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BenPanced
12-25-2019, 01:21 AM
So you can get suspended from RWA for pointing out instances of racism because it apparently gives racist people a sad? (https://twitter.com/AlyssaColeLit/status/1209280219175100422?s=19&fbclid=IwAR1fwUzt4_MLw2_TpI2qZKbl3OQ91FieDy6qmNwUm 9TR64CA9cYaGdpTRjU)

TL;DR: Courtney Milan called out instances of racism in work by Suzan Tisdale. Tisdale filed ethics charges against Milan, who has been formally censured by RWA.

AW Admin
12-25-2019, 02:04 AM
Keep in mind the RWA's stellar record [sic].

No, I'm not surprised. But this is the last straw for me with regards to how I view the RWA. They're not interested in being better.

If you read the decision (https://www.docdroid.net/qj8dh9a/ethics-committee-report-1119.pdf#page=2) it's particularly illuminating.

This is not an organization acting in good faith.

ElaineA
12-25-2019, 04:11 AM
I just re-upped 3 weeks ago because I volunteered to judge for the RITA-first round this year for the first time, and you have to be a member in good standing. IMO, the contest needed more judges who would see inclusion of diversity (of both authors and characters) and love stories of people in marginalized communities as an asset, not a reason for scorn, and I hoped I could provide that. So, I signed up, spent my hour+ listening in on a well-presented introductory D&I seminar given by the consultant the RWA hired to help guide them through their commitment to becoming a more inclusive organization, and then joined the D&I forum on the RWA boards. And then they hang their asses out like THIS? This is how they demonstrate a "commitment" to diversity and inclusion?

My god, what a betrayal of writers of color as well as those who are part of other marginalized communities.

I'm taking my cues from both writers who have served on the board, and those who have been an active part of trying to drag RWA out of the NWL-created muck they were wallowing in. Those writers seem to universally be saying, "that's it for me, there is no point in trying to work from within to change an organization so recalcitrant as RWA seems to be."

thethinker42
12-25-2019, 04:47 AM
Of course now they're back pedaling like whoa (https://twitter.com/romancewriters/status/1209632798832812034). We'll see if it's too little too late.

I'm still on the fence about staying in or canceling my membership, RITA entries, etc. Part of me wants to stay because I hate the idea of the bigots winning. Part of me wants to say "peace out" and bolt because WTF.

Ari Meermans
12-25-2019, 04:59 AM
That isn't even backpedaling; they're saying, "Aw, crap! Now we have to talk to our lawyers."

thethinker42
12-25-2019, 05:43 AM
That isn't even backpedaling; they're saying, "Aw, crap! Now we have to talk to our lawyers."

Seriously.

ElaineA
12-25-2019, 05:48 AM
I can't get past the certainty that they thought they'd unload this under the radar by doing it right now. What a fundamental misunderstanding of...well, everything.

Ari Meermans
12-25-2019, 05:53 AM
And this part:


. . . RWA’s Board of Directors rescinded its vote accepting the findings of the Ethics Committee report and the consequent penalties against Courtney Milan pending a legal opinion.

still leaves Courtney Milan in limbo wrt her status. They're managing this very badly and have done so from the beginning.

thethinker42
12-25-2019, 06:38 AM
I can't get past the certainty that they thought they'd unload this under the radar by doing it right now. What a fundamental misunderstanding of...well, everything.

A lot of people are side-eying the timing. Send the verdict RIGHT after the RITA awards closed (and everyone has paid their entry fees), and do it RIGHT before the offices close for the next 8 days, while giving Courtney 10 days to appeal. Everything about it is shady AF.

AW Admin
12-25-2019, 07:22 AM
I can't get past the certainty that they thought they'd unload this under the radar by doing it right now. What a fundamental misunderstanding of...well, everything.

Yes. I think that too was deliberate.

BenPanced
12-25-2019, 07:29 AM
And chatter on the RWA forums indicate that all of the discussion that has occurred on the PAN (Paid Author Network) board -- THAT NOT EVERYBODY HAS ACCESS TO SEE -- is heavily moderated to the point where dissenting posts have vanished magically like magic.

ETA: Courtney Milan's response to the backpedal. (https://mobile.twitter.com/courtneymilan/status/1209634730208944129?fbclid=IwAR3k-2mj2bz37slH9R79qH-FYzV9oTvOvStcEvkq1qXewVnqdaVJ_G5jt70)

Alessandra Kelley
12-25-2019, 07:53 PM
Ouf. The more of this that comes out, the sketchier RWA looks.

Do I understand that the RWA secretly assembled an entirely new ethics committee just for this one issue, without informing the actual sitting ethics committee? And then did not make clear that it was their hand-picked ethics committee, not the real one, which voted “unanimously” for censure? That must have been astounding and upsetting to those members on the real ethics committee, assuming I heard correctly.


I can't get past the certainty that they thought they'd unload this under the radar by doing it right now. What a fundamental misunderstanding of...well, everything.

To be fair, in Olden Times before social media if you wanted to bury a story you’d announce it on a Friday or immediately before a big holiday. The story would be ignored and forgotten in the rush of other news.

It’s a strategy that probably would have worked back in the twentieth century.

Barbara R.
12-25-2019, 08:13 PM
. Part of me wants to stay because I hate the idea of the bigots winning. Part of me wants to say "peace out" and bolt because WTF.

The whole RWA thing is triggering flashbacks for me! I was a member of the oldest online writers' forum since the days of dial-up, and an admin on the same forum for a decade or so. When I first joined, the forum was diverse and welcoming. Gradually it became less so. There were outbreaks of racist comments that were not removed by management, because the rules of the forum prohibited personal attacks, but not disparagement on grounds of religion, race, nationality, or gender. Writers of color left in disgust and, quite reasonably, they blamed management for allowing that kind of hurtful, bigoted commentary. Jews left. Writers whom I had brought into the forum---my writing students and editing clients---were personally hurt. That was agonizing for me.

I tried for quite a long time to convince my fellow sysops to change the rules. "Free speech!" most of them cried. Holy free speech, sacred free speech---no matter that the speech was being used on the forum to demean and hurt minority writers. There was a...what's that thing called?---a lively discussion over the issue, and in the end I lost. Free speech trumped decency, IMO.

So I left, too. Sadly, because over the many years, it was a great community. I'd made some good friends there, and had the joy of watching unpublished writers go on to become published writers, remaining on the forum to help others. Looking back at it several months later, I still feel I had no choice under the circumstances. But it hurts to feel that I left the haters and their enablers to rejoice over the spoils. It's a smaller, whiter, more monolithically Christian community than it was in the old days, but that's how those members like it.

I'm not a member of RWA, as I don't write in that genre. But if the pro-diversity members are able to wrest control from the others (and this Courtney Milan fiasco may provide that opportunity), then my hope is that they will do it and clean house, rather than start a separate organization. Why let the bad actors carry the day and keep the organization that so many volunteers spent so long building?

ElaineA
12-25-2019, 09:51 PM
I read this interesting tweet thread this morning about why it's such an uphill battle to change direction (https://twitter.com/Sara_Ramsey/status/1209521043641131008). Basically it says RWA is an organization that depends on institutional "stability". They have a building, an entrenched staff, years of avoiding upheaval, some incidents in their history that have made them default to maintaining "status quo." The thread doesn't cast aspersions, just realistically highlights how those interact with a situation like Milan's. It's a recipe for old skool disaster.

By the way, several authors have resigned from the ethics committee, including at least two women of color I'm aware of.

Rachel Grant twitter statement (https://twitter.com/rachelsgrant/status/1209731550608101376) and then responses to her tweet

Ruby Lang (https://twitter.com/RubeLang/status/1209836468371435521) and

Mia Sosa (https://twitter.com/miasosaromance/status/1209888505888940032)

veinglory
12-25-2019, 10:18 PM
I wonder how many POC are on that Ethics Committee that is making expert judgements about racism. And how many credentialed ethicists. As someone who sits on scientific ethics committees I would expect any such judgement to be by with representation and by consensus and it seems that it wasn't.

Ari Meermans
12-25-2019, 11:36 PM
I read this interesting tweet thread this morning about why it's such an uphill battle to change direction (https://twitter.com/Sara_Ramsey/status/1209521043641131008). Basically it says RWA is an organization that depends on institutional "stability". They have a building, an entrenched staff, years of avoiding upheaval, some incidents in their history that have made them default to maintaining "status quo." The thread doesn't cast aspersions, just realistically highlights how those interact with a situation like Milan's. It's a recipe for old skool disaster.

By the way, several authors have resigned from the ethics committee, including at least two women of color I'm aware of.

Rachel Grant twitter statement (https://twitter.com/rachelsgrant/status/1209731550608101376) and then responses to her tweet

Ruby Lang (https://twitter.com/RubeLang/status/1209836468371435521) and

Mia Sosa (https://twitter.com/miasosaromance/status/1209888505888940032)

Like Lisa, I've heard the rumblings over the years but with this new outrage it gets nastier and nastier, doesn't it? I had thought the best approach would be to accept accountability, clean house, and seek guidance from the membership and, in doing so, work hard to rebuild trust—in short, an upheaval and course correction. But now that I see the way the organization operates, I'm not sure Hercules could clean out that stable. There's no incentive for staff to change their ways. And, of course, the sense of betrayal runs too deep in the membership.

Some in the Twitter threads are calling for breaking away and starting a new org. That approach is fraught with perils, too. Too many to list here, but a new (competing) org, in addition to suffering the usual growing pains, would start off with a stigma possibly as great as RWA's, that of being labeled as malcontents.

Note: I also saw some folks on Twitter forward threads wrt this fiasco to SFWA as a cautionary tale. Also, one agent tweeted that she was finished with RWA. :\

thethinker42
12-26-2019, 12:43 AM
And chatter on the RWA forums indicate that all of the discussion that has occurred on the PAN (Paid Author Network) board -- THAT NOT EVERYBODY HAS ACCESS TO SEE -- is heavily moderated to the point where dissenting posts have vanished magically like magic.

And yet historically, they've apparently been unable (mmhmm) to moderate the forums when members are being racist, homophobic, etc. A number of people have mused that "oh, hey, apparently they've figured out how to moderate their forums."

It's like they've literally tried to find every possible way to make this debacle's optics as terrible as possible.

BenPanced
12-26-2019, 12:54 AM
Do I understand that the RWA secretly assembled an entirely new ethics committee just for this one issue, without informing the actual sitting ethics committee? And then did not make clear that it was their hand-picked ethics committee, not the real one, which voted “unanimously” for censure? That must have been astounding and upsetting to those members on the real ethics committee, assuming I heard correctly.

Rachel Grant confirms this in the tweet series ElaineA posted. (Here's a repeat of the link, though. (https://twitter.com/rachelsgrant/status/1209731550608101376))


And chatter on the RWA forums indicate that all of the discussion that has occurred on the PAN (Paid Author Network) board -- THAT NOT EVERYBODY HAS ACCESS TO SEE -- is heavily moderated to the point where dissenting posts have vanished magically like magic.


And yet historically, they've apparently been unable (mmhmm) to moderate the forums when members are being racist, homophobic, etc. A number of people have mused that "oh, hey, apparently they've figured out how to moderate their forums."

It's like they've literally tried to find every possible way to make this debacle's optics as terrible as possible.

Yeah, I'd even brought this up in another thread on the DEI forum and felt like my concerns had been brushed aside or swept under the carpet, like "we'll make this discussion more public 'soon-ish or so'."

WrenWrites
12-26-2019, 02:52 AM
The timing is certainly deliberate, but I can't imagine how they really thought they wouldn't get a huge backlash for this. It sounds like they didn't even follow procedures. How on earth did they think this wasn't going to end up making RWA look terrible? It seems like everyone who's ever had a problem with them is now airing their dirty laundry. I just don't understand why they didn't anticipate this reaction.

Unimportant
12-26-2019, 03:00 AM
I just don't understand why they didn't anticipate this reaction.
Hubris. Privilege. Willful ignorance. Unconscious bias.

lizmonster
12-26-2019, 03:16 AM
Hubris. Privilege. Willful ignorance. Unconscious bias.

The whole thing smacks of folks who somehow thought the majority would agree with them, or at least not care enough to make a fuss.

Me? I'm not a romance writer, but I've been a reader for a long time. I'll be spending some Christmas money on books by some of the folks the RWA has been failing to properly support.

veinglory
12-26-2019, 03:27 AM
In retrospect they were due for their regular biannual act of idiocy.

Ari Meermans
12-26-2019, 04:43 AM
I just retweeted this thread by Courtney Milan (https://twitter.com/courtneymilan/status/1209828386857635840). It's an excellent thread with a great deal to ponder if you're a writer who wants to write about a culture not your own. This is something I've covered in a number of beta reads over the years (to mixed results, *sigh*) but that thread really brings home the pitfalls a well-meaning writer can fall into all unknowing/unthinking.

For instance, this:


I just wanna say this: If you, as a writer, think you’re going to write someone from an ethnic group where people do not generally have blue eyes, but you’re gonna give them blue eyes to show that THIS person is special...

Please stop.

ElaineA
12-26-2019, 10:12 AM
The whole thing smacks of folks who somehow thought the majority would agree with them, or at least not care enough to make a fuss.

I don't believe for one second they don't know there is at least a significant enough cadre of writers of color and writers from underrepresented communities, as well as white writers who support writers from marginalized communities, who would raise hell. I am on the PAN forum and I've seen plenty of people pushing back on racism, bad representation in stories, and on people saying sh*tty things in forum posts. Board member Donna Alward is (or was) the mod last time I checked in there, and she seemed to me to be supportive of diverse communities and perspectives. They know. They absolutely know.

And if they did believe they could weather this because enough NWLs would agree, or thought not enough people would care to make a fuss, that's straight up stupidity, and none of them should be in the positions they're in. That level of ignorance is disqualifying, period.

frimble3
12-26-2019, 11:09 AM
I just retweeted this thread by Courtney Milan (https://twitter.com/courtneymilan/status/1209828386857635840). It's an excellent thread with a great deal to ponder if you're a writer who wants to write about a culture not your own. This is something I've covered in a number of beta reads over the years (to mixed results, *sigh*) but that thread really brings home the pitfalls a well-meaning writer can fall into all unknowing/unthinking.

For instance, this:
"One question: in worlds where eye color tends to reflect the magic a person has in their soul (e.g., green eyes for earthmagic wielders, blue for watermagic, red for fire, etc.) is it still categorically inappropriate?"

If nothing else, how desperate to avoid brown-eyed characters can you be that you would use the quite-rare green eyes to indicate 'earth magic'? If ever there was an obvious colour for an earth-magic user, it would surely be brown. Especially when there's such a need for matchy-matchy eyes that red eyes are the sign of a fire-magic wielder?

Ari Meermans
12-26-2019, 05:00 PM
"One question: in worlds where eye color tends to reflect the magic a person has in their soul (e.g., green eyes for earthmagic wielders, blue for watermagic, red for fire, etc.) is it still categorically inappropriate?"

If nothing else, how desperate to avoid brown-eyed characters can you be that you would use the quite-rare green eyes to indicate 'earth magic'? If ever there was an obvious colour for an earth-magic user, it would surely be brown. Especially when there's such a need for matchy-matchy eyes that red eyes are the sign of a fire-magic wielder?

Gah!

(Also, you should post your response, frimble; it's perfect.)

AW Admin
12-26-2019, 06:26 PM
In retrospect they were due for their regular biannual act of idiocy.

This is what has me o_O. It's not their first trip to this particular circus. It Keeps Happening.

ElaineA
12-26-2019, 07:15 PM
This morning multiple women of color resigned from the board and other leadership positions (https://twitter.com/courtneymilan/status/1210205855934627840).

Last year, members voted a diverse board, and the organization, from what I can tell, basically used them as a diversity shield while they sided with an "even Nazis deserve love" apologist and a NWL writer who is now a *publisher* (who hired herself a Soros-conspiracy-backing lead editor.)

It's a full implosion. There is no recovering from this.

Ari Meermans
12-26-2019, 07:28 PM
This morning multiple women of color resigned from the board and other leadership positions (https://twitter.com/courtneymilan/status/1210205855934627840).

Last year, members voted a diverse board, and the organization, from what I can tell, basically used them as a diversity shield while they sided with an "even Nazis deserve love" apologist and a NWL writer who is now a *publisher* (who hired herself a Soros-conspiracy-backing lead editor.)

It's a full implosion. There is no recovering from this.

As things stand—with the current staff and board—you're right, there is no recovery. As Unimportant mentioned (https://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?345333-Courtney-Milan-and-RWA&p=10612767&viewfull=1#post10612767), it's hubris and they're too firmly entrenched in their thinking/not thinking/not caring for any meaningful change to come about. If that were not so, they'd have learned from past experience.

WrenWrites
12-26-2019, 09:33 PM
It definitely looks like they've destroyed their own organization over something that could have been handled in a much better way.

JJ Litke
12-26-2019, 11:29 PM
CM posted a twitter thread (https://twitter.com/courtneymilan/status/1210243925526687745) this morning about how a complaint she made in 2015 was handled. Not only was no action taken, the response she got has a bit of a scolding tone that, "Valid complaints against industry professionals should include substantial evidence that the allegations listed in the complaint are true."

Ari Meermans
12-27-2019, 12:50 AM
The CIMRWA chapter called for the resignations of the BOD president, president-elect, and the ED and provided their grounds for doing so. (https://twitter.com/CIMRWA/status/1210266958815477767)

RichardGarfinkle
12-27-2019, 02:03 AM
Mary Robinette Kowal, current president of SFWA tweeted an invite for romance writers whose work is SFF rekated to join SFWA. I hope a number of them take her up on this.

frimble3
12-27-2019, 10:12 AM
Gah!

(Also, you should post your response, frimble; it's perfect.)
Thank you very much! The first thing that struck me was: green magic is for control of plants and similar products of the earth, not 'earth' itself. Unless the system needs to reserve brown eyes for some other commonly used magic.

And I am not on Twitter or Facebook, having deemed myself too distractable as it is. I rely on my fellows here for links, downloads, etc. But, I stand by what I wrote, and if you or anyone wants to transfer that post to Twitter, I give permission, whether you quote or merely put it up, unattributed.

Marissa D
01-10-2020, 01:39 AM
After a looooong couple of weeks, Damon Suede and Carol Ritter stepped down today as President of the Board and Executive Director of RWA, respectively. https://www.rwa.org/Online/News/2020/Announcement_from_the_RWA_Board_of_Directors.aspx

The question in the mind of many members is, will the organization survive this? Should it?

Hathor
01-10-2020, 01:41 AM
Updated, exhaustive timetable for this mess that a friend found. https://www.claireryanauthor.com/blog/2019/12/27/the-implosion-of-the-rwa

BenPanced
01-10-2020, 02:06 AM
For those playing along at home, in a nutshell:


President Damon Suede has stepped down, effective immediately, due to improprieties discovered in his nomination and the subsequent vote. A replacement will not be found until the board has reworked the election process. (Basically, he'd kept information about Dreamspinner away from the rest of the board because he'd lied about a book that was supposed to be released through them this month. Later, he'd said he'd never told anybody it was being released this year. After that, he claimed he'd never said it was coming out through Dreamspinner.)
Executive Director Carol Ritter has also stepped down and will remain in an advisory position.
An article about the situation hits the Guardian, as it has NBC News and the Associated Press domestically. In a follow-up in the Guardian, Kathryn Lynn Davis, one of the women named in the original complaint against Courtney Milan, claims she didn't lose a three-book contract as a result of Milan's tweets and that she was pressured by board members to file the complaint.
The first recall petition was rejected on procedural grounds but a second was successfully delivered within the allotted time frame and was under review when Suede resigned.
The RITA Awards have been cancelled for this year.
Avon, Harlequin, Berkley, Entangled, Tule, Kensington, and Sourcebooks have pulled out of events at this year's national conference.
Nobody's certain if they're even going to the conference this year, in light of recent events.
Approximately 50 agents have also pulled out of the conference.
Speaking of which, members are concerned that forum posts are being deleted wholesale with mods reassuring them the posts have only temporarily vanished for review and will return if they do meet guidelines. Members are reassuring the mods that entire threads disappear wholesale and never return.
Members are still concerned that much of the pertinent discussion still isn't accessible by the general population.
Further consternation erupted when the latest issue of Romance Writers Report, the monthly magazine, appeared to only exacerbate the situation with cover art many interpreted as "great white savior", which showed a white woman helping a black woman up a mountain (according to reports, the stock art site where this was found had an image next to it where the roles were reversed) and a tone-deaf article that wound up being seen as transphobic.


So, yeah. My holiday season was completely destroyed by all of this and I'm surprised I haven't dropped dead from further health issues aggravated by the stress and worry.

ElaineA
01-10-2020, 02:57 AM
After a looooong couple of weeks, Damon Suede and Carol Ritter stepped down today as President of the Board and Executive Director of RWA, respectively. https://www.rwa.org/Online/News/2020/Announcement_from_the_RWA_Board_of_Directors.aspx

The question in the mind of many members is, will the organization survive this? Should it?

I think it should, but only under strict proviso that the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion must be backed up with action. Including, but not limited to: the resignation of the entire board, particularly those Damon Suede hand picked; a membership-wide vote for a new board within a month; evaluation of the entire executive staff (including people working newly created positions that may not fall under "staff") with an eye toward termination of anyone with a controlling hand in both the handling of Courtney Milan's ethics matter, and the *not* handling of other ethics complaints; new guidelines and active moderation of RWA forums to ensure posts which cause harm to members or groups of members are not allowed. This would be the bare minimum to begin with.

RWA has a lot of clout in the publishing industry, clout that benefits a broad swath of authors--not just romance, and not just RWA members (see: Cockygate, among others). They are one of the few organizations that can actually get Amazon to act on complaints. That clout cannot be easily replicated, and it's worth trying to retain. If--big huge IF--RWA can stop picking and choosing its fights based on whim rather than established criteria. And if the organization can be brought into 2020, clear out the bigots, and become the advocacy organization our founders always meant it to be, it's worth saving.



The first recall petition was rejected on procedural grounds but a second was successfully delivered with in the allotted time frame and was under review when Suede resigned.

The petition was certified today, bearing more signatures than were needed. It's not a stretch to suspect that this was a big factor in today's resignations.



So, yeah. My holiday season was completely destroyed by all of this and I'm surprised I haven't dropped dead from further health issues aggravated by the stress and worry.

:Hug2: It really did put a huge, extra stress on the holidays.

Hopefully we can see some real progress on righting some of the wrongs. Sure like to see RWA step in on the Dreamspinner mess, but I suspect it's too late for many authors, and RWA's credibility is weakened at the moment. On the other hand, Dreamspinner appears to have actively falsified information so Suede could run for president under the rules set forth by RWA bylaws, so there may still be some leverage to bring to bear.

Marian Perera
01-10-2020, 04:32 AM
Further consternation erupted when the latest issue of Romance Writers Report, the monthly magazine, appeared to only exacerbate the situation with cover art many interpreted as "great white savior", which showed a white woman helping a black woman up a mountain (according to reports, the stock art site where this was found had an image next to it where the roles were reversed) and a tone-deaf article that wound up being seen as transphobic.

For anyone who wants to see the cover, here's a link :

https://twitter.com/Jeaniene_Frost/status/1214270766130384904

BenPanced
01-10-2020, 05:18 AM
Thanks for sharing that, Marian. I couldn't find the link and hoped somebody else had it available.

Even if this shitstorm wasn't going on, that image is still incredibly problematic in light of current issues RWA is trying to address. Instead, it's just "one more thing" to deal with in the ongoing saga. While they couldn't have physically stopped the magazine from going out, somebody certainly could have addressed the image several months ago before the issue had even been "put to bed" to be printed and mailed. And while the image has been changed for the digital edition (yay?), the original is still being used on the table of contents, keeping with the stylistic guidelines used for previous issues.

AW Admin
01-10-2020, 07:27 AM
Chuck Tingle has posted a link to Romance Wranglers of America (https://www.romancewritersofamerica.com)

Ari Meermans
01-10-2020, 07:43 AM
I wonder if DS rues the day he dragged Chuck Tingle into this by claiming a non-existent relationship 'cause, yanno, Chuck Tingle done messed him up but good.

BenPanced
01-10-2020, 08:28 AM
Chuck Tingle has posted a link to Romance Wranglers of America (https://www.romancewritersofamerica.com)

I qualified for the board! :ROFL:

frimble3
01-10-2020, 10:38 AM
I qualified for the board! :ROFL:
Hey, if they had flat-out asked if I was willing to lie, cheat, pursue unethical behaviour and betray trusting juniors for money and position, I'd be over-qualified!
Instead, they ask silly questions about being able to write. Cheques on other people's money, yes, romance novels, no.

Sonya Heaney
01-10-2020, 02:12 PM
RWA has a lot of clout in the publishing industry, clout that benefits a broad swath of authors--not just romance, and not just RWA members (see: Cockygate, among others). They are one of the few organizations that can actually get Amazon to act on complaints. That clout cannot be easily replicated, and it's worth trying to retain. If--big huge IF--RWA can stop picking and choosing its fights based on whim rather than established criteria. And if the organization can be brought into 2020, clear out the bigots, and become the advocacy organization our founders always meant it to be, it's worth saving.

+1000

I'm not a member of RWA (America - I am of the Australian version), but RWAm dictates how so much of the industry works.

I've been too preoccupied trying not to die in the current bushfires to follow this too closely, but my hope would be the organisation can be fixed rather than eradicated.

And, yeah, that cover was one of the most stupid decisions I've seen in an ages. How could nobody have realised that??

Sonya Heaney
01-10-2020, 02:19 PM
Chuck Tingle has posted a link to Romance Wranglers of America (https://www.romancewritersofamerica.com)

"Apology will not include actual apology."

It's satire, but … not ...

BenPanced
02-17-2020, 09:54 AM
Quick updates in Romancelandia:


The remaining board members have resigned and a special election to fill all positions has been called for March. This will ensure there's some form of leadership to try to address the issues and comply with Texas state law, where RWA is incorporated. (https://www.rwa.org/Online/News/2020/RWA_Board_Resigns_Sets_Special_Election.aspx)
Right around this time is when registration for the national conference is being opened (heavily discounted rates apply for the first 48 hours), having been moved out from the beginning of February. (https://www.rwa.org/Online/Events/RWA_Conference/Registration.aspx)
The Paid Author Network (PAN) boards on the RWA forums have been shut down due to an influx of nastygrams and arguments. (https://www.rwa.org/Online/News/2020/Notice_of_PAN_Forum_Status.aspx) Much of the information that was over there still hasn't been ported over to more public boards even though it was said to be made more public "soon".
The question of Damon's Suede book that qualified him as having met the minimum number of published works a member needs to run for board president still has not been adequately addressed. At this point, many are wondering if it's simply moot.
A DEI expert has been engaged and will address many of the issues that have come forth. (https://www.rwa.org/Online/News/2020/RWA_Engages_DEI_Expert_Michelle_Silverthorn.aspx)
But many of us was won't see any results as there's been a massive hemorrhage of members, including many who have already paid to renew their memberships but resigned. Still others have stated publicly they will not renew due to distrust that has been growing within the organization over issues that have been paid mere lip service and should have been addressed when they were originally brought up (*me raises hand*).

Sonya Heaney
02-17-2020, 10:12 AM
Right around this time is when registration for the national conference is being opened ...

Holy moly, I thought they'd cancel it. I can imagine a lot of newbie authors aren't aware of what's going on, but who's going to present, or take pitches, or win the awards?!

BenPanced
02-17-2020, 10:37 AM
Well, nobody's winning any awards, since the RITA ceremony for this year has been cancelled due to the sheer number of judges and entrants dropping out. (https://www.rwa.org/Online/News/2020/Status_of_the_RITA_Contest.aspx) No other information is available yet, but they still have a section on the conference page about scheduling a pitch session and word has it they're working frantically to include more DEI programming.

frimble3
02-18-2020, 06:15 AM
I guess it must be a horrible thing to be a writer with a book with a good chance for this year's awards. Even if they get carried over to next year - there'll be twice as much competition.

Sonya Heaney
02-18-2020, 06:42 AM
No other information is available yet, but they still have a section on the conference page about scheduling a pitch session and word has it they're working frantically to include more DEI programming.

Who will anyone even pitch to? My publisher has pulled out, and they run the two biggest romance imprints around (Harlequin and Avon). I've seen so many other publishers and agents announce they're also pulling out.

Who knows - maybe there'll be huge changes in the next few months, but with so many people resigning from the organisation I don't see how ...

BenPanced
02-18-2020, 07:13 AM
And with what little time is left until the conference, there's no way to judge whether or not anything's effective at fixing this mess. We could be well on our way to 2021 and beyond to gauge any sort of success or failure in the hopes of enticing pros and publishers to return.

Speaking of which, there's a rumor burning up the forums that people are wanting to run for the board just to kill RWA for good. Some think it's based on pure speculation or a side comment somebody made elsewhere; others have expressed the tiniest bit of worry this could happen.

veinglory
02-18-2020, 08:00 PM
I see more people wanted to join the board and 'fix' RWA. Many of the NWL. I am arguably a NWL myself, and this is not our moment.

thethinker42
02-18-2020, 11:38 PM
Pretty sure the NWLs are the only ones who will step up because they're the only people who want the organization to recover. The general consensus among queer and POC members has been "LET IT BURN." Of course we'll be blamed by the NWLs, but whatever. If they didn't want the house to burn, they shouldn't have played with matches.

Marissa D
02-19-2020, 05:53 PM
My home chapter is about to vote to disaffiliate, and one of my on-line chapters has retained an attorney to help figure how to do so with the least loss of assets (not just our treasury, but our on-line discussions and membership lists and that sort of thing.) The only reason I'm going to re-up in March is because I'm a board member in that chapter, and want to help it go through disaffiliation. Otherwise, I'm in the "let it burn" camp. I know how hard Leslie Scantlebury is trying, but I just really doubt it can be transformed. There's too much of a dead weight of people who were fine with it as it was.

BenPanced
02-20-2020, 03:52 AM
The results of the audit have been released. (https://www.rwa.org/Online/News/2020/Independent_Ethics_Audit_Report_Delivered.aspx?fbc lid=IwAR3LxRQhDLNPLeGKsBscH_RDjDLNa6PnNla4VLrCFacQ EWMrAbML8o-mAZs) TL;DR version: everybody fucked up and fucked up bad. (Link to the full document included in the article.)

veinglory
02-20-2020, 11:40 PM
I have only given it a brief read but this issue of the second 'shadow' ethics committee being used (as reported by members of the existing committee) does not seem to be addressed/ That aspect makes it harder for me to see it as 'dun fucked up' versus 'did it in purpose'.

BenPanced
03-24-2020, 05:34 AM
I was expecting the announcement Friday (don't know where I got that info) but the results of the special election are now available (https://www.rwa.org/Online/News/2020/2020_Special_Election_Results.aspx).

Maryn
03-24-2020, 07:55 PM
There are some good people in that list, including Amergina.

cmhbob
03-24-2020, 08:15 PM
There are some good people in that list, including Amergina.

Hear, hear! Congratulations, Amergina!

- - - Updated - - -


There are some good people in that list, including Amergina.

Hear, hear! Congratulations, Amergina!

frimble3
03-28-2020, 07:29 AM
So, has anything new happened, or is anything new known about the new Board members?

Marissa D
03-28-2020, 08:17 AM
From what I understand, they're getting ready to meet shortly to start picking up the pieces. The biggest issues right now are whether or not the national conference will be able to happen in light of the pandemic (it's in San Francisco at the end of July) and internal issues like the fact that chapter affiliation documentation is due shortly...and a lot of the chapters are not willing to file that paperwork when there are so many unanswered questions, including legal ones, about the parent organization.

frimble3
03-29-2020, 04:54 AM
Aaah, so a ton of clean-up to be done, (and, hopefully, done well) before we can see what's under the mess! Thank you.

Marissa D
03-29-2020, 04:58 AM
Oh god, a metric crap-ton of clean-up to be done...and this board is only in office until the end of the summer, when the next regular election is scheduled. No idea how much of that clean-up they'll be able to accomplish.

BenPanced
04-02-2020, 03:30 AM
Meanwhile, here's an NWL take on things. TL;DR: You can't say anything without offending anybody these days everybody too sensitive they're just looking for a fight. (https://quillette.com/2020/03/31/romance-race-and-retribution/?fbclid=IwAR1Cg3rgW8dYfZz_dMOMpCCktNRkBBx1w_0Y-ew6uVfOfBb0SJahzoSiBAs)

thethinker42
04-02-2020, 09:28 PM
Meanwhile, here's an NWL take on things. TL;DR: You can't say anything without offending anybody these days everybody too sensitive they're just looking for a fight. (https://quillette.com/2020/03/31/romance-race-and-retribution/?fbclid=IwAR1Cg3rgW8dYfZz_dMOMpCCktNRkBBx1w_0Y-ew6uVfOfBb0SJahzoSiBAs)

Wow, that was a trip. o.O

Introversion
04-02-2020, 09:56 PM
Under-representation of writers of color among RWA’s membership (80 percent of which is white) and RITA finalists created the perception that the organization had a problem, and this perception rapidly became an accepted fact from which all further conversation was expected to follow.

Gee, you think?

ElaineA
04-02-2020, 10:32 PM
Meanwhile, here's an NWL take on things. TL;DR: You can't say anything without offending anybody these days everybody too sensitive they're just looking for a fight. (https://quillette.com/2020/03/31/romance-race-and-retribution/?fbclid=IwAR1Cg3rgW8dYfZz_dMOMpCCktNRkBBx1w_0Y-ew6uVfOfBb0SJahzoSiBAs)

I was particularly struck by the photos included: polished, professional headshots for the "good guys," Courtney looking like TMZ surprised her by trying to snap a "what celebs look like without makeup" photo as she stepped out of her hotel room.

I want to complain about becoming aware of that vile piece of propaganda, but I violated my cardinal rule and read the comments, so I have no one but myself to blame. The Quillette sure does cater to a predictably horrid crowd of readers, if that was anything to go by.

lizmonster
04-02-2020, 11:01 PM
Gee, you think?

Yeah, as the kids are fond of saying, there were a lot of NWLs showing their entire asses in that article, and in the comments.