There really is no way to dive into this blog post other than just diving in.
It's no secret that over six years ago I started out on a publication journey. A journey that included joining Romance Writers of America, Ohio Valley Romance Writers of America, Chick-lit Romance Writers of America, writing a book, getting an agent, and selling to a publisher for a big six figure deal.....
GUESS THE F**K WHAT. . .
. . .really it's NOT!
Making DECISIONS, and hard ones, are a harsh reality of this business~regardless of your publication journey.
Today I'm going to talk about the Them vs Them. Romance Writers of America Vs themselves.
Six years ago I joined RWA because I had to in order to join the only writers group in Cincinnati, you had to be a member of the national group which happens to be RWA. It was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
Instantly I was part of a group that understood me. They understood how my comma placement was always wrong or that my run-on sentences did make sense after all. They were a group that showed me the ropes as a newbie in this crazy writing business. AND it was my drive that got me where I am today.
I even sat on the board for a couple of years as well as joined a few RWA online chapters. I sat on the board of the online chapters for two years too! I met a lot of great people, who I still consider my real good friends.
Then RWA does the unthinkable. They refuse to open their eyes and move into the 21st century. Do I sound like some disgruntled author....no. I have done all roads to publication and still believe in them. RWA does not. That is a problem for me.
I have been a long time supporter of RWA, not as a member, but as a big cheerleader for them. I have encouraged countless of new authors to join, give all they have to the group.
I have given RWA two years, 24 months, 731 days, 17, 532 hours, or 1,051,898 minutes (however you want to put it) of my life waiting on them to change. Waiting on them recognize self-published authors in some way.
Don't get me wrong. I know there is a lot of crap out there and writers who put up some written words because anyone can self-publish. BUT what about the real authors? The ones who do turn down contracts with publishing companies? Ones who drop agents? Ones who get their rights back? Ones who travel all roads to publication?
This week I got my renewal in the mail. As if not recognizing my bestselling novels is not good enough, they stick me with a RAISED membership fee. This sent me soaring!
So I had to sit down and make some really big decisions. First off, YOU need to realize that writers are NOT your target audience. I know that YOU are not going to buy my fiction novels. You might buy my non-fiction novel (which I highly recommend) because it is for YOU. It teaches you how to market and promote. This blog is for YOU, the writer, not my readers. My STREET TEAM is for my readers, not YOU!
Why am I pounding this into your head? Because writers think they HAVE to be a member of RWA even if they don't write romance. Why? Because for some great marketing reason, RWA has made writers believe that they are the end-all-be-all of the writing community.
Let's see what I get for $95....
1) Monthly magazine that has a TON of adds for books and articles that I can find online for FREE...hmmm....again....why do writers advertise in this magazine? WRITERS ARE NOT YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. Dollars wasted!!!!
2) An invitation to their national convention. OH! They teach craft classes!! Shhh....you can take those same exact classes on Savvy Author for HUNDREDS of dollars cheaper.
3) BUT Tonya, I get to meet up with my writer friends. Yes you do. BUT did you also know that you can meet them anytime of the year. You have to plan it.
4) You can get an award. Golden Heart or Rita. What do they get you? NOTHING! I know a gal who has finaled in the Golden Heart four times and still doesn't have an agent....Oh and another girl who enters the Golden Heart every year but changes the title of her manuscript each year. That is sad to me.....BUT my novel, Splitsville.com is a 2012 double finalist in The Next Generation Indie Awards and THREE libraries have already picked up my books through the final! Cool!
5) ...........(I couldn't think of another plus to being a member)
Here I sit, wondering what I was going to do. Was I going to rejoin a national organization that believes that the $50k I have made in the last eight months really doesn't exist? Or was I going to look at an Indie organization that is really instrumental to my career?
Oh...what about that local RWA group? Yes! I do love each and everyone of them. They have become my friends. Some of them visit my blog from time to time AND I have no doubt they will remain my friends. BUT they are NOT my target audience.
Instead of joining RWA, I'm taking that $95 and investing who my target audience is. You, my blog followers are my target audience for non-fiction, AND my readers are my target audience for my fiction.
This had NOTHING to do with indie vs traditional publishing. This have EVERY thing to do with business decisions. I have several traditional published friends who will not be rejoining as well. Why? Because RWA has nothing to offer.
They have done nothing to change or nothing new to offer their members. When I got my agent, I asked her some really tough questions.
MY QUESTION: Do agents really care that I'm a member of RWA?
AGENT ANSWER: No. If you have a good book, you have a good book. I always tell my agents who I send to those conferences to make sure they take at least a partial of each pitch. 99% of the time we do not offer representation.
MY QUESTION: So if I didn't renew my membership, I'm going to be okay?
AGENT ANSWER: I'd rather you spend time writing.
The long and the short of it~my local RWA writing group was the best thing I could've done as a new writer six years ago. That was six years ago. Now you can join so many groups online or even find writing groups in libraries. Times have changed, and it's time RWA does or they are going to keep losing GREAT writers left and write...right!