You recall the RWA craziness that was going on a few months back with Harlequin, right? The new self-pub arm that delisted them as an Eligible Publisher? Well, this is the newest hand-down (via the Hot Sheet) from RWA to its members. It should come at no surprise:
Taking into account emerging trends in publishing that may offer opportunities to writers, the task force recommended that RWA adopt methods used by other trade shows and conventions and to shift its method of evaluating publishers as a whole to evaluating publishers by divisions, imprints, or lines.
Given the Harlequin Ho-rizons (or whatever they’re calling themselves these days) thing, it doesn’t take a crystal ball, a tarot card reading and some tossed chicken bones to know that RWA was going to break down the recognition–excuse me, I meant “Qualifying Market”–criteria by imprint. They didn’t have much of a choice, considering Harlequin, their star publisher, pulled a Bernie Madoff on them with their new self-publishing venture.
So what does this mean for publishers? Well, RWA already speculated on that, too.
Under this revised method, RWA will extend invitations to a wide pool of publishers. Invitees may only represent their non-subsidy/non-vanity publishing programs (imprints, divisions, or lines) at RWA’s conference. Space for spotlights, workshops, and booksignings will be allocated to lines, imprints, or divisions that best meet the requirements for “Qualifying Markets.” This new process of evaluation will likely increase opportunities for small presses and e-presses that previously have been excluded.
I especially like that last part, so I bolded it. 🙂 Anyway, if this is what truly happens, then it’s a good thing. I could be wrong, but it sounds like RWA is opening their eyes to epublishing. But on the other hand, it also sounds like RWA is giving Harlequin an excuse to exist in their Qualifying Market schema.
Can you see where the arguments are going to unfold? I can. 😈
First, outsiders are going to say that RWA is filled with a bunch of saps who can’t live without their glorious romance publisher. Second, other organizations are going to stand their ground until Harlequin dumps Dellaharte, -core, or whatever they’re calling themselves and not give in like the saps. Third, some epub authors are still going to find beef with this because it took a giant like Harlequin for them to get their proper recognition by RWA. Fourth, RWA isn’t ripping into Harlequin for referring rejected authors to their vanity press stink locker.
In the end, you can’t please everyone. It’s a lesson I had learned a long LONG time ago. You’d think everyone else would, too. But alas, that’s not the case when the cats bear their claws. The most you can do is the best you can and hope you won’t crap bricks in the process.
Personally, I don’t feel one way or another about this because an organization can’t put a value on my writing. If I didn’t feel that way, I would’ve joined PAN (their published-author network) a while back. But that’s just me. Anyway, let’s face it. Until we really know what “Qualifying Markets” means and entails, it’s too soon to make assumptions and start a heatwave across the blogsphere about this. Everyone needs to chill.
What do you think about this latest decree? If you don’t belong to RWA, then what would you like to get out of a writer’s organization?