Is RWA being lobbied by the Big Six?
That question has been tossed around over the past year by those of us who are “indie” published. Or as RWA rules dictate, “self-published”. We’re published. Okay. Published. P-U-B-L-I-S-H-E-D.
RWA’s mission statement reads:
“The mission of Romance Writers of America is to advance the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy. RWA works to support the efforts of its members to earn a living, to make a full-time career out of writing romance—or a part-time one that generously supplements his/her main income.”
So please tell me why an indie published author does not fall into this description? I know MANY…let me emphasize MANY authors who have independently published through the Amazon and Barnes and Noble’s programs (which incidentally, does not cost a dime) and have been able to leave their day job to write full time. After one month of having two titles listed at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords, I’ve earned more in royalties than many debut authors will see as advance for a traditionally published book. And guess what, I’ve already surpassed what I did in the first half of December and it’s only the first week of January.
When does RWA start working for us? We’re career focused romance writers, and everyone knows romance is the single most downloaded genre of e-books. Why is it so difficult for RWA to recognize our accomplishments?
I honestly believe it goes back to the Big Six. They’re scared and rightfully so. I recently had an opportunity to publish with a small publisher – an opportunity I would have jumped at a year ago. But this time I didn’t. I can earn more money on my own and still maintain rights to my novel/backlist.
When I recently asked RWA if I was PAN eligible, which means I’ve earned at least $1000 on a single title as advance or royalty, they responded with a resounding “NO”. I’m considered part of that ugly, unmentionable blight called “self-published” authors. Yet I did not pay for any part of my publishing process. I created my own cover art. I formatted and edited my own works with the help of beta readers and critique partners. I didn’t pay myself for my time…the sign of a true entrepreneur. I’ve met the income requirement and did it in a single month. My debut month.
Why is this organization not supporting me? And why should I support them? What’s in it for me?
RWA has some great chapters who are independently (damn, I love that word) recognizing chapter members for their indie publishing accomplishments. I’ve even noticed a few contests that now offer an entry category for indie books. Good for them. They obviously have chapter leadership who understands the changing times. I applaud these visionary presidents and will support their conferences. The others can go jump in a pile of dog poop.
If RWA does not perform some fancy footwork over 2012 to change their attitude, I will be forced to join countless others who have said “adios”. And then, like the good Romance writer I am, I’ll ride off into the sunset . . . with my saddlebags packed full of money and my own version of snobbery and discrimination.
“Oh, you’re print published? They own your backlist? The net figures said you didn’t earn any royalties? It’s going to be TWO years before your book is out?”
“I’m sorry. Let me buy you lunch, poor thing.”
Yeah, that was snarky. I’m not courting a big publisher so I guess it gives me license to be a big mouth. And if this blog made you think twice about RWA’s mission statement and how they pick and choose who falls into the “career-focused” category of Romance writers, then I’ve done my job. Pat me on the back. Right before you kick me in the ass.
Pain is good. No…wait…that’s erotica.