RWA… the business side of Nationals

Okay, please bear in mind…I’m not entirely a ‘business’ minded person. I want to write. I’ll do my edits because that improves my writing. I’ll attend workshops if something really appeals, but I do tend to gravitate towards online workshops versus real-life workshops.

I did get to meet one of my editors for the first time, and I did get to meet my agent for the first time.  I had a meal with each of them, and feel very comfortable with all three of them.

I will say I loved the parties-somebody wants to buy me free drinks and yummy little finger-foods?  Hey, I’m good with that.

But as far as writing business stuff goes-as in stuff I really, really need to have?  I didn’t get anything out of RWA as a whole.  The most beneficial information I received was from the rogue digital conference-lots of good info there.  I even took notes. Highly informative, given by savvy people, and yet, it wasn’t recognized by RWA.    Irony, there.  The one workshop that could have proven beneficial to a huge percentage of the attendees and it wasn’t official.

Only a couple of the ‘legitimate’ workshops appealed to me, and each of them took place at a time when I couldn’t go, due to prior commitments.  Would I have found good info at some of the other workshops?  Possibly-even likely…however, none of them really appealled to the writer in me, except for those few I just couldn’t attend.  The rogue workshop was good for me, because it had info that appealled to me as far as my epubs go.

Since I’m not entirely sure what I’m supposed to do when I’m ‘networking’, or what I’m supposed to do with the contacts I make that I don’t already do, I can’t say I got a whole lot from the ‘networking’ aspects.    I did meet some great people, but is that networking?  I dunno.

As far as other issues…well, I will be honest and say…big organizations very often seem to lose their focus when they spend more time worrying about bureaucracy and politics versus making decisions that are going to have an impact.  I’m a decision maker-I see what I need to do and I do it.  I don’t discuss, debate, take time to investigate the various outcomes.  I act.  A lot of valuable time seems to disappear when the decision-making takes a back-seat to the ‘discussions’ of making a decision.

I had a note on my computer-when I got back home, I needed to decide if I was renewing my RWA membership or not.

Part of me doesn’t want to-as far as career needs, RWA doesn’t do anything to meet those needs.  Full disclosure-I don’t look to RWA to fill those needs.  If I need to network, I’ve got a circle of savvy people who I can go to for advice, info, etc.  I already have an awesome agent, and I’ve got great editors.    I’m very much a loner when it comes to writing and I’m not interested in critique groups, plotting groups, etc, etc.  In the years since I’ve been in RWA, I can count on eight fingers how many articles I found useful enough in the RWR to justify keeping them.  I don’t need RWA.  The most I get out of it is a tax write off, and if I remember right, a discount on attending Nationals.  Since I’m still on the fence about whether or not I’d go again, that’s not a huge plus for me.  Admittedly, I’m more likely to go and stay at a non-conference hotel, let my agent and editors know I’ll be in the area, and then hang out at the bar or the restaurant and just talk with fellow writer friends there.

Thus…. I’m on the fence.

However, I think I’ve come to a decision.  No, I don’t always get much out of RWA.  I want to see changes that will benefit the general membership, and I feel these changes would benefit the general membership-namely the unpublished and those of us in the midlist-in a way many of them can’t quite comprehend.  Those changes aren’t anything that will happen overnight.  Sadly, I feel some of the members are just plain against those changes, and a few of these individuals, I’m sorry, but I don’t think it’s the advance or lack of that’s got them digging in their heels.  It’s the simple issue that people often fear change.

Change happens, though.  Period.  I actually like change. And I’ve decided to best way I can help bring about change, in my own small way, is to stay with the organization.  I’ll do whatever teaching I can, on whatever level I feel comfortable with and I’ll continue to address my concerns in the appropriate avenues.

The publishing world is changing.  Writers and writing organizations need to adapt to those changes, understand them, and learn how to use those changes.

Sooner or later, these changes will come-I feel they are already upon us.  RWA, as a whole, will have to either accept those changes or just fade away into the background, a insignificant non-entity, for quite a few authors and publishing industry pros.  I’m sure they’ll continue to offer workshops, have conferences, etc, but more and more romance writers will look elsewhere for the networking, the education, etc.   Many writers already do.

One thing that did my heart good was speaking with a number of those pros-these people realize there’s a need for change, and many of them are just as baffled as I am about certain issues.  The majority of the industry pros and authors weren’t even in epublishing, either.  They are in traditional publishing.  If they see the need for change and growth, why doesn’t the organization-as a whole-on the national level see it as well?

And just a reminder….comment if you want to get entered into the prize-some goodies I picked up in DC.