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Saturday, July 4, 2009

RWA - Should I Remain a Member?

I've been upset with RWA since 2007, a year that saw my first book published and filled me with joy. Finally getting published, a goal I strove toward for over the course of many years, satisfied my need of fulfillment and confidence. I did it. I wrote a book and found a publisher.

The RWA conference in 2007 took away all my happiness and managed to irritate and anger me in those four days in Atlanta. Instead of proudly wearing my "pink ribbon" indicating I was a first-time published author, I found myself disenfranchised with the whole RWA organization, including PAN.

From an editor, a published author, and a new author whose book wouldn't release for TWO years from a NY publisher, I found myself on the receiving end of disinterested looks and comments...all because I was published by an ebook publisher, Ellora's Cave.

I went from a euphoric feeling of elation to a dismayed and barely tolerated third cousin of those "big" publishers and their authors.

Change is needed and will come. Enough people have been stewing about RWA's attempts to squash epubs and small print publishers in favor of the old, familiar print publishers...most from the NY area. Rules of acceptance and recognition have changed to "legitimately" block and keep epubs and small print pubs from being "blessed" by RWA.

One survey done shortly after the dreaded 2007 conference was worded to benefit RWA's stance on issues. When I tried to add comments, I found myself limited to only about 10 words, not enough to voice my displease and challenge the wording on their survey.

I battle with myself every year as to whether or not I'll rejoin. My initial reason for joining was to share in their wealth of information, but I believe a desire for power has made those in control go overboard with their personal ideals of "purist" romance books...and bias for big, NY print publishers.

Will things change this year? Next year? I don't know, but there are a hell of a lot of people unhappy with the way and direction RWA seems to be heading. Purist heads are going deeper in the sand, ignoring the advances in technology...namely, the improvement and popularity of ebooks. Some will never change their ideals or compromise.

My biggest pet peeve is simple. It's no one's business what my contract says, what I agree to, how much I make. That information is privileged information between myself, my publisher, and the IRS. Period. Simple. My financial situation isn't public knowledge.

RWA has my blessing if they want to exclude self-publishing, vanity presses and authors. I can also compromise and agree to making a publisher be in business 3-5 years before being recognized. These seem like reasonable requirements...keeping in mind that both ebook and print publishers have gone out of business at times.

Reluctantly, I paid my RWA dues again this year, only because I don't want to lose the friends and support I've found at my local chapter.

It's funny. Not one person has ever asked if I was a member of one at a book signing, talk, etc. No one on the many non-rwa sponsored loops I'm on nor anyone on my newsletter list has asked either. Makes me wonder as to exactly what benefit I gain (other than my local chapter) by agonizing over sending in dues every year.

April Ash,, has a new erotic romance book releasing 24 July! Look for "Sexy Games" at Ellora's Cave,

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