41,096 / 70,000
Wolf Unbound – start of Day 4 – up 3063 from yesterday! Wheee!
Smidgen of the day:
His father nodded. “I’m glad to hear it. I don’t know what to say, son. I’ve just never imagined this situation. I like it very much that this Tegan makes you happy but I’ve never met a werewolf before much less had one in my family. I’d be shocked if you married a Protestant girl, this is way out of my league.”
Now – so I go back and forth on the whole issue of RWA membership because of some of the attitudes from the National Organization regarding epublishing, small presses and erotic romance in general. But I do like what the chapters offer and I’m of the opinion, or I have been, that the voices within the ranks should speak up. So when my dues came last month I paid them and now I’m sorry.
I am because on the eve of the national conference (one I am SO glad I didn’t spend a dime to attend) they’ve unveiled two of the most exclusionary new rules I’ve seen from them in a while. The first one is how publishers become RWA recognized. In the last few years several epublishers have received recognition: Ellora’s Cave was the first, then Trisk (a very controversial decision) and then Loose Id and Samhain. This agitated many people who seem to think the RWA should be about excluding people to make those members feel better about just how special they are because others aren’t.
To wit – the new board ruling on publisher recognition unveiled today:
Commencing with RWA’s 2008 National Conference, for official publisher participation, a romance publisher must verify to RWA that it: (1) is not a Subsidy Publisher or Vanity Publisher; (2) has been releasing romance novels via national distribution for no fewer than three years, with no fewer than two full-length romance novels or novel-length romance anthologies published in each of three consecutive years; (3) provides per book advances of at least $1,000 for all books; and (4) pays all authors participating in an anthology an advance of at least $500.
and they give us this little “note”
The Board wishes to note that a $1,000 advance for a novel is an extremely small sum. It is, however, a minimal indicator that a publisher is invested in an author’s career to the degree that RWA can reasonably allocate its conference resources to that publisher, as some consideration has been paid for use of an author’s rights.
What they’ve done is effectively pushed all epublishers out the door. Firstly, ones like Samhain who do give nominal advances and go to print but who’ve not been open for three years yet and then for everyone else with the 1K advance requirement.
I don’t talk about money in public. It’s crass and it’s like talking about how great your books are or how special your writing is or whatever, it’s tacky. BUT, I will say because it’s germane here, I make good money with epublishing. I can’t compare it to NY because my NY book isn’t out yet. But I am a romance writer for two very good romance publishers other than Harlequin (and hey, Harlequin is the grand damme so hee!). Moreover, is that all that makes a romance author? Money? Because what about those authors who struggle and don’t sell through but do so with a big publisher? Are they suddenly not romance writers because something they wrote didn’t resonate with enough readers to make them count?
And the advance stuff is another total blind spot. Look I’m not saying I hate advances, I love them, LOL. But it’s not the only indicator that a publisher is invested in an author. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, the size of the advance is such a small part of it. Look at publishers who do pay small advances but who do a lot of promotion for their authors and give their authors many avenues to write different things and explore. Dorchester does this. Look at Shomi! It’s a great line but totally experimental. They’ve done a lot of advertising for it though. My biggest point is, let the authors make the decisions based on what they feel is most important. Aside from fraudulent places charging authors to print books, etc, this stuff is all smoke and mirrors.
How is this reorganization to close the “club” doors on epublishers good for authors in any way? This is an organization made for romance authors. If they only mean those people the board thinks are worthy, they should say so and stop using my sales numbers to make romance look better. Stop taking my fucking dues then, damn it.
The continual moving of the goal posts to keep out the “undesirables” from RWA is so obvious and so ridiculous, I must admit I’m flabbergasted (and I love the word flabbergasted!) at the absolute, in your face bias I see. And yep, it’s bias. It’s bigotry from people who have no idea what it takes to be a working writer so they assume everyone faces the same struggles and has the same goals with their writing. I want to know how those board members voted on this stuff. Does anyone know? Does it have to be unanimous?
And the PAN stuff, not surprised. More of the same. As if by shutting people out it protects them. Like segregation protected people. It’s backwards logic but sadly, it’s pretty common.