RWA and Why You Want It


I can be kinda dense, I admit it. But I’d love for someone to really explain to me why RWA recognition is so important to you, the writer, the publishing company. Because it gains us….? Legitimacy? The opportunity to enter contests as a reduced rate? The chance to spend advertising dollars? To join a local chapter? What does it do for publishers? Do bookstores care? Readers certainly don’t; they wouldn’t know what it stands for, would they?

I now write for one publisher with the “RWA seal” and one about to get it. I’m not sure how my life is about to change.

I recently cancelled my personal membership to some professional organizations because…well, they collected my money, elected officers, and issued mandates that didn’t really affect anything except how much money they would charge, who would become officers, and what kind of mandates they should issue.

I’m willing to be convinced, honestly.

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6 thoughts on “RWA and Why You Want It

  1. Toni Sue says:

    I have been considering the exact same thing recently. I will be checking back to see if anyone has any good arguements for this.

  2. anny says:

    Well, initially, the RWA was established because quite frankly there is power in numbers. Romance writers were the unwanted stepsisters of the mystery/action adventure/sci-fi authors. You might think of it as a sort of “union” for romance authors. I know that they helped push through a lot of changes for print authors having to do with contracts, covers, etc.
    As far as an e-publisher being recognized by them? Well, it says that the e-publisher is not just some sleazy grab a buck erotica sight. It could be (surely don’t personally know!)that there might be some oversight from the RWA group.
    Until you get involved at the committee level, you generally don’t know the nitty-gritty about any organization.
    My recommendation is to go to their site and read every last screen on there. Some of it is puzzling. Some of it is interesting. But at least then you’ll have a basis to make an informed decision.
    I have also collected a series of workshops, etc., that are available to authors that are in the RWA. I’m a new writer, isolated and too far from a support group. The workshops would be helpful for me personally. I guess it depends mostly on what you personally as a writer need.

  3. Carolina Valdez says:

    I belong to one of the most active RWA chapters in the country. I write for e-publishers, and my houses aren’t recognized by RWA. It means I can’t submit to the RITA. That’s about it.

    My novellas have placed in contests by RWA chapters and, even though my writings aren’t with an RWA-approved publisher, my chapter recognizes my sales with roses.

    Belonging to RWA is truly a personal issue. I continue my membership because of the friendships I’ve made and what I’ve learned there about writing romances. I drive an hour to the all-day meeting, and I come away feeling terrific and inspired to write, write, write.

    We have several e-published authors in the chapter, and the Published Authors Workshop includes us.

    I’ve written some mysteries as Dee Ann Palmer, and I canceled my $95 Mystery Writers of America membership as too pricey.

    MWA and Sisters in Crime don’t recognize e-published books at all. At least in my RWA chapter, my work is respected.

    Carolina Valdez
    http://www.deeannpalmer.com
    http://www.carolinavaldez.com
    EPPIE 2007 Finalist with “Lure” in the AmberPax erotic cop collection, “Just the Bare Facts, Ma’am”

  4. Yvonne says:

    RWA would appear to be a good place for a new or unpublished author to apprentice until he/she is published and known. Many of the authors I love even offer links to education sites. Although I have never written anything other than some poems, I love to read these and have saved some thinking “someday”.

    Most professions across the world offer a professional organization that offers continuing education, networking and opportunities to develop leadership skills.
    Authors seem to be no different. Romance Authors especially. From the minimal research I’ve done, it seemed this may have been done to acquire legitimacy in a hostile market. Since the issue appears to be voluntary, it would appear to be a non-issue.

    I always considered the RWA (and other similar organizations) as a professional organization that “helped the members to follow agreed upon standards”. I do not mean that everyone who writes must be a member, because there are many talented authors who do not wish to fit in “the ticky-tacky boxes” of conformity. Those who march to a different drummer (Please forgive the triteness of my words, I just can’t think of anything else at this time.) either don’t or can’t fit into the more narrow constraints of a large association’s guidelines.

    But I do so enjoy hearing/reading of the fun some of you (authors) have when you meet at the conferences. You share books, trivial gifts and get to know each other. This is also an opportunity for some of the readers to “meet and greet” you also. I would dearly love to have that opportunity, should a meeting ever be in AZ.

    I read over 260 books a year. That is a lot. That does include a few freebies a few re-reads. But still…..

    I wrote too much. But I really love your stuff especially Mayan Nights and was excited to take this opportunity to talk to you.

    Yvonne (Belle)

  5. L.K. Campbell says:

    I like the magazine, RWR. There’s a lot of helpful stuff in it as far as learning how to be a better writer. It hasn’t really helped to get published, though.

  6. Charlene Teglia says:

    Well, um, that depends. I think primarily what you get out of RWA is networking and the opportunity to advertise in Romance Sells. The other benefits you don’t have to be a member to get; entering contests, attending conferences and workshops, etc. Networking and sharing information can be pretty valuable, so I wouldn’t discount that.

    What does it get a publisher, beyond a deluge of new submissions? It might help attract more good writers, because it means they’ve demonstrated a certain level of sales and the potential for an author to earn a reasonable amount for a title sold there. It makes a title eligible for entry in the Rita, which can be significant.

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