Last year we conducted a survey to find out a little about what our membership thought of the organization and its direction. Thirty-seven people responded. Thank you to everyone who participated – the survey has given the committee plenty to mull over.
Presented below are summaries of the answers we received for each question.
(In the cases where the percentages add to more than 100, it’s because of multiple answers in a single response.)
How would you describe the current phase of your writing career?
- Returning to writing: 14%
- Just starting out and wanting to know more: 30%
- Some experience: 46%
- Experienced with major publications: 11%
In what way, if any, has SpecFicNZ helped further it?
- Contact with other writers, (encouragement, critique, monthly meet-
ups, being part of a NZ community): 74%
- News and links on the website: 7%
- More knowledge on opportunities: 22%
- None directly as yet: 7%
- Giving an online presence 11%
Other things mentioned were reminders of when submissions are due here and abroad, and several alluded to the fact that it was New Zealand writers they had contact with and news about, not feeling so solitary.
How has information provided by SpecFicNZ been of professional value to you?
- Learning about writing opportunities (competitions, publications, markets): 44%
- Active help in promotion of a book tour, promotion of books,
helping towards publications and being placed in competitions (through
our information on the web site.): 15%
- Liked the sense of support, encouragement and network: 15%
- Adding to ones background information and news: 12%
- Too early in career or not greatly yet: 24%
Do you attend the SpecFicNZ local meet-ups?
- Yes: 46%
- No: 54%
Reasons for “no”:
- Don’t have time
- The weekends are too busy
- The particular time isn’t right for me
- Too far away/ None in my area
Valuble aspects for those who answered “yes”:
- Like to hear others’ experiences and learn useful tips
- Some people would like to have some set topics for discussion
- Some people would like more writing content
- Like meeting other writers/ no longer feel isolated
- Would like to have some organised talks
- Would be good to vary the time, perhaps with some evenings.
What other writing communities, online or otherwise, are you currently involved with, and what do you like about them?
What type of groups?
- Small writers group meeting in person: 33%
- Blogs: 10%
- Kiwiwriters.org: 7%
- Readstrange: 7%
- NZ Society of Authors: 7%
- Hagley Writer’s Institute: 4%
- Creative Hub advanced fiction course: 4%
- Various online and email groups, either unspecified or only being mentioned once each: 50%
- None: 30%
What do you like about them?
- Encouragement: 13%
- Feedback on work: 10%
- Learning about writing: 7%
- Calls for submission: 7%
- Discussion: 7%
- Critiques: 7%
- Info about writing events: 7%
- Links to blogs and writing articles: 7%
- Advice: 4%
- Submission parties: 4%
- Writing challenges: 4%
- Monthly contests: 4%
- Networking: 4%
- Information (unspecified): 4%
- Inspiration: 4%
- Writers being at a similar stage / commitment / having similar personalities: 4%
How often do you visit the website?
- Daily: 11%
- Weekly: 20%
- Monthly: 54%
- There’s a website?: 14%
For what purpose do you visit the website?
- Just to see what’s going on: 40%
- Useful links & information: 11%
- Links to members’ blogs: 9%
- Members’ success stories: 9%
- To update profile: 3%
What features would you like to see added?
- Info on NZ markets: 23%
- Forum: 9%
- Articles and advice about writing: 3%
- Critique venue: 3%
- Q&A for writing advice: 3%
- Guest posts from writers: 3%
Have you participated in NZ SpecFic Blogging Week?
- No: 79%
- Yes: 21%
If not, what might tempt you to participate in future?
- Nil, ie, “Nothing could make me blog”: 6%
- Chocolate: 3%
- More regular news: 3%
- Having a general members blog to add to: 3%
- To promote own work: 3%
Reasons for not participating:
- Not interested in blogging: 13%
- New to blogging: 9%
- Not having a blog: 9%
- Not enough time to blog: 6%
- Didn’t know it was on in time: 3%
- Blogger, but not specific to SpecFic: 3%
- Couldn’t figure blogging out: 3%
If so, how do you think it could be improved?
- Earlier notice: 22%
- Better promotion: 6%
- More communication with other NZ lit blogging communities: 3%
- Master posts listing all entries: 3%
- Layout of blogs/blog titles could be improved: 3%
- An idea a day for what to post about: 3%
- Complaint that there are too many blogs: 3%
- Make it more simple: 3%
What types of content would you like to see in a new, improved SpecFicNZ newsletter? (Articles about writing, author interviews, success stories, short fiction, publication news, calls for submissions, etc.)
- Calls for submission: 74%
- Articles about writing: 71%
- Author/editor/publisher/agent interviews: 65%
- Success Stories: 62%
- Publication News: 50%
- Short Fiction: 47% (With 11% seeing short fiction in a newsletter as negative or problematic.)
- Market news: 3%
- Info about NZ publishing courses: 3%
- Book/media/writing books and writing software reviews: 3%
- Writing challenges or mini contests: 3%
- SpecFicNZ regional updates: 3%
- Featured member interviews: 3%
- Contests and competition announcements: 3%
- Crosswords: 3%
- Quizzes: 3%
- Website resource links: 3%
In what ways would you like to see SpecFicNZ play a more active role in supporting local Spec Fic publishers and publishing markets?
- Interview/articles about publishers/more info/feedback on what they want: 20%
- Contests in conjunction with them: 10%
- Master list of recommended publishers with writer feedback about experience with them: 7%
- Post market news about them: 7%
- Make sure they know we exist: 7%
- Mutual Advertising: 7%
- Team up with them for events/signings, readings, launches, writerly events: 7%
- Buy their books/book fair: 3%
- Post calls for submissions: 3%
- Publisher/writing mixer event: 3%
- Get them involved in local Cons: 3%
- Fundraising assistance for smaller pubs: 3%
- Encourage them to publish anthologies of NZ work: 3%
- NZ publishing workshop like Tim Jones did: 3%
- Member voted SpecFicNZ book of year: 3%
- Offer to review their books: 3%
- Work to get NZ authored work in bookstores: 3%
How has SpecFicNZ helped you connect with other NZ writers and creative people? How would you like to see it improve in that role (facilitating critique groups, hosting forums, etc.)?
- Forums: 34%
- Critique groups: 41% in favour of, but 6% against
- Meetups: 19% either enjoyed or would like to attend, 3% considered the current meetups inadequate
- Contact with other NZ writers: 6%
- Enhanced meetups with presenters/guests/topics: 6%
- Writing seminars: 6%
- Engagement with writing community beyond SpecFic: 3%
- Growing the membership: 3%
- Interactive emailing list: 3%
- Facilitating mentoring: 3%
- Creating pitching opportunities: 3%
- Organising writer-focused cons: 3%
- Organising writer groups: 3%
- Getting involved in specifically writer-focussed streams for cons: 3%
- Writers retreats: 3%
- Writing Workshops: 3%
Has SpecFicNZ treated you as a valued member?
- Feel valued: 76%
- Do not feel valued: 3%
- Did not clearly state whether they feel valued or not: 21%
If not, what can we do to improve our member services?
- Do not try and do too much, but do it well
- Be aware of differing needs of writers at points in their careers
- Reaching out with active local groups and progress emails