Frequently Asked Questions: AltSciFi Independent Science Fiction Artists and Writers Initiative

Below, you’ll find an “FAQ” of sorts.

Are you proposing some kind of ‘Amazon/Google Killer’?

No. This isn’t Amazon/Google 2.0. There would be no point in doing that. This goes in the opposite direction and asks, “how can we build a network of ‘the little guys/gals’ to make the massive corporate middlemen completely unnecessary? How do we create an alternative that uses the Internet to give control to the fans and creators instead of being mired in yet another greed-driven ‘pay/sales model’?”

Once we have a solid community structure in place and a membership of skilled creators, we will start to attract more people who want the quality that we represent. Only at that point is the question of a ‘business model’ even viable. We don’t even need one, really — as long as you _can_ get paid, you can decide _how_ to do that for yourself.

That said, helping artists figure that part out is also important. The key is that it’s not a core aspect of this project.

What about copyright issues?

There are no copyright issues. That has nothing to do with this project.

Our purpose is pretty simple: connect the fans and the creators. Your copyright is your business; hire a lawyer if it concerns your “bottom line”.

And seriously, if someone wants to crack the copyrights on downloaded content, they can. It’s more a matter of motivation than possibility. Anything that you can see on a screen can be captured, cracked and/or reverse-engineered into a format that can then be torrented or otherwise shared or pirated. It’s more important to focus on and cultivate an audience of people who want to pay for your work, rather than waste your life chasing after people who wouldn’t have paid for it, anyway. Unless you want to be a copyright and intellectual property lawyer, of course. That’s not what this project is about. This project is about connecting creators and audiences who are willing to pay for good work once they find an avenue that feels right.

Maybe some time down the road there will be an infrastructure to help creators deal with legal issues. In the meantime, our focus is on increasing exposure to people who want what you create, and decreasing the middlemen who take an unnecessary cut of what you can earn.

How does this idea work?

If anything, you can post your story (if you’re an author, for example) to your own blog or website and link to it on our subreddit. And if you’d like, we can re-post it on our blog and add it to our Twitter feed. That’s about as far as it goes right now. As I said, this isn’t Amazon 2.0. This is an alternative — something different. That means you’ll have to shed some of your assumptions in order to think about what this is, rather than what you expect it to be.

An alternative to Amazon may be free, or relatively inexpensive with a better profit potential for everyone because it’s not just a “platform” (like the Amazon self-publishing program), but a community that maintains itself and grows intelligently. That may be the best outcome for everyone.

Isn’t this just like [insert brand name here]?

At one point in time, most new services were being compared to something else and plenty of people were saying, “but I don’t get it. Amazon is just like a mail-order service, so it’s a waste of time.” Wattpad was probably compared to Tumblr or WordPress, and so on.

It’s fairly straightforward when you let your brain stop working so hard on making complicated analogies that clearly don’t work very well in any case. This idea is simple. Connect creators and audiences within a community that encourages direct communication via Internet and fosters payment for skilled works of art. See? One sentence sums it up.

The more important questions are “how” and most importantly, “who”. The “How” is already fairly well underway for now (blog, Twitter, subreddit), so “Who” is what this initial period of exploration is designed to find out.

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