An Exclusive Club
For me, it is that time of year again. I opened the mailbox and there sat my little renewal package from the Romance Writers of America. This time last year I was waffling about renewing with RWA. I’d entered the San Antonio Romance Authors 2008 Merritt “Magic Moment” Contest and the very week my renewal was due I heard I’d finalled.
Hmm. I didn’t think I could win an RWA sponsored contest if I’d relinquished my membership so I went ahead and renewed. (My manuscript The Trouble With Tessa won the single title category. Yay! Coming soon from The Wild Rose Press)
This year, I am less sure than ever about the benefits of membership. My RWA chapter contest days are behind me. The feedback can be terrific, but it can also be mixed and confusing, and time and time again I’ve seen that a contest win in no way guarantees a book contract. And then I have to look at the big contests. According to recent changes in rules, as a multi-published e-book and print author with several small presses, I am too published to be eligible to enter the Golden Heart.
Okay, I get that. The rules clearly state that the Golden Heart is for unpublished authors. Except the contest geared toward published authors, The Rita, has closed the doors to authors who are not contracted with a large enough publisher for a specified print run. (I have no idea how many books this actually is. One thousand? Ten Thousand? If anyone knows, please feel free to leave it in comments and help get the information out there.)
So, here I am, writing my little heart out and working my (not so little) butt off to build my writing career. Anyone who knows me, both online or off, knows that I am “seriously pursuing a romance fiction writing career,” which is straight from the RWA renewals form as a prerequisite for general membership. I pay the same fee as everyone else—matter of fact, I pay a bit more for living in Canada. Yet an association supposedly devoted to helping all authors and aspiring authors get the most out of membership appears to be going out of their way to say e-book and small press published authors ‘don’t count’ in the grand scheme of things.
Remind me, what are the benefits of membership? The RWA does maintain an up-to-date website with publisher and agent listing. But that is all information I can find on the Internet. I know a lot of my writer pals have terrific experiences with local chapter meetings. I’m two hours away from the nearest chapter. Not a benefit I can reap. The Romance Writers Report often contains informative and entertaining articles, but if that’s all I’m getting for membership, $95.00 is a darn expensive magazine subscription.
There, you’ve convinced me. Hear that? It’s the sound of me tearing up my Dues Renewal letter. Anyone “seriously pursuing a romance fiction writing career” knows that promotion is an important part of the path. Ninety-five bucks will buy me a lot of advertising right here on The Long and Short of It!
So what say you? RWA member, or not?