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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Why I Didn't Renew My Membership in Romance Writers of America by Marianne Stephens

I first joined in 1994. So much has changed since then. Just look at how many options people now have to read books!

I needed to be part of that BIG Romance Group in the beginning. I needed the conventions/workshops/access to other authors. I also joined a local RWA group. Got lots of good information.

Now, I don't see any benefit in joining. I haven't been to a conference/convention in years. Hated when RWA switched to forum format for group contacts/information. 

And the whole ebook issue in earlier years left me very disappointed with RWA. I published an ebook in 2007...but was made to feel like the outcast cousin in RWA. I didn't have a BIG publisher or a print book. I had an ebook, and this was not looked upon with favor.

I knew back then that technology would change reading. Ebooks would flourish. I tried to explain this to people and my predictions weren't well-received.

When Harlequin decided to pursue an ebook line, I could only image RWA members running around saying, "The sky is falling!". Suddenly, RWA had to change their attitude about ebooks since Harlequin was venturing into those publishing waters. 

I quit my local group. I'd offered many times to do workshops about ebook publishing. I believe I did one quick one where there was little enthusiasm for what I was saying. I don't like the rules RWA places on chapters. 

I was a PAN member (Published Author Network). Got in before RWA made it almost impossible for e-pubbed authors to become members. I stayed in RWA/PAN just to annoy those who placed little value on epublishing.

But now the time has come for me to quit since I no longer see any value in being in RWA.

The two times I asked for help with chapter business, I didn't get any. I actually got more help from The Author's Guild than RWA.

Goodbye, RWA. You were relevant in my life before, but now supply no benefits for me. I'm older, wiser, and have moved on. 

And, technology will keep our writing/reading industry in a state of constant flux. Will RWA embrace those changes?

Marianne Stephens

photo:Flickrr: Peter Kaminski

4 comments:

Melissa Keir said...

I left RWA after I became a second class citizen. I wanted to be a leader at the local level but I wasn't allowed- Why? Because I am not only a writer but a publisher. I help other authors see their dreams come true. As a publisher, I'm not allowed to be a member of any board, nor am I allowed to vote as if I might not be able to see the bigger picture, one needed for both an author and a publisher.

My local chapter is dying. There are few new members. Most don't want to hold an office and there's me... I can't. So I stopped paying money for feeling like a second class person. I had also joined EPIC which was an ebook group and helped by voting and being a judge on various contests. I loved EPIC but sadly, it has also closed.

Maybe we don't need the big groups as we get older. Maybe as we gain experience, we have found the reliance on friends more than groups to get us through. Or maybe we just give up trying to please others. I could have lied and been in RWA but rules are important to me. I can't lie. I can't not help others.

Marianne Stephens said...

Yes, I understand your position. Too many RWA rules and we don't need a group...we have writing friends everywhere for support and help.
Thanks for your insight!

Paris said...

I've vacillated the last couple of years before rejoining. I no longer attend conferences unless they are online because honestly, it's just too much of a hassle. This may be my last year. The dues keep going up and honestly, for that much money and with the only benefit being a magazine that I sometimes don't bother to read, I can't justify the expense.

Janice Seagraves said...

I thought about joining but never got around to it. Now I'm glad I never did.

Janice~

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