About epubs & RWA…where I stand.

FYI, I don’t view RWA’s board as some evil group of women who are just determined to keep some of us down.  I don’t.  I don’t see the board as some almighty power that has the power to ruin careers or make them with the wave of a magic wand.

But they are the board of the organization that claims to be the voice of romance.  The advocate of romance.  But how they can actually be a true advocate when they are neglecting a percentage of their membership?

So here’s my viewpoint on the whole mess-I posted this over at espan’s blog and then decided maybe I should have just done it here.  Oh well.


Ally Blue said:

“….Authors need information and education about what to look for in an epub contract, what the red flags are, what’s an acceptable royalty rate (and let me tell you, 6-12% is NOT acceptable), etc etc. As an advocate for its members, RWA should provide that education. THAT is the point…..”

That’s my feelings, to the letter.  RWA claims to be a romance writer’s advocate.   RWA Nationals’ site reads:

“….Romance Writers of America is dedicated to advancing the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy…..”

Advancing the professional interest of career focused romance writers.  Advocacy.

Well, quite a few of us write for epubs.  But there’s isn’t one single bit of reliable info about epubs that RWA has EVER provided, to my knowledge.  None.  Any knowledge I have, I’ve learned on my own or thru other writers, local chapters, etc.  But from the National level?  Nothing.

How can they claim to advocate for writers like me when they don’t even understand a thing about digital publishing?

In the six years since I’ve been a member, I’ve seen this:

First a couple of epubs can’t be recognized, because they haven’t sold X amount of one particular books.

Okay.  So the pubs SELL X amount.  And they are recognized.

THEN they AREN’T recognized, because the board made the decision that in order to be recognized, there is the matter of advances.

THEN some epubbed/small press authors aren’t allowed to sign books at Nationals because the cover violated some policy that previously hadn’t ever been an issue.  Ironically, this couldn’t be decided BEFOREHAND.  To my knowledge, wasn’t even addressed beforehand.

THEN there’s the matter of ‘defining romance’ and frankly since the books with the ‘objectionable’ subject matter stemmed from epubs, it feels like yet another slap, another attempt to keep us down.

THEN there’s the matter of entering contests.  Some recognize us as pubbed, so we can’t enter this contest.  Or unpubbed, so we can’t enter that.  OR the copyright date of the initial epub prevents us from entering the print version in THAT contest.

THEN there’s the matter of some authors can’t advertise their books in the RWR because of a particular policy, that previously hadn’t really been there/been enforced/heard of by general members beforehand.

THEN there is the matter that last year epubs could have workshops.  And now they can’t.

I’m sorry. It is ALWAYS something.

I’m sorry.  But after you’ve been on the side where I am for X amount of years and have this flung at you, one thing after another, year after year after year, it definitely feels like somebody is trying to shut the epubbed authors out.

Romance has long been the ‘ugly red-headed stepchild’ of publishing.  We all know that.  We’ve had to defend what we write, we’ve had to tolerate the mocking, the insults, the sneers.

However, now a particular segment of RWA’s membership is being dealt the same hand-from other romance writers.  Either it’s over epublishing, or writing erotic romance, or both, that’s what we’re getting-or at least that feels from where we’re sitting and since we’re the ones who have to really deal with the fall out, it doesn’t matter if we’re seeing things in a way it wasn’t intended.  For us, the damage is already done.

Chances are the people who mock/degrade/deride/tease romance writers about romance aren’t going to realize how insulting they are being.

I wonder if certain members of RWA (in particular the board) realize how very insulted and inconsequential they’ve made many of us feel.

We pay our dues-just like everybody else.  We write, and we work hard, just like everybody else.

Why is so impossible for the board to understand the need to give epublishing more of a voice among RWA?

By failing to educate the members, all it is doing is making sure more members will end up signing bad contracts with epubs, making uninformed decisions, etc, etc, etc.  Those bad ones ARE out there.  There are some I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.  RWA, if they are the ‘advocate’ they claim to be, needs to get involved in the matter and educate the members so they know who to steer clear of.  Or at least give them the info they need to make an educated choice.

For me, it’s not even about the damn workshop.  It’s not.  It’s about RWA’s refusal, year after year, to even acknowlege the epubbed as valid and worthy of some of the advocacy RWA is supposed to stand for.