Friday, October 29, 2010

What the Fuck, RWA?

See, I have a theme going. Dear Author pointed out today that RWA hasn't really done anything about sound rogering Dorchester has given some of its authors, but back when Harlequin was going to start up Harlequin Horizons, they called an emergency meeting and removed Harlequin from their list of approved publishers.

Okay, let's look at the facts here:

Harlequin Horizons

  • Harlequin announces that they are going to offer a self-publishing model.
  • Before the service can actually launch or generate any kind of revenue, RWA calls an emergency session and boots Harlequin.

Dorchester Publishing

  • Dorchester decides that for the next six months, all mass-market titles will be released digitally. Books scheduled for mass-market release will have their release dates moved to some nebulous time in the future, and they will be digital only. Authors who have taken out ads and otherwise spent money promoting their book are basically told to deal with it.
  • At this point, RWA has already smacked Dorchester's hand for not paying authors.
  • Dorchester reverts rights to work back to some authors, but continues selling (and making a profit on) those works that are no longer legally owned by them.
  • RWA still hasn't made a decision.

It boggles my mind that Harlequin got straight up spanked by RWA because they were going to do something that possibly would hurt authors. It was a big enough emergency that RWA national had to hold an emergency session to make a decision. But Dorchester is and has repeatedly harmed authors and it's no big deal?

Inconsistent leadership and spotty protection for authors is one of the reasons I no longer belong to RWA. Unfortunately, there really isn't an organization out there that compares with them in terms of helping someone become a writer. So, if you're considering joining RWA, I would say approach it the way a person who just wants a discount on makeup approaches starting a Mary Kay business: Get in, pay for what you need, get out.

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