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Thread: Has the RWA gone insane?

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  1. #11
    Mostly purring. Mostly. CheshireCat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Mostly inside my own head.


    Read the whole thread now.

    I'll begin this by saying I don't have a dog in this fight either. Not only am I not a member of RWA, but I was print-published so long ago that e-publishers weren't even a gleam of an idea in someone's mind.

    That said -- I belonged to RWA for more than a decade, dropped out for several reasons, one of which was simply that the organization was no longer relevant to my career. If it ever had been.

    So this year's flap isn't impressing me a whole lot.

    Yeah, you heard me. This year's flap. There's one, on average, every year or two, and everything usually hits the fan right around the weeks surrounding National. If one were of a conspiratorial frame of mine, one might almost think it was a planned thing.

    But, no. It's a stupid thing. It's always a stupid thing. Whichever "faction" happens to be predominant on the Board makes a usually-abortive attempt to impose their beliefs and/or values on the organization. There's a giant hue and outcry from whatever segment of the membership is most affected by the attempt to change whatever it is and, eventually, the stupid idea is either dropped or else gets massaged until a majority of the membership shrugs and agrees.

    Quote Originally Posted by pepperlandgirl View Post
    So you are arguing that an organization of authors, dedicated to authors' rights, somehow wasn't aware of what it was writing? And that this same organization of authors didn't have anybody checking and double-checking the language before publishing the guidelines?

    That actually doesn't make the situation better.
    You've gotta remember that the vast majority of RWA members are unpublished. Usually (I don't know if this applies to the current flap, because I'm out of the loop, but it has been true on past occasions) most of the Board members are barely published, if that. So there's jealousy, and pettiness, and general attempts to control who else gets to join their club, or stay in the club, or plan the future of the club. Bitchiness abounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jersey Chick View Post
    When it comes right down to it, it doesn't matter what the standards are because, the way I see it, if an epub comes thisclose to attaining them, they'll just be changed again. Reminds me of a taller kid holding a smaller kid's toy just out of reach, and lifting it higher each time the kid jumps.

    However, their lumping of epub with vanity is flat out wrong and that does nothing to help the very people this organization was created for to help. Now it seems to be just a very exclusive club that intends to remain a very exclusive club. I'd probably let my membership lapse, but I need it to remain in my local chapter - which does recognize me as published and offers a hell of a lot more than what I get from RWA. No matter how much info I get from the RWR, it is hardly worth $95/year.
    But, see, the thing about this exclusive club, the thing most of the members seem to forget -- especially during flaps -- is that RWA isn't relevant to anybody's career. Really, it isn't. Maybe that's why the flaps come along every so often, so RWA can feel relevant again.

    Quote Originally Posted by job View Post
    You think this isn't plausible --- nay likely?

    You were in the RWA how long?
    I have to say, twenty years of watching RWA, and they have been fairly consistent in their stupidities.

    Quote Originally Posted by MMcC View Post
    That still makes them look like the idiots they have become.


    ALL writers know how tetchy the term "vanity publisher" is. This wasn't a little slip-up. The attitude has been getting more and more elitist at RWA. It has caused many authors to seek other support.
    Elitist. See, this is where I find myself frowning in genuine bewilderment. The majority of RWA members are unpublished. They'd mostly sell their firstborns to get a publishing credit to their names, and lowering the bar (if that's the perception) would suit them just fine. So this isn't a majority decision; it's never a majority decision.

    RWA isn't elitist. Some members of RWA are elitist. Always have been. Probably always will be. The names may change, but there's always at least one faction with that holier-than-thou, better-than-you mentality. Maybe because it's mostly a Girl's Club. (And I say that being a girl myself.)

    Bitchy. As I said before.

    Quote Originally Posted by pepperlandgirl View Post
    I think it's far less likely than a deliberate attempt to exclude epublishers. This did not happen in a vacuum job. This didn't come out of nowhere. They began making noises about excluding certain authors and certain publishers around about the time Samhain, Loose ID and Triskelion met their previous requirements. This isn't even the first time RWA transparent attempts to exclude certain authors has been mentioned in this forum.
    Which "they" is it this time? The Board? A few of the chapters? Members in Red states? Because, see, there's also a strong streak of conservatism running through RWA, and through the romance audience. That does not mean, of course, that erotica and gay romance and what other "controversial" sub-genres of romance you'd care to name aren't wildly popular from time to time.

    Romance goes in cycles, as anyone who's been watching for two decades or more will tell you. Right now, hot is "in." But, see, the difference in this cycle is that erotica authors are more in-your-face about what they're writing than some in RWA and some segment of the market is at all comfortable with. (I'm cheering you guys on from the sidelines, by the way; I love it when the conservative mentality gets challenged.)

    Way back in the 70s, the dirty little secret of romance was that the porn-dressed-up-as-romance (mostly written by men) was flying off the shelves, along with the Mandingo "romances" that were historicals filled with black slaves ravishing delighted white women.

    Little old ladies bought those books. I know, because I worked in a bookstore at the time, and it blew my mind.

    Anyway, my point -- I think -- is that it isn't the current "hotness" of erotica and gay romance and whatever else that poses a "threat" to the PTB at RWA, it's just its visibility. If you guys were quietly selling well and not proudly promoting your work, RWA wouldn't give a flip. But you're Public. You're Promoting Unconventional Values and -- and -- and How Dare You!!

    How Dare You Sully the Good Name of Romance!!

    Yes, lots of them really do think that way. RWA has been tying itself in knots since the year of its inception trying to "define" romance, and since the conventional, traditional view is one-man-one-woman-HEA, that's the definition they keep trying to solidify.

    But, of course, they can't. Because romance has always been more than that, and as the number of published (in whatever form) romance writers grows, so do the sub-genres of romance. Ask the paranormal authors how belittled they felt because the conventional faction in RWA was uncomfortable with, oh, werewolves mating, and vampires having lots of hot sex, and shapeshifters doing all kinds of strange and (dirty) non-traditional things in bed.

    The one-man-one-woman thing didn't really fly when you started talking about aliens and manbeasts and whatnot.

    But the market was strong enough, and its authors vocal enough, that it couldn't be ignored or dismissed.

    Quote Originally Posted by kayscribe View Post
    You're right JerseyGirl, not much to do aside from letting your membership lapse. That's what I'm doing.

    It's like being back in high school and the cheerleaders won't let anyone outside their little circle sit at their lunch table. Ya think after a certain age, we'd all outgrow that.
    No. No, no, no, children. Don't just fade away into the misty night! Write letters to the RWA Report. (If it's still being called that.) Lots and lots of letters expressing your justifiable outrage. Have other members write letters. Form up in groups and sign petitions.

    I'm serious. The PTB in RWA (whoever they are this year) always, always, always crumble in the face of pressure.

    Always. Partly because they really do want your dues money, but mostly because they're never standing on solid ground in their little control-the-membership or control-the-market games. They're almost always wrong, in part if not entirely.

    So write. Yell. Protest. Don't just leave -- and if you have to leave, slam the freakin' door on your way out!

    Quote Originally Posted by pepperlandgirl View Post
    Re point 4: I don't think it's erotica they want to keep out of romance. They don't want the RWA to be tainted with "teh ghey."

    It's contagious, you know.

    And also yucky.

    See above. Anything non-traditional really does make a lot of people uncomfortable. But there's a market for the non-traditional, even the extreme (whatever that may be these days), and as long as there is, you guys have power. Use it.

    Quote Originally Posted by JulesJones View Post
    Not just gay,I think. Anything with more than one cock per bed, and that includes the polyamory romances as well. Remember "romance is one man, one woman"?

    Though referring to it as a cock rather than a manhood probably doesn't help.
    A cock by any other name is still a cock, right? There's a readership out there who is also weary of reading euphemisms; the conservative voices in RWA just don't want to admit it.

    Quote Originally Posted by kayscribe View Post
    Am I the only one waiting for the dinasours to die out already? Geez... some people need to open their minds. The market speaks for itself. Erotica is here to stay, so might as well get used to it.
    News for you. The original dinosaurs of RWA -- those of us who, for our sins, signed on way back at the beginning -- are mostly gone. The current dinosaurs are, IMO, part of the whole you've-got-to-control-people mentality that's been the norm in the US since 9/11. Dunno if they'll exit the organization anytime soon, but I do hope wiser heads will prevail (in the US as well as the RWA's little corner of it) and this ridiculous need to dictate to others how they should think and feel, and what stories constitute "real" romance will die the death it deserves.

    But I'm an optimist.

    Quote Originally Posted by jodiodi View Post
    I feel bad for the people who will be adversely affected by these rule changes. You have my wishes for all the best.

    However, I'm incredibly shallow and self-centered, apparently. As an unpublished writer, I don't really care about whether whoever publishes my book is 'recognized' or anything else by any organization. As long as they pay me more than it cost me to submit and my book is published and available for people to read and (hopefully) buy, I'm a happy camper. Maybe someday, such considerations will be important to me. Maybe it's a case of the more you have, the more you have to lose. Right now, though, I'm just a lowly peasant in the vast writing empire.
    No, you're the "average" member of RWA. Unpublished and wanting to get published. The exact sort of member the organization is supposed to be helping. Which is why you and other members like you need to join with the "banned and barred" members and yell and stamp your feet. Make some noise.

    Don't let them take away or belittle any legitimate potential market for your work.

    Quote Originally Posted by kayscribe View Post
    Barbara, no you're not paranoid. The conspiracy theory streak runs in these veins, too...lolol...

    I've always said that e-pub is here to stay. Of all the industries, publishing seems to be the most muling. There's a genuine fear now that they see our books in the shelves alongside the Avon and St. Martin's Press. I just did a book signing beside a couple of well-known NYTimes best selling authors and I sold as many copies of my book as they did that day. I knew this would happen, I think the RWA hoped epubs would all quietly disappear into the night. But they didn't, and they're not. Fighting technology is futile. Sooner or later, RWA will have to get with the program, or they'll quietly disappear into the night.
    Nah, they aren't afraid you're stealing their place in the market. E-publishing isn't a large enough segment of the market yet to make that likely. Probably will be, one day, but the shift will be gradual, and no writer's group is going to stop progress. No, it isn't how you publish that bothers them. Seriously. Most print authors have e-book editions, and see the numbers. (I know I do.) It isn't a case of kill-the-competition. (If that was the case, Nora Roberts would have a HUGE target on her forehead. Or in the middle of her back. )

    It's that whole relevancy thing. RWA needs to feel relevant, and that means they need to try to control things. They can't lobby, can't set standards and practices for the publishing industry. Their attempts to get fairer contract terms, or better money, or have egregious contract clauses removed have shown mixed results, to say the least. They can't control the Big Print Publishers, and small presses have always been notoriously independent. But e-publishers? Ah -- something on the cutting edge. Something that might need RWA recognition in order to feel important in the industry.

    It's as simple as that, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jersey Chick View Post
    Oy - so that was the problem. We just didn't get what they were saying. We misunderstood. That's all.

    Spare me. Don't insult my intelligence on top of everything else. (that's pointed at RWA, not any posters here).

    Better jump aside, I don't want to see anyone get run over with the speed of reverse.
    RWA has classic CYA maneuvers, and the "that's not what we meant" is always one of them. Then instead of admitting to being wrong, they can pout about being misunderstood -- while they rethink, reword, rework, or dismiss whatever half-assed idea started the whole flap in the first place.

    I understand you guys being pissed but, you know, RWA needs you a lot more than you need them. Try to keep that in mind while writing your passionate letters to the editor.

    Quote Originally Posted by pepperlandgirl View Post
    They aren't a predominately gay publisher, but they certainly publish quite a bit of m/m and threesomes (and moresomes) and books that are most assuredly not "one man and one woman."
    Such a threat to the "traditional values" that faction within RWA so desperately wants to promote. I've always been baffled by this need to impose one's beliefs on others, so my only comment is -- stand up and yell at the idiots.

    I almost wish I was still a member, just so I could watch.


    I have friends still members, so I'll ask for the play-by-play.
    Last edited by CheshireCat; 07-14-2007 at 04:44 AM.

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