This is a post I’ve put off making, because I initially thought it didn’t seem appropriate to talk about the financial side of the SFE while we’re still finishing it. But enough people are asking about this aspect of things (and, indeed, have started giving us money) that it seems worth setting out our view on this. So, some questions answered:
1) How is the SFE funded? Well, our publishers Gollancz have paid for the initial development of the website, and are paying us a license fee. On one level, Gollancz have been generous with the license fee. However, putting together the SFE (like much sf activity) is work that we all undertake for free, or for a lot less than a going rate for our work. The money Gollancz have provided us with isn’t enough to make the SFE sustainable in the longer term. So, with Gollancz’s blessing, we’re seeking alternative ways to augment it.
2) So what other ways does the SFE have of funding itself? Well, the most visible one is affiliations. Most items on SFE bibliographic checklists carry a little “A” icon by many titles indicating that if you click through to Amazon and buy them, we’ll get a small percentage of the proceeds. (Some carry a G icon, indicating instead that the books can be bought from Gollancz’s e-books Gateway.) As it stands, this is only for Amazon UK, but we hope to offer a wider range of booksellers soon. Once we complete the SFE, we want to look at
offering app or print versions if there’s sufficient demand. We might look at carrying advertising, but I think that’s some way down our list of possibilities. And, if people want to donate to support us, they’re most welcome to – though of course there’s no compulsion, especially with the SFE incomplete.
3) OK, I feel like I might want to donate to support you. How do I do so, and what sort of amount might be appropriate? You can donate via Paypal at this page. If you want guideline annual amounts, can I suggest £25/$40 for a frequent user of the SFE, or £10/$16 for an occasional user? But any contribution will be valued. Donors are listed, along with contributors of factual and other feedback, on our Acknowledgments page unless they request anonymity. If you want to donate via a means other than Paypal, get in touch via our contact form.
The other overriding thing I’d say, though, is this. If you feel you can donate to support us, that’s great. If you can’t or don’t want to, no problem. What’s most important to us is the sense that we’re doing something that’s useful for the sf community at all levels (academic, fan, publisher, author, etc.). The continuing feedback we’re getting suggests that it is – and that changes like reforming the old all-capitals links are further steps on this road. We hope that will continue as we move towards completing the SFE this year.