Sigh
Friday, June 19th, 2009

I’d really hoped to have a post about something I wasn’t complaining about today. Sadly, after reading the thunderingly horrible, sneeringly disrespectful “letter” from RWA President Diane Pershing I’m so stunned I’m gonna have to do it.

I read the post, read it again and got up to go into the kitchen. I told my husband and he’s like, “why do you even bother with these people? She’s roadkill, you make good money, you sell books, don’t get caught up in this.”

He’s right of course. I shouldn’t. I don’t have the time. I have books to write and kids to wrangle and summer is here so I have even less time to finish this book before I leave for National in less than a month. Diane Pershing doesn’t give a monkey’s about me or my path and she states that pretty clearly when she emphasizes what a minority of the organization digitally published authors are.

But yeah, I’m sort of stubborn that way. She brought it, she went there, so I’m gonna respond. I’m not bothering to respond to Pershing at the ESPAN site because she’s not listening. She’s not listening because she does NOT CARE. I’m going to repeat that. The President of the 10,000 member strong Romance Writers of America does not care about serving her constituents. Not all of them anyway.

What I’m saying here is that one model does not have to be the same as another model for it to be valid. Epublishing does not have to give an advance to serve their authors. The models are DIFFERENT.

Moreover, regardless of how many of RWA’s members are writing for epublishers or not, your stated mission is to represent the needs of career focused authors. now, I know you’ve changed the concept of career focus to be sure you have edged out epublishers by definition with the advance thing. But we all know this is a ruse. Saying, “hey just be exactly like this other model and you’ll be valid” is ridiculous.

Since Pershing is fetishizing money, is she doing so with everyone or just epublished members? I was not aware that epublishing is the only model where there are a few very top earners, more middle earners and those who make far less at the bottom. I’m pretty sure this is true of traditional publishing. And advertising. And every other freaking business model in the world. Hello, is this news? Is it news that there are a small group of top earners and you shouldn’t use those numbers as a general indicator? Because, correct me if I’m wrong and all, but do all print authors make over say, sixty million a year? If so, damn! I gotta get my agent to call Berkley cause I am NOT making the kind of royalties Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich, etc are making.

And OF COURSE I don’t. FFS, Nora and company have done their time. They’ve written longhand at the kitchen table and gotten kids through school and devoted time and effort to their craft and are now reaping the fabulous rewards. But the fact is, MOST of us, print or not, will never make that kind of money. That’s how the world works. This is not new, this is not unusual.

And for Pete’s sake, what is it with Pershing and her obsession with a thousand dollars anyway? If money is the only indicator of career focus, validity and success, what percentage of RWA members don’t count in her book then? If a thousand dollars is “success” I call foul. Being “guaranteed” a thousand dollars doesn’t do a damned thing for me. It’s not how I measure success and I’m not interested in what Diane Pershing uses in her own career to measure that. That’s her business and I’d never presume to tell her or anyone else what their path should be.

In closing, since I have to pick up children shortly and then do lunch and write and do some laundry (I’m all about glamour, baby) – I’ll leave you with what I said to an anonymous poster at the ESPAN site because I think, for me, it gets at the root of my problems with the current approach:

Hey anonymous, this is Lauren Dane – I’ve BEEN ponying up. I’ve been doing blog entries about the business, providing information about how the different models work to give people some more tools to make choices best for them and I don’t even do it anonymously.

I do it because the RWA is NOT doing it. I do it because I AM career focused and unlike the President of the RWA, I do care about members who are trying to figure out what path is right for them.

Epublishing is not right for every author. Not every digital publisher is one authors should write for. There are crappy publishers out there who pay late, mismanage money and put out horrible product. Ignoring this will not make it go away. Ignoring this will not protect newbie authors from getting involve because they don’t know how to make better choices.

I don’t really care about “unfair” I’m not in third grade anymore. What I care about is my career. What I care about is how well ignorance breeds contempt and lack of information will NOT help newbie writers, it won’t help anyone.

I don’t need you or Diane Pershing to hide the facts for my own good. I have a mother and a working brain. You can’t protect people by keeping them ignorant. We are grown women. Give people the tools, let the information be given and let us make our own choices.

11 comments to “Sigh”

  1. Joy Roach
    June 19th, 2009 at 2:52 pm · Link

    Pershing’s letter was freakin’ ridiculous. And her contempt was not even thinly veiled. It’s like she thinks she’s talkin to idiots. *sigh*

    Rant on, Lauren. Rant on!



  2. Melissa Blue
    June 19th, 2009 at 4:27 pm · Link

    And for Pete’s sake, what is it with Pershing and her obsession with a thousand dollars anyway?

    HA! Seriously, this made me laugh. Is it okay if I sit over here with a small girl crush on you? And, you’re an attorney.

    I want to be Lauren Dane when I grow up.



  3. Cynthia Eden
    June 19th, 2009 at 8:10 pm · Link

    I’m really curious…I wonder how many of the 10,000+ members are actually epublished? B/c I think that number is fairly large (not such a minority after all). In my local chapter, the epubbed outnumber the print pubs and that’s the case in several other chapters I know of, too. Just curious…



  4. Zoe Winters
    June 20th, 2009 at 12:32 am · Link

    Hey Lauren,

    Your husband is a very smart man, sounds like mine!

    I too wonder about this woman’s obsession with $1000 dollars. It reminds me of Robert Tilton the tele-evangelist that comes on TV at about 4 am asking for a $1000 vow of faith.

    Maybe Pershing regularly meets Tilton for coffee and they’ve both determined $1000 to be a good amount of money to focus on.

    Doesn’t sound like career-level money to me though.

    Maybe Pershing needs her own television show.



  5. Zoe Winters
    June 20th, 2009 at 12:34 am · Link

    oops, forgot to add…

    “Publishers, make that $1000 vow of faith.”

    (stupid fingers pressing the submit button too fast.)



  6. Susan Helene Gottfried
    June 20th, 2009 at 4:38 am · Link

    You know, babe, many of our shared friends have encouraged me to join RWA. But I can’t bring myself to. I just can’t. And it’s for this reason.

    I want to be part of an organization that takes me for what I am. A writer. It doesn’t matter how I get my fiction out there — and right now, I’m doing it as a bottom-feeder (and making a profit, mind you). What matters is that I deserve the respect and support of everyone else out there working hard to improve my craft.

    Maybe it’s because I’m Jewish and I’m sick of these same attitudes in the Jewish community: You’re not Jewish enough. I don’t know. But I do know that until ALL these writing organizations get off their high horses and respond to the changing industry, I’m not joining any more of them.

    If that means I’m as solo as I am right now, so be it. At least no one’s cutting me down for building a readership and serving them.



  7. Brandy W
    June 20th, 2009 at 9:24 am · Link

    I can tell I’m way out of my league with all of this. I want to understand but really don’t. I’m not sure if that stems from me being a reader and looking at the end product or if there is something else.

    I want my books in any format that I can get. Hell I just set up my phone so I can read on it. One fantastic multi-functional piece of technology. I’ve yet to figure out how to cram a print book in it.



  8. Tuscan Capo
    June 20th, 2009 at 11:16 am · Link

    Argh maties, where’s me shining gold thousand gildas?

    You make some excellent points! :smile:



  9. Ann
    June 20th, 2009 at 6:42 pm · Link

    I’ve been a librarian for over 10 years now, and I’ve yet to join ALA. And they are actually relevent to my career (I’m told anyway). The only reason I was planning on going to DC this year was to see you and all of the other writers I’ve met at RT and Lori Fosters, and the book signing. As far as writing, nothing they say can help me make my books better, and that’s what I’m focusing on for now.
    Rant on, Lauren, you rock. :)



  10. Deidre Knight
    June 20th, 2009 at 10:18 pm · Link

    I think I just spit out my last glass of Saturday night wine. Or would that be whine, if others (who shall remain nameless) had their descriptive say about me, you and everyone else who cares about educating RWA’s members?

    Lauren, you rock and so does this blog post. Thank you for saying it all, with humor and grace!
    Deidre Knight
    (Did someone pay you a 1k advance for writing this??)



  11. Gennita Low
    June 21st, 2009 at 7:19 am · Link

    Rock on, Lauren :twisted:! Brrrrrring her the hookah!



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