Now that I have your attention…
If you’ve seen other posts on this site, then you know that I am an avid reader of lesbian-themed literature. After all, I am a lesbian. So it makes sense that I want to read books that have others like myself as the protagonists. Genre doesn’t much matter. I mean, it does. I have my favorite genres. But I read pretty widely. Admittedly, romances are high on my list, but they don’t have to be contemporary. Historical romances, sci-fi romances, young adult romances…they all have spaces on my bookshelf. As do a number that have nothing to do with romance at all. Again, I ready pretty widely
I’m fortunate to know a lot of the authors who have written the books I’ve read and continue to read. Some of them have even become my friends. A few have become good friends. You know, the kind of person you can call and say, “Let’s talk about your latest book. I have things to say!” And you talk. And there’s praise, but also criticism. Suddenly, it’s a deep literary analysis that would make some college professors proud. But your conversation also flits around to other topics, like how the family is doing or any current health concerns. Yes. I’ve been very fortunate.
While there are many variables that factor into the number of authors I know, I would say the overriding variable is my involvement with the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS). The organization has been around since 2004. The first annual conference was in 2005. In 2019, we’ll be holding our 15th conference in Pittsburgh. Exciting times.
I joined GCLS in 2008 when I learned about it on a forum for Bella Books. It sounded intriguing so I joined and attended my first conference in 2009. I haven’t missed one since. I started volunteering in 2011 – I handled social media. Then in January 2013, I joined the Board of Directors. I’m currently in my final term and will be leaving the board in February 2019. But my involvement won’t end. I’ll still be working on some of the projects I’ve started. I just won’t be doing it as a Board member.
Clearly, I put in a lot of time for this organization. I’m not independently wealthy, so I can’t donate loads and loads of money. I mean, I do. I donate. But I do most of my giving through my volunteer work on the Board. I’ve pretty much dedicated myself to the organization for the past 7 years. I don’t regret it.
Here are some things that some people just don’t realize – or tend to forget – about GCLS:
- We are an all volunteer board. We don’t get paid.
- In the busy times, we will often work 30-40 hours a week. This is especially true in the first 6 months of the year, when we’re gearing up for the annual conference. (Again, we don’t get paid.)
- Membership dues are very low. At $30 a year, we’re cheap. (And we offer scholarships for people having financial issues that would keep them from being members.
- Costs for conference tickets increase only every couple of years. And we struggle – I mean, struggle – over the process of increasing those prices. We don’t want to do it. (And we have scholarships for the conference, too.)
- It costs over $100K to host the conference each year. (C’mon, when we’re paying $60 per gallon of coffee, it’s pretty clear that we’re going to reach $100K pretty quickly. And every microphone we rent for the conference costs about $100. Think about that.)
- Every time we have an event that allows authors to do readings and readers to meet their favorite authors, that costs money. We don’t charge authors or readers to participate. So it’s all outgoing money.
- We have to pay for the technology we use. (Website, conferencing, live streaming, etc.)
- We pay credit card and PayPal fees – and don’t charge those fees back to our members in any way.
- The conference t-shirts we sell? We don’t make a profit.
- Did I mention that the Board of Directors and other volunteers don’t get paid?
Now you’re wondering where this is all going. “Carleen, why are you telling me all of this?” My friends, the answer is very simple.
From November 1 through December 31, GCLS is conducting our annual Fall Fundraiser.
Yes. This is my annual call for donations to our organization. I only do it once a year…bear with me here.
Why should you donate to GCLS?
- We’re a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Your donations are tax deductible.
- You love me and want to support the things I do.
- We are the leading organization for lesbian-themed literature. It’s our focus – we are the “L” in LGBT.
- Representation is important. Our stories must be out in the world.
- Our exceptional Writing Academy cultivates the next generation of exceptional writers in lesbian-themed literature.
- Our organization and our events (including the conference) promote the works and careers of hundreds of outstanding authors.
- Our awards recognize and celebrate excellence in lesbian-themed literature.
- Dorothy Allison thinks were pretty awesome.
- Donations go a long way is helping us keep our membership fees and conference ticket prices as low as possible.
- You still love me – even after reading this long-ass blog post – and still want to support the things I do.
- Membership is not required to donate. You can just be a nice person.
- Did I mention donations are tax deductible?
- Karin Kallmaker will give you a special hug. (Um, I haven’t told her about that part of the deal yet, but I’m sure she’ll agree to it. She’s nice like that.)
So, did I give you enough reasons? Did I convince you? I really hope I did. Because, as a non-profit organization, we really can use the assistance.
And, hey, I’m not asking for 2 months of your salary. I mean, we’re not getting married, or anything. But, you know, $10 is a generous donation. Especially if we can get 300 people to each donate $10. Oh! Or, $25 – the cost of a movie and popcorn. Even $16 – the cost of one book. Of course, if you have $1000 laying around, we won’t say no.
So, please, help keep our voices loud, our stories visible, and our mission a success.
By the way, Beth Burnett really is the hottest woman on the GCLS Board.