanks Barbara, and I hope as a group we manage to encourage all of our members to at least hit that ‘like’ or ‘share’ button occasionally, and perhaps they’ll then gain the confidence to join in. I believe everybody has something worthwhile to say. 🙂

      Like

  4. Well said, that man! I am necessarily only partially ‘present’ in the group at the moment, but I certainly don’t think of it as an advertising platform, and I agree that the basis and intention of the group has always been for mutual support, whatever that turns out to mean in practice (and often that’s something that happens behind the scenes on a personal level.) I’ve felt somewhat overwhelmed myself over the past year to see how the core group has swelled its numbers, and where voices cab get lost in the crowd. I admire you wonderful admin team for all the efforts you’ve put in to keep the group alive, knowing what a sacrifice that must be at times regarding your own writing projects. I’m sure there are a goodly number of members who, like myself, are grateful for the support, encouragement and advice you give. Advertising our ‘products’ (I still can’t think of myself or my books that way!) is the least important function of the group, as far as I’m concerned. Modern life is a lonely business, for all our opportunities for endless communication. Connection is something else – and it’s what we have always strived towards in this group, and what I most appreciate.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Lesley and thank you for joining this post with a comment – and your usual insight. Yes, I think there are some who miss the point of the group. As you and Eric have both rightly pointed out – it’s all about the support and discussion, which is why we renamed it after all. 🙂
      I’m hoping our ‘quieter’ members will feel comfortable in the weeks and months to come, so that they can join in with a comment or two. 🙂

      Like

  5. Thanks for publishing some guidelines for member participation. I follow this website but I’m not certain I’ve “joined” as a member yet. I am a published writer. I would love to be part of your community.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Cinda. Please come back on with a link to your Facebook page and I’ll get you added to the IASD group on Facebook. Once we’ve got you on there – we’ll get you on here too. Have just had a look at your blog, but it’s late so I’ll have to go back tomorrow. 🙂
      Thank you for following us. It is appreciated. Tom.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you’re right in what your doing, it doesn’t seed for to expect you, Ian, and Paul, to work for people who don’t even bother to say hello from time to time. I may not be as active as others, but I do like to drop in and add my views, or tease as the case may be, to certain posts. I think you’re doing a wonderful thing, and at the end of the day you three should have final say 😊.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sallyann, and sincere thanks for your comments and all your participation – which is plentiful. You’re one of our stalwarts. (Don’t worry – that’s a good thing. 🙂

      Like

    • Thank you Ceri. We give new members the feeling of belonging, so I believe it should be for good reason, and having a mutual commitment produces that very reason.:)

      Like

  7. Tom your work is fantastic. I see all my books here except one. “My Life as a Banker.” Maybe I missed it but I looked several times and have not seen it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks, Tom. I really appreciate all the work you, Ian, and the others put into this very supportive group. I’m very glad to have found it over a year ago. Love participating in the Anthologies for Charity and have learned so much about self-publishing. My first novel is almost ready for release and I’ll be delighted to have it added to that very impressive list of book covers. I have read several of the authors aready and am impressed with the writing and creative talent here. You are most appreciated.

    Like

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