The past twelve months have seen interesting developments in the Netherlands. First, and maybe most important for authors and readers alike, is the establishment of a foundation for the promotion of the fantastic genre (tentative name: FANTASTISCH GENRE – Stichting ter bevordering van het fantastische genre). The most prestigious contest for speculative fiction short stories in the Netherlands and Belgium, the Paul Harland Award, is organized by this foundation. The people behind FANTASTISCH GENRE have great plans for the award, which they rechristened Harland Award. This year’s presentation of the winners was for the first time visited by representatives of some major publishers. And a new award for books was announced. FANTASTISCH GENRE is also responsible for the speculative fiction part of Hebban.nl, a site that may be characterized as the Dutch counterpart of Goodreads.
So far so good. What still needs to be realized is a support organization for authors, modeled after the SFWA in the United States. There have been rumors that the board of FANTASTISCH GENRE is thinking about this aspect as well, but so far it is not mentioned on their policy page. However organizing authors is now more important than ever, because old publishing models are failing and the majors publishers don’t seem to have any idea how to cope with this. Lately I have read a lot of complaints by Dutch authors about the ever higher demands from their publishers. Clearly new business models need to be developed to prevent the loss of good authors to the vast and anonymous ocean of self-publishing. I hope that we will soon see a Dutch counterpart of the SFWA to represent our authors.
Website of FANTASTISCH GENRE (still under development): http://www.fantastischgenre.eu