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Bubastes
05-07-2010, 09:37 PM
I've been avoiding joining RWA for a while, but now I'm wondering whether I should. I went to a local chapter meeting a while back and was underwhelmed, although I'm willing to give it another shot to keep myself accountable in my writing. The politics and drama in RWA over the years hasn't made me want to join either. So, what am I missing by not being a member? Since I write women's fiction rather than romance, does that make a difference? Thanks!

Brindle Chase
05-07-2010, 10:27 PM
I think it really comes down to value. If joining will profit you in some way that is worth the hefty membership fee... then yes. And by profit I mean not just money. In networked connections you couldn't otherwise obtain... in support of your writing, like beta readers you cannot otherwise find elsewhere... in savings on conventions... any intrinsic value that outweighs the dues, seems like a good reason to join.

For me, the chapters around me are not male author friendly, and I currently do not attend any conventions where RWA members are discounted... so there is nothing to be gained by my joining. As you already mentioned, I also feel their policies are antique and their resistance to change is notorious. And I avoid drama where possible. All told, the RWA is not a good fit for me. But that doesn't mean it's not a valuable resource for others!

veinglory
05-07-2010, 10:49 PM
I agree, the question is--what will you get from it. Many people have said that if your local chapter is good it can be worth it. But if they are not...?

They other factor being whether the national group (their policies and actions) are one you want to actively support with your membership and money.

Gillhoughly
05-07-2010, 11:39 PM
I've gotten along quite well without a membership to it or SFWA.

Mostly I just didn't want to spend the money. I still don't and let my SFWA membership lapse.


If they want me for something they know where to find me.

If the local group underwhelms you, go with your instincts and find another writing group that's a better fit. I get more out of AW than any other group.

If it's to go to the conventions--oi vey. They are EXPENSIVE. Compared to S.F. conventions, they are seriously overpriced.

The one I went to back in the day cost me a grand before I even got in the door--and I wasn't even there as a speaker. (Plane ticket, hotel, food, banquet ticket, get-in-the-door ticket, buy boxes of my books at the mega-signing, take unsold books home or they strip the covers and show as unprofitable returns to my publisher).

Better believe I did NOT make back my expenses in sales.

At least S.F. conventions comp my ticket in, and they really do throw better parties. There's more free booze to swill and a lot of the guys are in kilts! :evil

Dee Carney
05-07-2010, 11:50 PM
I was a member for a year, and very unimpressed. I did not renew my membership. Granted, at that time I was unable to join a local chapter due to my work schedule.

A few days ago I met someone online who is a member of the local RWA chapter. We chatted for a little bit, I did some additional research about the local chapter and as a result, today renewed my membership. We'll see if it pays out. The workshops they have planned for the coming year are impressive, a few by well-known authors. I figured that if I got nothing else out of it, the workshops alone are worth the price of renewal.

I attended my first RT a few weeks ago, and like Gillhoughly said, it was damned expensive. But I can also tell you that I plan on being a regular. The networking alone made it valuable to me. That experience also helped nudge me in the direction of renewal. It's awesome being around other people who share your same writing passions.

I think you just have to decide what it is you want from your membership. Do you want craft workshops, industry news, or networking opportunities? Might be worth joining. Maybe.

Bubastes
05-07-2010, 11:50 PM
I get more out of AW than any other group.


Bingo. I'm trying to figure out what I would get out of RWA that I couldn't get at AW. So far, I'm coming up with nothing.

I plan to go to RT next year to network and pitch, but I don't need to be an RWA member to do all that.

Ambri
05-08-2010, 01:30 AM
I've seen query samples where the writer mentions being a member of RWA and/or the local chapter, in their list of writing credits. However, it sounds like you already have at least one published novel out there, so that's probably not as much of a consideration for you.

I think I'll agree with the general opinion, and say if they don't have much to offer you, don't join.

san_remo_ave
05-08-2010, 02:28 AM
I'm a member of RWA, but only renewed this year because of two specialty chapters that I value (both of which are online, NOT the local chapter which left me a little *meh* too).

I'm unpubbed and don't really get much other tangible value out of it (at nearly $100 a year, it's not even washing out the convention discount). I get better networking on AW, Twitter and blog networks. I may not be renewing next year; still on the fence.

There are a lot of other resources for pubbed authors (PAN, etc) that I understand many people value, so depending on whether or not you qualify, that may or may not be an additional consideration.

I'm going to the RomCon this year and really looking forward to it. Sounds like a fun new reader/writer convention, some great authors are going, and many of the same folks I'll be seeing at RWA (in Orlando now). Hopefully, since it's new, also without the drama of RT. It's also very very reasonably priced and I like it's over a weekend so I don't miss much work.

mscelina
05-08-2010, 02:33 AM
According to RWA, I am not a "real" author. Ergo, they obviously don't need my money. And ditto what Dee said about RT. I couldn't have spent my money better for the advantages that being at RT (and fairly visible throughout the convention) has given to me. Now that RT appears to be getting over its squick over the ghey in the past couple of years, I'm much more comfortable supporting them than I am RWA.

Granted, one of the authors' panels I attended basically said, "If you want to publish with the big dogs, you need to run with them and that means RWA." I am not yet convinced of that.

Bubastes
05-08-2010, 02:45 AM
Granted, one of the authors' panels I attended basically said, "If you want to publish with the big dogs, you need to run with them and that means RWA." I am not yet convinced of that.

I'm not either. With my local chapter being so lame, I think I'll stay a non-joiner for now and focus on RT instead. Everyone, thank you for your input! You've given me a lot to think about.

Lainey Bancroft
05-08-2010, 04:31 AM
Bingo. I'm trying to figure out what I would get out of RWA that I couldn't get at AW. So far, I'm coming up with nothing.

I plan to go to RT next year to network and pitch, but I don't need to be an RWA member to do all that.

FWIW, you don't have to be a member of RWA to attend their big shin-dig either. The difference in early registration conference fees for non-members is less than a yearly membership (for Canadians, anyway)

Paid my RWA dues for three years, don't have a local chapter (2 hour drive to Toronto is closest) and couldn't stand the bitch-slap of the little guys being disqualified from entering RWA contests so didn't renew. Didn't gain anything while a member. Haven't missed anything by being a non-member.

Jersey Chick
05-08-2010, 05:26 AM
If you're meh about the local chapter, don't waste your money. Most of the RWA members I know (myself included) stay because of their local chapter. All you'll get out of it is a very expensive magazine subscription.

para
05-08-2010, 01:59 PM
The RWA has about 19/20 special interest online chapters, it's not just the local chapter. Listing here: http://www.rwanational.org/cs/about_rwa/chapters_listing A lot of people do not have a local chapter. If you are a member of the RWA and not a member of local or special interest chapters then you aren't really gaining anything from membership.

As to whether you should join -it depends on the person, some people find it useful - others do not. There are two women's fiction special interest chapters.

Jersey Chick
05-08-2010, 06:16 PM
**headsmack**

I forgot about those special interest chapters (I'm a Beau Monde member as well, duh.)

job
05-08-2010, 06:38 PM
Are you New York print published in genre Romance?
RWA is your professional organization.

RWA National is where you will meet other professional writers, librarians, booksellers, blog writers, reviewers, book club organizers, and the publishing folks who deal in print production and marketing.
This is largely invisible to the general meeting.

I believe e-pub/POD/small press folks and those involved in niche markets like Inspirational and Erotica make similar professional connections at every National. I'm just outside of this loop entirely and would let those who know about it, talk about it.


Of the 20,000 RWA members, 1800 are published, more than half of them print pubbed.
See a partial list at:
http://www.rwanational.org/cs/rwa_author_web_sites#B


Do you connect with one of the special interest chapters?
If so, that may be worth the price of admission to RWA.

For instance, the Beau Monde special interest chapter at RWA is, hands down, the best research resource for the historical period.

BUT
if you are not New-York-print pubbed,
(i.e. you are e-pubbed or unpubbed,)
if you are not writing Romance genre,
(you write erotica or literary fiction, for instance,)
and you do not need one of the specialized chapters,

then RWA is maybe not so much directly answering your professional interests at this time.

For these folks, the uses of RWA would boil down to --

-- social.
I think it was Groucho Marx who said, "I wouldn't want to join any club that would have me as a member."

Your local RWA chapter is not about the meetings. It's not about the 10% of members who regularly attend the meetings.
What the local RWA Chapter does is allow you to connect, outside the meetings, on your own time, one-on-one or three-on-three, with Romance writers who live near you.

-- recreational
Folks go to National to have a good time.
Maybe folks go to the local Chapter meetings to have a good time.
I dunnoh.
I'm not social in groups, but some people just enjoy this. There are people who jog. What can I say?

-- educational
Craft advice is available everywhere.
RWA is where you come for specifically genre craft, information on the Romance business, and insider industry news.

Social, recreational and educational is good stuff. Might be worth the entry price. Might well be worth trying RWA for a year or two, especially for someone nudging up close to publication.

Jamesaritchie
05-08-2010, 09:38 PM
I think the quality of the local chapter should have nothing to do with joining the RWA.

If you're a romance writer, you ARE benefiting from many things the RWA does, such as constantly pushing for better contracts for writers. The question is whether you think you should pay your fair share for the things they do.

You're also eligible for more contests, and some of these have jumped started careers.

brainstorm77
05-08-2010, 09:46 PM
I think the quality of the local chapter should have nothing to do with joining the RWA.

If you're a romance writer, you ARE benefiting from many things the RWA does, such as constantly pushing for better contracts for writers. The question is whether you think you should pay your fair share for the things they do.

You're also eligible for more contests, and some of these have jumped started careers.

I don't agree. As it's been stated in some of the above posts, it does not benefit everyone.

jennontheisland
05-08-2010, 10:18 PM
If you're looking for information, the internet will get you just as far, if not farther.

If you're looking for the typical benefits that one gets from a "professional organization" like legal referrals or health and other insurance benefits or supporting advances in the industry (epubbed and m/m need not apply) or assistance with contracts, there's no point in joining RWA. They don't offer them.

I've always questioned the title "professional organization" when it comes to RWA since most professional organizations have some standards required for membership whereas RWA has none. Anyone willing to pay can join. And anyone can go to the convention. You don't have to be a member to attend the convention or the workshops or the events. It's basically open to the public.

Some people like them for the social aspect of their local chapters though.

Jersey Chick
05-08-2010, 10:20 PM
I am a romance writer, but since I'm an undesirable (read: epubbed), no - they really aren't helping me. My local chapter and Beau Monde do - and that's pretty much it.

You don't have to be an RWA member to enter either the RITA or the Golden Heart. Non-members just pay a higher fee, usually. As for local chapter contests, all I've seen is anyone can enter. Again, members (who usually MUST join RWA in order to qualify for membership) pay a lower entry fee. I haven't seen any that were limited to RWA-members only.

I see RWA like jennontheisland sees it- a club. Not a professional organization. Or, not of the same professional caliber as SFWA, et all. Anyone can join RWA - from the serious, career minded writer, to the hobbyist.

brainstorm77
05-08-2010, 10:22 PM
I am a romance writer, but since I'm an undesirable (read: epubbed), no - they really aren't helping me. My local chapter and Beau Monde do - and that's pretty much it.

You don't have to be an RWA member to enter either the RITA or the Golden Heart. Non-members just pay a higher fee, usually. As for local chapter contests, all I've seen is anyone can enter. Again, members (who usually MUST join RWA in order to qualify for membership) pay a lower entry fee. I haven't seen any that were limited to RWA-members only.

I see RWA like jennontheisland sees it- a club. Not a professional organization. Or, not of the same professional caliber as SFWA, et all. Anyone can join - from the serious, career minded writer, to the hobbyist.

And there ya go.

job
05-09-2010, 02:47 AM
I've always questioned the title "professional organization" when it comes to RWA since most professional organizations have some standards required for membership whereas RWA has none.

I'd agree with you that RWA is not an organization of professional writers. Because of this, published folks are often members of both RWA and a professional writers group. (I'd recommend either AG or NINC for those who find RWA too much a 'social club'.)

But RWA is still the go-to point for industry networking. National is where authors meet their agent/editor/other authors/industry professionals.

I think the PAN/general membership hybrid works reasonably well. The maybe 8% published members make RWA more than a social club. The 92% enthusiastic fans and unpubbed provide support all round and make things exciting.

The downside of the hybrid is that it dilutes RWA's voice as a negotiator in the industry, and the huge general membership does continually challenge the central, professional purpose of the organization.

wrangler
05-09-2010, 02:58 AM
I've been avoiding joining RWA for a while, but now I'm wondering whether I should. I went to a local chapter meeting a while back and was underwhelmed, although I'm willing to give it another shot to keep myself accountable in my writing. The politics and drama in RWA over the years hasn't made me want to join either. So, what am I missing by not being a member? Since I write women's fiction rather than romance, does that make a difference? Thanks! In your case, who knows?

Although when I walk into any situation there must be reciprocity. I recently joined RWA, and have already contributed a great deal to my chapter.

I encourage you to ask yourself whether you have anything to offer your local chapter, not just what you could benefit by joining.

There may be a young woman in urgent need of hearing your voice.

Good Luck!

Cathy C
05-10-2010, 01:02 AM
I've been a member of RWA for about 7 years. Mostly, I continue to belong because of two internet chapters: RWAOnline (http://www.rwaonlinechapter.org) and FF&P (http://www.romance-ffp.com/). The people I've met there I would have a difficult time meeting anywhere else in one fell swoop. FF&P stands for "Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal" which is what I do. RWAOnline is a mix of everything and the best part of that chapter is that there are members from all over the WORLD. There's presently 358 members of that chapter, from 8 countries and multiple genres. Hard to get a better mix of people to ask questions of, and because of the time differences, there's nearly always someone online to chat with. Very cool people at every stage of publication!

If not for them, or if they disappeared tomorrow, I'd probably be gone too. Sometimes, it's worth the money to belong just for the relationships you gain. I've met people at RWA and RT that I wouldn't have known existed but for the online groups. Just like here at AW. Great people that gather to all talk about the same thing. Not all of them know about places like AW, so sometimes you've got to go where the people are. :)

Bubastes
05-10-2010, 02:39 AM
Hmmm, the online chapters sound interesting. Good point about it being like AW!

Nightmelody
05-10-2010, 03:01 AM
I'm considering joining for the online FF&P chapter, and if there is ever a SFR chapter. I don't live close enough to make it to regular meetings in Denver(6hr drive) so online appeals to me.

I'm not really interested in going to a National Convention (crowds of people and air flights are two of my least favorite things in life), but think I will aim for a Romancing the Rockies convention in the next year or so. Though I just got laid off so will have to see what the financial situation shapes into.

Jersey Chick
05-10-2010, 04:09 AM
I promised myself when I sold to NY, I'd go to National.

RT is what I'm trying to save up for now, but even that's not too likely until 2012...

ccbridges
05-10-2010, 07:53 PM
I'm just lucky enough that I get to join RWA as a librarian member. I don't get access to many things, of course, but it still counts as membership :)

sharla
05-10-2010, 10:45 PM
I originally joined just to say I was a member, and thinking I'd get something great out of it in the meantime. I was hoping to find a local chapter out of it, but the closest one is two hours away. I did join the online chapter, but then did very little with it, the message boards were better in other places so I didn't stick around much. It's been over a year now, and I renewed, but I'm not sure why. The magazine is great, but that' really all I've benefitted from it.

That being said, I think it's what you put into it. I probably haven't given it much of a chance to help me. It hasn't done much for me personally but I'm sure others would say different. Like someone else said, the membership still counts for something!

haefner919
05-10-2010, 11:15 PM
I too was weighing whether or not it was really worth the cash. Did I really want to pay the money just to say I was a member???

Brindle Chase
05-11-2010, 12:00 AM
As far as I know, there are no publishers out there that give extra advantage too, if your an RWA member... I also am unaware of any agents who allow more leniency in the quality of your manuscript if you are RWA... As far as know, all the romance publishers could care less, when it comes to considering your work... same for agents.

Now, once you've signed with a NY print house... they might push you towards the RWA membership for the additional marketing it can bring... I dunno (havent gotten that far yet!)

To me, those are very important considerations on whether or not to join, once you've determined whether or not you get anything from the expensive membership. Knowing you don't need them to get pubbed, combined with how little I would gain from membership with them... made my decision easy. Who knows, maybe I'll make it with a NY print house and then feel pressured to pony up for it... until then... I have no qualms not paying them for nothing in return.

Irysangel
05-11-2010, 12:44 AM
It depends. I'm not the most social butterfly, and there's 3 groups in my area and I remember to visit...ZERO of them. I'd rather sleep late on my Saturdays. Still, I've gone and thought they gave a lot of good information about the business side of trying to break in. They're also good at running contests (if that's your sort of thing) and having local workshops (again, if that is your sort of thing) and just networking in general.

I pay my dues and I joined an online chapter, but the online chapter I joined wasn't all that interesting to me (nor was it particularly active) so I didn't renew. I get a magazine (that I don't read half the time) and I'm on the RWA PAN loop (which I do find interesting, and I'm told PRO is pretty awesome too).

If you plan on going to RWA National in the summer, you might as well sign up to be a member -- the price difference between the two tickets is exactly the cost of an annual subscription to the RWA (like $75). As a member of the RWA I also get a weekly Bookscan list of the top 100 romances -- this costs $50 and is very worth it to me. I also have a subscription to PubAlley through RWA ($30 a year for RWA members) and again, totally worth it to me.

I do agree with the person that said that you get out of it what you put into it, though. :)

(And my local chapter has a really large share of e-pubbers, so I don't really think it's the stigma it once was. Is it all happy go lucky and 100% accepted? Not always. But I don't think anyone goes after anyone with a cross and holy water anymore.) :)

Just my two cents, from arguably the laziest member of RWA. :)

Rose English
05-12-2010, 05:40 AM
I've been avoiding joining RWA for a while, but now I'm wondering whether I should. I went to a local chapter meeting a while back and was underwhelmed, although I'm willing to give it another shot to keep myself accountable in my writing. The politics and drama in RWA over the years hasn't made me want to join either. So, what am I missing by not being a member? Since I write women's fiction rather than romance, does that make a difference? Thanks!

Like you, I'm also thinking of joining. I want access to this:

http://www.rwa-wf.com/

I attend my first local RWA meeting this weekend. Unless there is something drastically wrong with the local group I'm fairly sure I'll join and do everything in my power to get my money's worth :D.

Rose English
05-12-2010, 05:50 AM
I'd agree with you that RWA is not an organization of professional writers. Because of this, published folks are often members of both RWA and a professional writers group. (I'd recommend either AG or NINC for those who find RWA too much a 'social club'.)

But RWA is still the go-to point for industry networking. National is where authors meet their agent/editor/other authors/industry professionals.

I think the PAN/general membership hybrid works reasonably well. The maybe 8% published members make RWA more than a social club. The 92% enthusiastic fans and unpubbed provide support all round and make things exciting.

The downside of the hybrid is that it dilutes RWA's voice as a negotiator in the industry, and the huge general membership does continually challenge the central, professional purpose of the organization.

What does AG stand for? Sorry if that's a stupid question but all sorts of stuff came up on google :)

Nightmelody
05-12-2010, 06:15 AM
AG= Author's Guild

Rose English
05-12-2010, 06:17 AM
AG= Author's Guild

Thank you so much x

job
05-12-2010, 11:33 PM
Oh. Did somebody else mention this?

RWA members get big discounts on Publisher's Alley, Nielsen Bookscan, and Publisher's Weekly.

There's also some kinda group health insurance about which I know nothing.

KathleenD
05-13-2010, 12:55 AM
I don't think it's worthwhile for me until I can join PAN, which is... a thousand dollars from now. Like others, I figured if I ever sold something to New York, it might be worthwhile. Until then, I'm doing okay with AW :)

Herstory
10-09-2015, 05:07 PM
I see this is an old thread, but it's relevant to what I want to ask, so I'm resurrecting it! I recently joined RWA because of enthusiastic recommendations of other writers but am a little overwhelmed by all the information as well as what I'll actually get out of it. The contests seem to be mainly for writers looking for agents, and I already have an agent (but no publisher yet). I already have beta readers and crit partners, so I don't need RWA for that, either. And my local chapter isn't close enough for me to attend meetings regularly. Is anyone else in the same boat and/or can tell me how RWA is useful for someone in my situation?

Lil
10-09-2015, 05:48 PM
I see this is an old thread, but it's relevant to what I want to ask, so I'm resurrecting it! I recently joined RWA because of enthusiastic recommendations of other writers but am a little overwhelmed by all the information as well as what I'll actually get out of it. The contests seem to be mainly for writers looking for agents, and I already have an agent (but no publisher yet). I already have beta readers and crit partners, so I don't need RWA for that, either. And my local chapter isn't close enough for me to attend meetings regularly. Is anyone else in the same boat and/or can tell me how RWA is useful for someone in my situation?
I don't know what you write, but if your local group is too far away, you might want to try one or more of the online groups. They can be very helpful. And the contests aren't just for people hunting agents. Winning one or more may pique a publisher's interest.

CEtchison
10-09-2015, 08:29 PM
Although I'd attended a national conference and a couple local conferences in the past, I didn't join RWA until after getting an agent. She recommended I do so to help increase my visibility and for networking purposes, in addition to having access to the many helpful workshops and/or conversations pertaining to promotion, branding, etc.

As far as the online and local chapters go, it can be hit and miss. My local chapter is great, but I've attended others that were less than. A friend is a member of two online chapters and she's not going to renew her membership since there's nothing really going on in either, while another says her online chapter specifically for historical romance is crazy good.

Evangeline
10-10-2015, 02:28 AM
I see this is an old thread, but it's relevant to what I want to ask, so I'm resurrecting it! I recently joined RWA because of enthusiastic recommendations of other writers but am a little overwhelmed by all the information as well as what I'll actually get out of it. The contests seem to be mainly for writers looking for agents, and I already have an agent (but no publisher yet). I already have beta readers and crit partners, so I don't need RWA for that, either. And my local chapter isn't close enough for me to attend meetings regularly. Is anyone else in the same boat and/or can tell me how RWA is useful for someone in my situation?

I didn't rejoin until I had an agent and sold a book too, so I understand your dilemma.

But I agree with SummerSpring that belonging is good for visibility and networking--mostly with regards to judging/entering the RITAs, being on panels at RWA conferences, and writing for RWR.

Otherwise, the organization is generally geared towards those just starting out, who are seeking colleagues and information about writing romance.

A special interest group might be of more worth to you than a general online chapter.

Herstory
10-10-2015, 02:54 AM
Thanks so much for your replies so far! I write historical romance so it's good to hear that the historical online chapter is good (according to one person, anyway). So far I've written only books set in late-Victorian England but have plans for other books set in the Edwardian period and the 1920s. Any other online chapter recs would be gratefully recieved!

ARoyce
10-12-2015, 04:11 AM
I would bet the online historical chapter that was called "crazy good" is the Beau Monde chapter--because it IS. It focuses on the Regency era, but I too write Victorian and find it helpful for background. Obviously, things change a lot from the Regency to late-Victorian and Edwardian, but you might find it helpful for backstory and resources that span longer time periods. Many of the Beau Monde members are seriously well-informed and have tons of information and resources about the period at their fingertips. They even run their own mini-conference on the first day of the RWA National conference, and it has included workshops on things like period clothing, language, card games, historical battles, etc.

I too didn't join RWA until I had an agent and a book deal, and I am very happy I joined the national group. For various reasons, I haven't joined local chapters in PA, but I attended the NJRWA conference last year and got the sense that their local chapter was wonderful!

I think the online forums for general RWA members, for PAN members, and for online chapters are great overall--helpful, supportive, and insightful, and I agree that being an active members helps a great deal with your visibility.

Your mileage may vary, of course.

Deb Kinnard
10-12-2015, 04:59 AM
When I first joined RWA in 2001, I, too, felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data I had to absorb. I had to give myself some time to catch up to the jargon (such as "at what line is the book aimed?" meaning of course you were planning to sub to Harlequin). Give yourself some time and if you're unclear about some term thrown about that everyone seems to know but you, collar one of the chapter members privately and ask. In my experience the members were always willing to mentor me and help bring me up to speed.

Never did sell anything to Harlequin, though. :ROFL: