Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Owww...RWA Makes My Head HURT!

Is it just me or does it seem that at least once a year there is a new uproar over something RWA did or did not do? Honestly, I am sick to death of these people. I joined RWA in 1992. I was a brand new writer, learning my craft and unpublished. This, I was told, was an organization who would support me and help me achieve my goal of becoming a published author. All I had to do was send them some money once a year. In return, they sent me a nifty little magazine once a month and they would also let me come to their yearly back-slapping, mutual admiration society convention, assuming I could afford the air fare, the fees, etc. to attend. Local chapters were all over the country but that didn't help me much because there isn't one near where I live. I've heard there are great local chapters that are very inclusive to e-pubbed writers and some who aren't accepting at all.



In the end, all it really allowed me was a feeling that I was never quite good enough. Even when I became published and actually started bringing in some pretty good money, I felt like the bastard child at the family reunion. The one who had to stay in the corner and not say too much. This was because I was e-published rather than "really published" by a big house in New York.



Over the weekend, I read tons of posts on loops and lots of blog posts about the recent kerfuffle with RWA and the RWA President. RWA Powers That Be are up to their old tricks. This is nothing new folks. They've tried for years to distance themselves from e-published writers and it will continue into infinity and beyond. If you're new to RWA, I understand your outrage perfectly. I felt the same way years and years ago. Finally, I just gave up and decided to drop my membership last summer because it was quite obvious to me that I would NEVER be good enough in their eyes. They continually go out of their way to de-value what we do.



They see e-publishing as just not quite good enough despite the fact there is plenty of quality writing and spellbinding stories coming from the e-publishing world and I know for a fact there are lots and lots of bad books to be found in brick and mortar stores. I actually LIKE the fact that I'm paid monthly and don't have to wait for six months or longer for a check.



Issues that have cause outrage over the years are almost too numerous to mention. E-publisher recognition, first sale ribbons, PRO and PAN qualifications. Several years ago they didn't want e-pubbed authors to sell their print books at the literacy booksigning because the covers were deemed too "naughty". BLECH. Oh, and don't forget the RITA and GOLDEN HEART. E-pubbed writers couldn't enter the RITA because, well, it's an e-pubbed book but yet, couldn't enter the GOLDEN HEART because, well, you're a published author despite the fact RWA doesn't really consider you a "legitimate" author. Hmmm. Then they began to set 'number of copies sold' limits for e-publishers yet they raised the numbers yearly to prevent a publisher from being 'recognized'. Each challenge was met but they kept raising the bar.



Bottom line folks. RWA will never treat e-published authors as anything other than a red-headed stepchild. I applaude those who are trying to promote change from within. I've heard that before too. It's been tried many times. Let me say straight off that I hope you are successful but I'm not holding my breath. RWA will never change. They refuse to see e-publishing as a viable option for both writers and readers and frankly, the world is progressing, looking forward, while they continue to preen about how they are 'real authors'.



Okay. Nuff said on that. I wish everyone luck. If a miracle happens and things DO change, I'll be first in line to re-up my membership. If not, no problem. I'll continue writing my ebooks and making money.

24 comments:

Molly Daniels said...

It cracks me up that now some of the established NY authors are now e-publishing their books! When Nora and Danielle start selling more of their e-books, THEN will RWA stand up and take notice?

Or did I just read that post wrong (can't remember where I saw it now...)??

P.A.Brown said...

I for one have never had an RWA membership and doubt I ever would even if they changed their policies. They are overpriced and give little in return. I felt the same way about Mystery Writers of America which I joined as soon as I published my first mystery, only find they consider anyone not an American a second class member. As a Canadian I couldn't even be a regular member but had to take associate status -- same amount of money though. They are the only writing organization I know of who does this.

Personally I'm beginning to doubt the value of most writing organizations. Too few of them take money but don't offer much in return.

Paris said...

What bothers me is that without an education about e-publishing, new writers will be signing away their secondary "e-rights" to print publishers who will be publishing their ebooks cheaper alongside their print copies. I could care less about the Rita and the GH, what I care about is big publishers setting standards that will become the norm ten years down the line.

I learned to write in RWA but I'm having to learn the business elsewhere. They are supposed to be advocating for authors but I'm not seeing it. That's my big problem.

Regina Carlysle said...

Actually, what I'm hearing is that many NY pubbed authors moving into digital. When they get rights reverted back on older books, they are reselling them in the digital market. I personally believe most print authors realize their is a viable market for e-books but there are SOME who prefer to adopt an elitist attitude.

Regina Carlysle said...

PA, that makes no sense. A member is a member and it's wrong to take your money yet not let you be a full member. SOme of the best writers out there are Canadians. We're all in this gig together and all should be supported. That's just wrong.

Regina Carlysle said...

I think, Paris, this is where we must cultivate our 'writer friends'. Honest to GOD. I've gotten more good advice from my writer friends over the past year or so than ANY organization and it's FREE.

Debora Dennis said...

I'm in the "I LOVE my local chapter" boat. I'm going to have to hope that RWA does wise up this time around and actually listens to the authors. It's time we were all accepted and it's time for education so everyone can make an informed decision. E-publishing isn't right for everyone, just like print isn't the only ticket in town. The sooner "the powers that be" realize there are different strokes for different folks and it all leads to being career focused - the better off we will ALL be.

Taylor Tryst said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Rita. Although, I was in a city with a local chapter, which helped me very much, in the beginning.

I also dropped my membership for the same reasons, as now I live out in the middle of nowhere and don't have a 'local' chapter. But, even after I was epublished, I did notice that elite attidute that most 'print' authors have toward epublished authors. It's very sad, really. Very sad.

Barb said...

I'm not a writer but it seems to me the logical thing is quit giving RWA your money and someone start a new organization that recognizes all phases of publishing whether it be print or epub. Just a thought.

Regina Carlysle said...

I agree 100 percent Debora! I've heard so many stories about how supportive some find their local chapters. I've never talking with anyone, ever, who said they LOVE NATIONAL. It has always been about the local chapter.

Regina Carlysle said...

Barb, I DO believe you are onto something. Many think working within the system will bring about change but it hasn't happened in all these years. I suspect it never will. EPIC is around for the epublished but it's not just for romance but other stuff. I would love to see something inclusive just for romance where print authors and epubbed authors are equally respected.

Regina Carlysle said...

I'm like you, Taylor. No local chapter. My nearest would be a 3 hr. drive away and I happen to know this particular chapter isn't all that welcoming to epubbed authors. Very much a clique where the print authors devalue the epubbed authors and I want no part of that.

Anonymous said...

What bothers me is not only does RWA keep increasing their annual dues, but it seems the available online resources for associated members keep dwindling. There used to be a well of information a member could access, not the case now. The ONLY reason I've kept my membership is so that I could stay with the FTHRW chapter. They are fantastic. I wish they would allow you to be a member without the RWA membership. I also like someone else's idea of starting a new national chapter. That would probably open RWA's eyes. I'm tired of paying increased fees each year, and feeling I'm getting nothing in return except for a magazine that contains information I could find online or through other writing magazines. Just my two cents worth.

Regina Carlysle said...

Anonymous, I have found better support and definitely more genuine support from free on-line groups than I ever got from RWA. RWA DOES have some good on-line groups. No doubt about it. I loved belonging to Passionate Ink, the erotica chapter. That group was like a warm, cozy hug to me and I miss them so much.

Word Actress said...

I'm not e-published yet, but I'd love to be. As writers we need to keep up with all ways to publish our work. That's just being progressive and market savvy. If I might add my pet peeve to this, I'm getting a little tired of the high fees writing contests are now charging to submit work. I began my writing career winning contests and am now a Judge in two really good ones but there should be watchdogs looking out for all of us. Thanks for the Post...Mary Kennedy Eastham, Author, 'The Shadow of a Dog I Can't Forget' and the upcoming novel, 'Night Surfing'

Kelley Nyrae said...

It's very frustrating. I don't get why they don't open their damn eyes.

Anita Birt said...

Wow, you really tied one on. Great rant. I love a good rant myself. I've been with RWA for a lot of years, I stay on because I am involved with my local chapter and have learned more from our in-house and other workshops than RWA will ever know.

I am e-published so I "feel your pain" so to speak. Five books with Cerridwen Press.

Regina Carlysle said...

Hi Mary! Good luck with getting your first book out there!!! The thing is, we write because we love it but making a little money would be nice too. If NY isn't listening or wanting to buy, then the only other option is epublishing. Would rather have it out there for people to buy and hopefully enjoy than having it sitting under the bed with the dust bunnies.

Regina Carlysle said...

I know, Kelly. Like I said, this has been going on for years and they continually treat us as 'less' than authors.

Regina Carlysle said...

Yep. You have a string of verrrry good books at Cerridwen and I'm happy that we share the same wonderful editor, Anita. You are truly fortunate to have found a local chapter that you love. I hear this a lot. Also here there are plenty of local chapters who have the same attitudes at National. That's unfortunate.

Anne Rainey said...

Times are changing. Several NY houses have already started special ebook lines and that's something NO ONE thought they'd ever see.

I think RWA had better catch the hell up or they'll simply be left in the back yard like a broken down old pickup.

Fran Lee Romance said...

Never joined because I am an e-published writer, with no big NY company backing my work. I was told that I could join but I couldn't submit works for their RITA Awards, and I really wouldn't have much of a voice because I don't meet their "qualifications" My publishers don't meet their "qualifications", either.

Regina Carlysle said...

Broken down old pickup. I couldn't have said it better myself. The times are changing fast and RWA needs to get with the program. Younger readers like this medium and will grow up with this. It's the future.

Jennifer Madden said...

I became very disenchanted with RWA this year, my first year as a dues paying member. I will probably pay dues again this year, simply because my local group, Kentucky Romance Writers of America, is awesome. A very large group of them are e-published, and we've had meetings and conferences centering on digital work.
As for the print authors, I read on a friend's blog that there are a couple calling e-pubbed authors 'hobby writers' or 'hobbyists'. How insulting! I can't believe people.