Historical and Contemporary Romance Author

WTF Wednesday–RWA vs. Epublishers, Take One Millionty

When Amie Stuart suggested WTF Wednesday as a title for a regular feature (I had just invented yesterday’s TV Tuesday), I thought it was a fun idea and figured I’d use the space to discuss weird things that just make you go “WTF?” Then I got the June issue of Romance Writer’s Report (RWR), the monthly magazine published by Romance Writers of America and distributed to its members. And at the very front of this issue, there was another letter from the president, Diane Pershing, that made me (for the umpteenth time) say “WTF?”

Now, for those of you who don’t follow RWA, there is a lot of history here, and for the sake of length, I’m not going to rehash it all. Suffice it to say that RWA has had a rocky relationship with epublishers and epublished authors for quite a long time now, and this latest foray isn’t going to improve things.

To understand the letter, you have to know that RWA made the decision this year not to allow any publisher that doesn’t pay a minimum advance (the threshhold being the $1,000 in advance/royalty required for entry into PAN, the organization’s Published Author Network) to take pitches or deliver session content at the National conference in July. These publishers are still welcome to send people to the conference (i.e., give RWA their money), but they are not permitted to actually disseminate information about what they have to offer in any meaningful or useful way. Ms. Pershing’s letter was an attempt to explain RWA’s rationale for this decision, but far from mending any fences or making a really solid case, she managed instead to push pretty much every one of my buttons on this subject.

The thing is, I think it is safe to say that I do not wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to the merits of epublishing. Just a week or two ago, I posted my article, The Perils–and Pleasures–of Epublishing, and the “perils” portion is probably four or five times longer than the “pleasures.” After that, I hardly think I can be accused of being a blind cheerleader for the epublishing industry.

Notwithstanding, the patronizing tone of Ms. Pershing’s letter irked me from the outset, but my head hit the ceiling and my jaw hit the floor when I got to this passage:

So, back to RWA and its focus on the entire membership. At present, it is to the advantage of the publisher alone to not offer advances or a guaranteed minimum per author. It is not to the advantage of most of its individual members, and it is, most assuredly, not beneficial to the RWA general membership, as a whole…

Now, perhaps I am overinterpreting, but to me, this says that any author who accepts a contract from a publisher that doesn’t pay a minimum advance is doing harm to other members of RWA. It says that because I am willing to publish something without a guaranteed minimum payment, I am making it harder for other authors to get decent payment in the future. And for the record, I think that is bubkiss. As long as I am fully aware of what I’m doing, my decision doesn’t affect anyone except me, and it may be to my advantage as a career-focused writer to do it.

Case in point, obviously, is the first manuscript I ever had published, Carnally Ever After. I’ve already explained in my First Sale column over at Dear Author last week how the sale of that short novella led to my first sale to a royalty-paying New York publisher. Granted, I haven’t earned anywhere near a PAN-eligible advance on that story, but SO WHAT? The story is under 15,000 words; I couldn’t have submitted for PAN membership with it anyway. And while none of the novellas I’ve published since at Cobblestone have earned the PAN-eligible minimum either, put all together, I never expected them to and understood exactly how much I was selling them for (a guarantee of $0 but a likely return of more than if I didn’t publish them at all!) going in. This does not make me a stupid author. And it does not hurt other RWA members.

What does hurt RWA’s members is the persistent Jekyll and Hyde attitude of the organization toward epublishers. If it’s really RWA’s mission to assure that authors get paid what it thinks is a reasonable minimum for every book, then that’s the only model of publishing it should recognize as valid. That means publishers that don’t do so would not only be cut out of formal events at the national conference, but would not be recognized by RWA as “legitimate” in any other way. That means no more First Sale announcements in RWR for authors who’ve sold to a non-advance paying epress, no pink ribbons for those authors at the conference, and no PAN eligibility based on royalties (an author could earn $100k in royalties on a book, but if there was no advance paid, it wouldn’t count).

But what we have right now is a crazy mish-mash of “come here, come here” and “get away, get away” directed toward epublishers and epubbed authors. RWA wants the membership dues of those epubbed authors, make no mistake. It doesn’t want to offend those authors by telling them outright that their publishers are not legitimate. So it wiggles around the issue and ultimately ties itself up in knots trying to defend the indefensible.

Because it is indefensible to say that those who choose to publish without a minimum advance payment are uneducated (which Ms. Pershing’s letter clearly implies) and then not provide a forum in which to provide the education those authors need to make an informed decision. RWA can’t solve the problem of fly-by-night publishers who take advantage of authors by hiding an entire segment of the publishing market from its members. The only way for authors to decide whether it is in the best interest of their careers to publish without an advance is to have a clear-eyed understanding of the business model and what it can and can’t guarantee. Then it’s the author’s decision as to whether that publishing model is best for her book and her career–and she can do that without causing harm to other members.

I could go on and on and on about how, if RWA thinks a guaranteed income sufficient to support a “career” in writing is so important, its current $1k threshhold is laughable, but this is already over 1,000 words and I’ve made my point. Please, have at it in the comments. I’m all ears–er, eyes–to your thoughts on the subject.


  • Jody W. June 3, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Ah, but I bet you made pro rates for short fiction on your publications with Cobblestone. (SFWA pro rates are .5/word or minimum $50/75, with caveats.) I know I’ve surpassed pro rates on my short fiction with Samhain and Amber Quill, though I didn’t get it all upfront, which is the issue.

    I can see that a guarantee of pro rates for short or long fiction is better than the possibility of pro rates. I cannot see that it’s necessary to not only ignore but repeatedly denigrate authors who choose nontraditional career paths for reasons beyond “wanting to be published”.

    I will tell you how RWA needs to educate its membership, or at least its representatives — how to write about controversial topics without coming across like the Church Lady.

  • Ames June 3, 2009 at 11:49 am

    >>It doesn’t want to offend those authors by telling them outright that their publishers are not legitimate.


    Wow…….SO GLAD I stopped giving RWA my money. And yes, I realize Diane’s views might not reflect the views of the board or the general membership at large…BUT there will always be a divide between the haves and have nots.

    Sometimes the haves are peeps like Diane who look down their noses at E-published authors as less than…as inferior.

    Sometimes the haves are christian romance authors who look down their noses at erotica/erotic romance writers.

    Sometimes the haves are “Romance” writers who look down their nose at Chick Lit authors–I remember it all very very well.

    I could go on but I know you see the point I’m trying to make. I’m NOT excusing what was said just because I think it’s the way of things. I think it was very stupid and short sighted of her but *shrugs* what are you going to do? Besides speak with your dollars. I, for one, was tired of giving money to an org I got little out of as a published author. That’s NOT to say I’ll never attend another RWA convention…just that I’ll pay the non-member rate. 😉

  • admin June 3, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Oh, yeah, definitely earned at least the SFWA minimum on Carnally…and then some.

    And I agree re: educating reps not to come across like Church Lady.

  • admin June 3, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I really debated the wisdom of reupping my membership this year, but decided to do it since my access to the Beau Monde loop is so important for research and I can’t maintain that membership without being a member of national.

    I also do get a few referrals per month to my website from the author pages at their site, so I get some visibility from it as well.

  • Courtney Milan June 3, 2009 at 11:58 am

    If you take that letter and remove all the references to “low advances” and replace them with “high royalty rates” the article would continue to make sense.

    I think that RWA just doesn’t want to get in the business of vetting e-publishers. Which is fine; I wish they would just say that. But why they have to pretend the line they drew in the sand means anything moral, I don’t know. It doesn’t. There are very, very few first sales that make a career for an author.

    It’s all just stepping stones–and while some stones do not hold up to scrutiny, it doesn’t mean that a stepping stone that’s barely off shore is invalid.

  • admin June 3, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Also, have to say that I’m not sure it’s so much a problem of a superiority complex on the part of some authors, but more that it’s a failure to grasp that its “mission” to ensure that its members can make a career of writing is inherently fraught with peril.

    Heard the other day that only 2-3% of debut authors are recontracted. And few make a “living wage” as an advance on their first contract (and the $1k minimum to be “career-focused” by RWA’s standards doesn’t even come close to career money). The reality is that few of the authors who qualify for recognition by RWA rules as “published, career-focused” authors will actually ever truly make a career of it. Most will either continue to earn supplemental income with their books or fade into obscurity because they fail to get a second contract.

    If RWA wants to educate its members, it could start by being a little more honest about the true prospects for making a “career” out of writing.

  • admin June 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Courtney wrote:

    I think that RWA just doesn’t want to get in the business of vetting e-publishers.

    But they already are in that business by virtue of recognizing first sales, by publishing a list of recognized non-vanity, non-subsidy publishers, and by recognizing authors as published if they earn sufficient $’s from one of those publishers.

    That’s why I think it’s Jekyll-and-Hyde. RWA can’t make up its mind whether epublishing is a legitimate model for its authors or not, so it says it is half the time and isn’t the other half. Which is…crazymaking.

  • Courtney Milan June 3, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    I totally agree with you, Jackie.

    Here’s how I think RWA could help its members most: Provide RWA recognition to every e-publisher out there, who provides AVERAGE numbers to the public.

    AVERAGE # of copies sold for a first-time author.
    AVERAGE # of copies sold for a recontracted author.

    Don’t want to give those numbers out? Fine. You don’t need RWA recognition. Print publishers can rely on Bookscan to get #s (off by a fairly significant factor, but it gives you an idea). There’s nothing for e-pubs but speculation and grape-vine rumors.

    Get that information out, and let people make the decision about their own career.

  • admin June 3, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    That’s a reasonable compromise, Courtney, although you’d have to define the period (average sales for a month? a year?).

    Since most sales (esp. in ebook) occur within the first month, I think average numbers for first month and then first year would be most useful. I’d also like to see averages for bestsellers–the range of variation between an average seller and a bestseller can be wildly different from publisher to publisher.

  • Leslie Dicken June 3, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I haven’t yet read the letter in the RWR, will do that tonight (when I get home from the job that pays my bills), but it seems as if RWA is tightening its belt against epubs rather than opening it. I’m only in PAN because I was grandfathered in. At the time I published my first novel with Samhain, they were considered eligible. Now they aren’t.

    What got me even more furious than the latest uproar over the RITAs was their rules on the Literacy Signing. I have a novel published (in print) by a Canadian publisher. They are non-subsidy, non-vanity but don’t care to cater to RWA and so haven’t applied to be on “the list.”

    And, since they are not on “the list,” I am not allowed to sign those books. Mind you, I was BRINGING the books myself, donating them out of my own pocket. But because this publisher wasn’t listed, RWA would not provide me a spot or list me on their website.

    Honestly. This is a charity event. Why does it matter who the publisher is? Sigh. Definitely falls under “WTF.”

  • admin June 3, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Leslie, I think RWA’s stance re: signing your book at the literacy signing is unconscionable. If they are indeed about their MEMBERS, and not the publishers, then they should support/permit all authors at the signing (and I’d say it could include non-romance genre books, provided the author is an RWA member in good standing), especially since the goal is to raise money for charity!

    Bah. Yet another reason to be ticked at RWA on a day when I didn’t really need another!

  • Ames June 3, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    >>If RWA wants to educate its members, it could start by being a little more honest about the true prospects for making a “career” out of writing.

    BUt………but that would be MEAN!!!!! Yes an author said that to me once after she heard a big NYTimes bestselling author say during her speech at RWA that not all authors would sell.

  • admin June 3, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I guess I’m unusual in that I will take honest, even if it’s painful, over rose-colored glasses.

  • Nancy Naigle June 4, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Hear me out ladies.
    I still feel RWA is doing the right thing here. If it applies ANY pressure at all to make e-publishers pay the writers what they are worth … it’s a step in the right direction.

    The time you spent on that novel that’s being e-pubbed is the same as those printing — so why should you get so much less? It’s just another format Hardback/Trade/Mass Market/e-pub … right!?!?

    It’s no different in any other industry. Undercutting and underpaying can result in undervaluing the talent and effort the artist or associate should be rewarded for their contribution.

    Rather than be mad at RWA … FIGHT-FIGHT-FIGHT for your right to be recognized in a monetary way for your talent.

    I hope I don’t offend any of you — but I think it’s important to look at the bottom line. Don’t we all WANT to be paid for our talent?

    *Hugs and best wishes for a great royalty and next advance 🙂

  • admin June 4, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Hi Nancy,

    Thanks for having the courage to express your opinion. For what it’s worth, I don’t entirely disagree with you. The problem, in my opinion, is that a) RWA’s position is too inconsistent to have any real impact on publishers’ business practices and b) most epublishers, if forced to pay a $1k minimum royalty for any work over 20k words, would go out of business in short order. But maybe that’s what RWA wants?

    The thing is, it really ISN’T to authors’ benefit for epublishers to be forced to pay the kinds of royalties print publishers do, because it’s the very fact that they don’t which allows them to take chances on work that simply CAN’T get published in NY, whether due to length or subject matter or some other factor. Given the choice between the certainty that I will NEVER be paid ANYTHING for my work and the possibility that I can earn a few hundred dollars from contracting it with an epublisher or small press… Let’s just say I don’t think you can really argue that an author who contracts a work she can’t get published through traditional NY channels with a publisher for no advance is materially worse off than if she puts the book under her bed.

    That’s not to say that authors aren’t being taken advantage of in some instances or that authors should blindly accept a contract with the first publisher that offers–quite the contrary. It’s just to say that I don’t agree with the construct that says “if there’s no guarantee of a specific dollar amount, it’s a bad thing for the author to accept the contract.”

    Moreover, the economic situation of most traditional print publishers right now doesn’t exactly suggest that better advances are on the horizon for authors there, either. If anything, traditional publishers are going to be moving closer and close to the epublishing model, rather than further from it. Nothing RWA does/doesn’t do is likely to change that, especially as the distribution model for books moves increasingly to the electronic environment (which it will–you should have seen my 11yo and his friend yesterday loving on the Sony eReader that was on display in Borders!).

    I’m not 100% certain what the future holds for authors when it comes to advances and royalty payments, but one thing I’m certain of is that the model RWA is continuing to put its faith in is unsustainable and likely on its way out.

  • Teddypig June 4, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Sometimes I wonder why a group of romance writers just does not write at least a single qualifying Sci-fi Romance and infiltrate SFWA and start an expatriate group.

    You would get the solid “writer” oriented benefits of that organization while still enjoying the occasional RWA like entertaining dumbass comedy from the clueless.

  • Ames June 4, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    LOL@DUmbass Comedy. 😉

    I don’t think you can really argue that an author who contracts a work she can’t get published through traditional NY channels with a publisher for no advance is materially worse off than if she puts the book under her bed.

    Don’t you love it when I show up just to agree w/you…. Sometimes i want to write what I want to write and damn the restrictions of NY.

    And not to pick on Nancy but epubbed authors do get a higher royalty percentage. Sure we don’t make as much up front but some NY pubbed authors are still fighting for their right to receive a fair % of their epublished NY books. <–did that make sense?
    IMO less than 25% is highway robbery. It might not be much now in terms of actual dollars, but in 10 or 20 years when ebooks have become more and more the rule and less the exception. (Yeah I know this is a completely different discussion).

    And FWIW I have an epubbed friend who DOESNT write erotica (OR erotic romance) who made almost as much as I did last year.

  • admin June 4, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Yes, Ames, I DO love it when you show up to agree with me. But even if you show up NOT to agree with me, I’ll love it.

    One of RWA’s persistent blind spots seems to be the fact that not every book is NY material. Not every author wants to write NY material. Epublishing has provided a space for those books that DON’T have a market (or the length) sufficient to be picked up by NY publishers.

    To tell authors “You should NEVER contract a book without receiving an advance or a guarantee of minimum royalties” kind of assumes that all manuscripts are saleable in that sort of market. And they aren’t.

    RWA should embrace the opportunities epublishing provides for authors who write “outside the box” to earn income on their books, rather than just shoving them under the bed for a guarantee of $0. The reason authors get taken advantage of, IMHO, is not that they don’t get paid an advance, but that RWA doesn’t provide enough guidance and information to assist authors in making GOOD decisions about where/if to epublish (or small press publish, for that matter).

  • Bree June 4, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    I’m going to be tacky here for a second and do what I probably shouldn’t. I’m going to mention some numbers.

    The first number is 11: the number of months I’ve been an epublished author. I am not some massive behemoth who has been around forever and managed to earn a huge reader base that makes me an anomaly. It also means that for a lot of my books I haven’t even seen 3rd party sales, as those are usually paid quarterly, so my numbers are mostly based on direct publisher sales.

    The number of books I’ve had become PAN eligible (by earning $1,000): 3 (As a side note, none of those actually made me PAN eligible as I’ve written them with a co-writer and while PAN rules allow you to count money as gross royalties when you’re sharing with an agent, they do not allow you to do so when sharing with a cowriter. But that’s another discussion I’m trying not to have.)

    The time it took these books to earn that status: 6 months, 2 months, 1 month.

    I have short stories that consistently earn over 5 cents/word. I have one that has quite a few 3rd party sales I won’t see until this fall, but it’s earned out 8.7 cents/word.

    Now, the flip side: I don’t necessarily believe that non-erotic full length novels generally make more money as epublished works than they could in NY. And I certainly don’t think that all epublishers are created equal when it comes to sales. Because I think the proof that I am not a magical bestseller is fairly explicit: I have novellas that made $25 or $50 or $100 at smaller epubs. They have, in some cases, come out after books that made over $1,000 in one month. There are many reasons one might still continue to publish with such a publisher because sometimes, as you’ve said before Jackie, it’s about the experience you get and the way you’re treated.

    Diane Pershing tried to say that decisions are about the writer, not the publisher. I think that’s impossible in this particular discussion, because a publisher is not simply an interchangeable method of distribution, especially in epublishing where anyone with a website and a passing knowledge of technology can set up their own publisher. Epublishing is not all good. But neither is it all bad. And the one thing I think everyone needs to stop are the sweeping assumptions. Nothing in epublishing can be generalized. It’s too fluid and far too adaptable. The adaptability gives it the potential to be an awesome market–but it makes it very hard to speak about in a statistically relevant or intelligent fashion, as most data is outdated by the time you manage to record it.

  • Stacia Kane June 4, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Personally? I think the problem coms in when we expect the RWA to actually know anything about, or do anything about, publishing as a business.

    I firmly believe the RWA board has its collective head so far up Harlequin’s behind that they are totally unaware of the world outside it. I firmly believe that if your goal is to write for any house other than Harlequin, the RWA–on a national level, and even to a large degree at a local level–cannot do a damn thing to help you or to further your career.

    As I’ve said before on my own blog, when is the last time RWA had a President or more than one member of the board of whom most people have even heard? These aren’t listmaking bestsellers; hell, they’re not even generally single-title authors. They’re HQN authors, and that’s all they know.

    This isn’t at all to put down Harlequin. I like them. I like some of their books. I have the utmost respect for them as a publisher. But their world is not the world of single title publishing, and while I know a lot of HQN authors who know the difference, I don’t believe any of them are on the RWA board.

    The RWA has no power. They have no influence. (Something that I think a lot of people have a hard time realizing, simply because the RWA is spoken about as if it were important.) I will never believe that if the useful chapters they have went independent they wouldn’t be better off. I think we would all be better off, frankly. When is the last time they actually did anything useful for any of its members?

    I think they’re a huge waste of money; they don’t even provide their members with any useful information that can’t be found in a dozen other places. For their membership fee you’d think at the very least they’d be able to properly bet publishers, but they can’t even be bothered to do that because they’re too busy worrying about how much sex some people put in their books, like a group of high-school biddies sniping about who let who Go All The Way.


  • Stacia Kane June 4, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Sorry, that last para should say “properly VET publishers,” not bet.

    Seriously though. If I can keep track of which ehouses are worthwhile, and lots of others can, why the heck can’t the RWA? It’ not rocket science.

  • Jody W. June 4, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    >>>>most epublishers, if forced to pay a $1k minimum royalty for any work over 20k words, would go out of business in short order. But maybe that’s what RWA wants?

    Honestly, Jackie, I’ve been getting that impression from Ms. Pershing’s letters, hints that e-publishers are at best taking advantage and at worst borderline (or beyond borderline) criminal.

    A book not being NY-style doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. That’s one of the common misconceptions about small press. It means NY editors think its audience would be too small to cover the large publisher’s costs, with interest. A small press can take chances on quirky yet *quality* fiction NY cannot (particularly not NY genre publishers). The best analogy I’ve seen is large press=American Idol and small press=Pushing Daisies. Amazing show! Insufficient audience for the type of profit desired.

    HOWEVER. As we all know, this doesn’t mean small presses have zero financial commitment even with a small or no advance (another frustrating misconception), it just means their financial commitment is smaller. You know, kind of like their company?

    As far as RWA’s stance, I understand part of it, and sure, I’d rather have a fat advance–but when a book isn’t a NY book, should I just leave it under the bed, hiding its papery little head in shame just because it didn’t fit in with the popular crowd? I can publish with small press, gain experience, make MONEY, increase my momentum and motivation, all while taking another whack at a mainstream novel. And another. And another.

    Not every actor is Hollywood movie material. But should she stick to waitressing while refusing anything but the BIG break? Maybe she’d find community theater or independent cinema a better fit than, “Can I get you some fries with that?”

  • Kris Eton June 5, 2009 at 8:01 am

    What I like about epublishing is the very fact that you aren’t expected to make any amount of sales, there is no pressure to earn back any advance, and if one book doesn’t sell well that doesn’t mean I can’t get another contract.

    All of those things are true for NY published authors. The pressure to perform is huge and the fear you may not get another contract hangs over your head all the time.

    Epublishing there is only pressure from MYSELF. If I want bigger sales and a wider audience I’d better learn how to write better, plot better, etc. Epublishing teaches you how to read the market and provide what the audience wants…if you want better sales.

    If you just want to write what pleases you, you can do that, too. No guarantees of good sales, but sometimes your books just happen to hit regardless of any planning on your part.

    I see epublishing as the ‘incubator’ for a writer. Instead of stuffing book after book under your bed b/c it didn’t meet the very tight NY market, you can take those books and sell them elsewhere, getting some editing help and learning how to write better, AND making a little bit of money…whether that be $100 or $1000. Then many epubbed writers take what they have learned and find agents and publish with the bigger, harder-to-break-into NY publishing world.

    Why RWA would want to discourage the route is beyond me. I think the idea that RWA is very closed-minded beyond Harlequin is a very valid point….

  • Ames June 5, 2009 at 8:10 am

    >>RWA should embrace the opportunities epublishing provides for authors who write “outside the box” to earn income on their books,

    I agree wholeheartedly and would even go so far as to say that neither you nor i, nor (probably) dozens of other authors would be NY published today if it hadn’t been for epublishing. (Or at least, it would have taken us LONGER if epublishign hadn’t opened the door for erotica and erotic romance).

    I said over at WAP that neither system is perfect, and I stand by that. Otherwise you and I would be able to quit our jobs and be full time writers–right?

    I find the $1000 “line” that RWA uses, laughable in this context. Instead of picking on epubs, why don’t they do something about those NY publishers who still refuse to cough up a decent % of royalties on e-book sales???? WHy aren’t they up in arms about that?? And don’t tell me it’s not the same, because I’ll be damned if it isn’t!

    I think what bothers me most, and what you touched on, is the inference that books NY won’t buy aren’t “Good Enough”.
    To which I cry BULLSHIT!

    Yes, authors make mistakes, they sign contracts without asking questions, they sign with less than stellar pubs but is it RWA’s fault? NO it’s the author’s fault for not doing their homework, for not asking around and vetting a publisher before they sign on the dotted line. It’s the authors fault for not reading their contract and not asking questions before they sign. There’s only so much RWA can do in that regard. It’s up to the author to go to google and type the right words and to that end, the buck stops with the author, just as the buck stop with the author regarding “NY” contracts and agency agreements.

    Ok I think I’m done now 😀

  • Raquel Rodriguez June 5, 2009 at 9:55 am

    But isn’t a writer’s goal publication and the ultimately a career?

    Again this “explaining” of crap is outrageous. I chose epublishing on purpose so I could grow my career. Then about 2 years ago I decided to try RWA’s vision and again sub to trad pubs. Any luck in 2 years? No. Great comments with most of the rejections, invitations to sub more, but no offers from any trad pub. What do they expect, a completed polished ready-to-submit novel every month?

    Riiiiight. Like I could turn out 12 full-length stories per year and have a family and responsibilities and obligations and a LIFE.

    How am I supposed to build my career if I don’t get an offer from a trad pub? Easy: go back to epubs, which this year I did.

    RWA wants our $$ but they are NOT willing to give e-authors the time of day. I’d love to know exactly why they feel so threatened by so much electronic success. Hello! Even most of the trad pubs are releasing ebooks now.

    RWA’s “come-here-no, wait-you’re-not-good-enough” attitude gives me a headache that interferes with my writing.

    And I’m going to write. Now. And submit to an epub.


  • Leslie Dicken June 5, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    The reason authors get taken advantage of, IMHO, is not that they don’t get paid an advance, but that RWA doesn’t provide enough guidance and information to assist authors in making GOOD decisions about where/if to epublish (or small press publish, for that matter).

    And the fact that they did not allow for Workshops at the conference to cover this is truly telling.

  • Deidre Knight June 11, 2009 at 11:07 am

    I guess as a successful literary agent with a thirteen year track record in the business–and as an author who publishes with NAL/Signet, then I’m uneducated since I also choose to write for Samhain. 🙂 Interesting, I sorta thought I knew what I was doing, given all the NYT authors I’d discovered and all that. Perhaps I should reconsider my own qualifications or visit that forum you suggest they start.

    Sorry, couldn’t help myself. This whole mess makes me furious, both as an agent who receives royalty statements on behalf of authors who write for e-pubs (and therefore know that there’s good money), and as an author writing for Samhain (and therefore know there’s good money.)

    And that’s not even mentioning authors like Jaci Burton, Joey Hill, and Rhyannon Byrd, just three terrific writers who came to me after an e-publishing career was established and then were able to make a very successful leap to NY publishing houses, in part because they had a good track record with digital publishers.

    Thanks for the great post.
    Deidre Knight

  • Zoe Winters June 15, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Great post, Jackie!

    And Stacia, don’t know if you’ll see this, but really enjoyed your post about sex scenes on your LJ.

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    When people stop “showing RWA the MONEY”
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