Sunday, June 21, 2009

Romance Writers of America

If you are a member of Romance Writers of America and are following the shoot-out between president Diane Pershing and Deirdre Knight regarding the 'legitimacy' of ebooks vs print editions from New York publishers, check out this link.

I have been a member of RWA since 1986 and the longer I stay the more I see that this organization is not representing me and my needs even though they constantly assert that assumption. They also have decided to sit in judgment on a number of issues mainly anything that has to do with digital content and the decision to make ebook authors second class citizens because they have chosen an alternate form of publishing. According to Ms Pershing ebook authors are not serious minded with an eye toward a career in writing and the only legitimate path is publication with a New York publisher. Any other form of publishing is considered not legitimate.

This is just my opinion, but I really want to tell RWA to grow up. Many New York publishers are jumping on the ebook bandwagon. Harper Collins recently agreed to allow Scribd to publish all their books in digital format. If the New York publishers can see the writing on the wall why is RWA holding such a stubborn path in the face of so much overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

I find that I am weighing the issue of renewing because I'm being told that RWA is representing me and yet I don't see that. RWA also asserts that it's looking out for my interests. Pardon me, but that's a lot of BS. They are looking out for their interests and every time a new president is sworn in that person uses the office as a platform for their agenda.

Every year when I see the budget figures in the RWR I can't help but wonder why the RWR is still in print considering the cost of printing. Most chapters have already switched to digital newsletters. My chapter has done digital newsletters for over ten years. The local chapters seem to be a whole lot wiser than the leadership on the Board of Directors. Unfortunately, those of us who are smart tend to stay away from the national arena because of the base politics that seem to thrive at that level.

The ebook controversary has been a part of RWA politics for ten years or more, from the time all ebook authors were kicked out of PAN in the most graceless, tasteless, rude manner possible. The controversy continues.

I am saddened by an organization that has so much power chooses to use that power for only a select few, discarding others while at the same time alleging that they are looking out for our interests. If RWA was looking out for my interests than maybe they need to start thinking in a more global manner. Publishing with a New York publisher is certainly a goal many writers have, but the reality is, publishing is evolving away from the business model that has been in place for a hundred years or more. When we don't move forward we stagnate. RWA seems to be going backward, not forward.

Just my humble opinion. Miriam

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