It’s really easy to be aggrieved. There are things I see every day that push my buttons and annoy the heck out of me. But as authors, we’re responsible for the community we make.
Not everyone is out to get us. Not everyone hates us. Not everyone is jealous or whatever. These statements apply to not just one situation but to many I’ve seen online in the last two years or so.
An example? the RWA – I am not always 100% pleased with what goes on with the National Board. I am not always pleased about things I hear or read either. I am very displeased that there’s no Erotic category within the RITA. The RWA is not perfect, it has a long way to go.
However, I’d like to say that if, every time we see something negative, we build it up to be a grand conspiracy, it erodes our overall goals. For example – the RITA thing. I’ve heard things said about EROM by board members that make me cringe. But there is no amount of good to be had if I whine about it (other than to my BFF and my poor beleagured husband).
Big organizations change slowly. Moreover, if we want to be taken seriously we have to act like the professionals we say we are. So instead of nitpicking every little thing, it might serve us better if we took our victories and worked to change those nits with positive energy instead of negative energy.
I believe there should be an Erotic category in the RITA because the construct of an erotic romance is DIFFERENT than in a non-erotic romance. Sex is central to the story in a way it is not in even a sensual or very spicy romance. Page space is taken up differently and IMO, in a way that when compared to a non erotic, the erotic can’t compete. Not because it is worse, but because it is different. Much like you need worldbuilding in futuristics and paranormals but not in the same way in a contemporary – they’re *different* that’s my perspective and I hope that I can state it calmly and reasonably even though I feel quite passionately about it, passionately enough that I’ll never enter an erotic in the RITA as it’s structured now because I think it’s an exercise in futility and a waste of money. However, there are people who disagree and that’s fine too and I’ve heard their arguments, which make sense as well.
I don’t think it serves me or anyone else for that matter, except those that hate erotics, to argue that the reason there’s no RITA category is because National hates us and hates sex and is jealous of our sales. I think that takes something legitimate and it strips all substance from the argument and transports us to eighth grade. It makes us look like whiners.
This is just an example, I’m not trying to call anyone out except to say that when we’re trying to be taken seriously and we act in a less than professional manner, it’s no real surprise when people think we’re a bunch of ill bred upstarts trying to tear down romance.
It’s the same way when people complain about RT. Don’t go if you don’t like it. Problem solved. No one makes you pay to go to RT or to Nationals for that matter. No one makes you take out an ad in RT either so for the love of all that is topped with buttercream frosting can we NOT revisit the same topics over and over?
Seriously, when we spend so much time being defensive we’re losing opportunities to be proactive instead of reactive. I keep hearing that we’re rebels and forging new ground which is awesome. But at the same time, we have to make some attempt to make friends, you know? Because if we want to be part of the whole, we have to stop this incessant martyr shit, all this bickering, because it makes us look like a bunch of whiners.
I don’t need to make excuses for what I write. I like what I write. What I write is romance and frankly, three aggreived people writing to the RWR about how I’m a whore writing porn doesn’t change what reality is. It agitates me that folks would rather write the RWR about erotics intead of not reading them, but really, so what? At some point, we have to just shine it on and WRITE.
I guess what I’m saying is there comes a point when some groups just look like they want to be unhappy. No matter what. No matter how much information they’re given to correct a misperception, they’ll change the subject to continue to be upset. Because they like being upset. There are people like that, I know because I’m related to a few. But what I don’t like is being tarred with that brush.
If we want to be taken seriously as hard working authors who write romance, let’s just do that, shall we? When we raise our voices and our collective power, let’s think about how we do it. How we say things, what we say and who we say them to – these things are key, IMO, to making change.
Unless you don’t actually want change and you like sitting in that mud eating worms. You know?
Everyone is not out to get us. But for those who are, we don’t need to go giving them ammunition either.
August 8th, 2008 at 2:54 pm · Link
And just for the record? I was on the last RITA reformation committee, or task force, or whatever the heck it was called, and except for one person we all recommended that there be a separate erotic romance category in the RITAs for the very reason you mentioned — they’re NOT just regular romances with hotter sex scenes, they’re structured entirely differently.
As you can see, our recommendation wasn’t accepted. And because of that, erotic books are being sent to judges who don’t get/like them and consequently don’t have a clue how to grade them, because they’re being told to judge them against “standard” historicals or contemps or paras or whatever, and that simply does not work.
To me, not exactly rocket science. But as you said…takes a long time to shift an organization with ten thousand pairs of legs.
August 8th, 2008 at 3:15 pm · Link
Thanks Karen. It does tend to make me a bit crazy, LOL, but all I can do is hope that in five years this won’t be an issue.
BY the way, your books page at your website is awe inspiring!
August 8th, 2008 at 3:18 pm · Link
Thanks, Lauren! I look at it and go, geez, that’s a lot of books. 😆
Makes me tired to just think about it!
August 8th, 2008 at 5:07 pm · Link
I heart you, Lauren.
August 10th, 2008 at 9:39 am · Link
Very well said!! I am a Romance reader of 25 years & with purchasing a Palm in January have since found erotic romance. It is a whole new, wonderful world. I went from having 1-2 had to buy authors ( long time Johanna Lindsey fan) to having ~10 faves and another 15 or so close 2nds. Those 25 consist of what I consider erotic authors -at least for some of their books. But the are all on the new excel spreadsheet of must haves. I didn’t even keep a list before. My book budget has been exponentially enlarged. It had to be.
I agree with you in “I don’t put my money with things I don’t agree with” ( I hope I made sense I’m not good with quotes). If I don’t like somewhere, someone, or someplace I don’t shop there, eat there, or spend my money there. Much of this is new to me (I’m technically challenged). I didn’t know you could go to author web sites, check things out, e-mail them, & have them return e-mails. It’s a wonderful experience. But by far, the erotic romance writers on my list are the ones that stay personally vested in their clients/fans. They actually answer questions & look at the opportunities for the freebie stuff. I didn’t even know that their was such a thing as an ARC.
Keep writing please! I stand on my issues/concerns/soapboxes pretty firmly also.
August 10th, 2008 at 11:02 am · Link
Lauren…all I can say is Amen and Hallelujah! I absolutely agree with what you said in your post. I actually enjoy both inspirational romances and erotic romances. (Do I need therapy?) I discovered erotic fiction last year when I read Megan Hart for the first time. She has to be one of the best authors, of any genre, I’ve read in a long time. I just picked up a few of your books from the library. I enjoyed What Happens in Vegas. Can’t wait to read the project you and Megan have cooked up together.
What matters to me is the quality of the writing, and the story.
I say that as a reader and as a writer hoping to be published someday. I have quite a few things in the works, but I hope to make my first submission to Spice Briefs before the summer is over. Yes Lauren, I am a “submission virgin” :oops:. (That kind of has a funny ring to it, huh? LOL) 😉