Sunday, November 23, 2008


I usually don't comment on hot topics, but I'm a little baffled by a few things. Everyone knows how much I want to be published. I've done everything I believe is right in the way of getting published. 1) I write all the time. Completing books and sending them out to contests and editors/agents. 2) I network, going to conferences, hanging with like-minded published/unpublished authors, talking with editors and agents. 3) I read what I want to write. This will let me know what is out there and what editors are looking for (with my own personal twist). 4) I have web presence to get my name out there, includes a website, blogging, and writing articles for my local chapter's newsletter. 5) I study my craft by reading books and articles on writing and attending my local chapter's meetings.

So I expect one day soon I'll get that all important call that will be followed by being a published author. Because I'm a member of the RWA, my member status will changed to PAN (Published Authors Network).

Now for the hot topic, I was reading on another blog about some wording RWA changed on the RITA awards. They claim it boils down to ebooks vs. printed. (If you email me privately I'll give you the link, otherwise, I rather not attach it to this for now. Everyone has a right to their opinion.) I'm a firm believer there are two sides to every story and I've only heard one. Since I remember last year’s (or was that year before last) discussions on various loops and blogs about the change RWA made on PAN membership of "recognized" to "eligible", I know a lot of misinformed and blown-out-of-apportion observations were made then and I’m pretty sure they were made this time.

Several of the comments on the blog were from former members of RWA saying they had dropped out of the organization because epublished authors were being discriminated against. I’ve heard that song and dance before. I’m not a epublished author, but I read them. Does that count in knowing what I’m talking about? No? Then let me say, I’ve been discriminated against because I’m female, white or overweight. I understand what is perceived as discrimination can hurt. Everyone at one time or another, if not every day, has experienced it. But sometimes what is perceived is not always directed at you. It can appear to be but until you have the whole picture, you may be wrong.

My baffled part is if you’re satisfied with who you’re published with (epublished, POD or whatever), why does it matter if RWA recognizes you as published? I assume it’s because of the RITA. I understand how a RITA can make the difference in being acknowledged by other writers and even editors and agents, but it’s not the be all, end all if you don’t win or even final. I guess it can make your sales improve if you only have a 500 or 5000 print run. Then again I rather “win” the title of NYT best selling author. I know Linda Howard and Sherrilyn Kenyon and many other NYT best selling authors never won a RITA and may never have been a finalist. RWA doesn’t show finalists on their webpage.

But when it comes to being PAN or not being PAN, I believe the benefits are not that much different than being PRO or a general member. Sure you can’t go to some of the workshops at National. Considering I’ve only been able to afford one National conference, I don’t believe it mattered. I go to more and sometimes better workshops at local conferences. Heck, I get more editor/agent appointments at the local conference too. Sure as a PAN member, you get to be on the internet loop with other published authors. Whoopee-do.

I guess a lot of this uproar has to do with ego and what that certain person believes is fair. Everyone repeat with me, LIFE AIN’T FAIR! If it was, I would’ve been published twenty-five years ago with my first book. But thank goodness I wasn’t because it was a stinker.

For those who are PAN, besides declaring to other RWA members you’re published by an eligible publishing house and what it means to your ego (and we all have an ego and it’s okay), what does it do for you? Just curious. And those who are not published, besides the declaring and ego thing, what does it mean to you? Remember, I'm talking about the PAN part, not the published part.

Oh, if you’re wondering if I’m PRO. Yes. Why was it important for me to send in the paperwork for that? 1) I get editor/agent appointments whenever I go to National conference before general membership. 2) I got the cool little pin. 3) Self-satisfaction in knowing I’m really working toward the goal of getting published. If not for 1) and 2) number three would’ve been plenty.


MaryF said...

I am satisfied with who I am published with. The Wild Rose Press has freed me in that I can try new subgenres of romance with a good chance of being published.


I've been writing for 12 years, and like you, doing everything right. I get up at 4 in the morning, I write every day, I have submissions out to different places, because I would like to make a living at this.

All I wanted was to enter my first book in the Rita. And because it's not mass-produced, I can't. I won't have another shot at entering the first book. And I know it's unlikely I would final, but the act of entering the Rita in the first book category was something I had looked forward to since I knew what the Rita was. It was a goal, like seeing my name in the First Sales column of the RWR. I may be able to enter my second book next year (but who knows, if the rules say the ebook and print book have to be in the same calendar year, no chance there, either), but I'll never get another chance to enter the First Book Rita.

Carla Swafford said...

I've heard of some really nice things about The Wild Rose Press.

I guess then the solution is for ebook authors to pull together their own organization. I'm serious.

That's why RWA was created. They felt their needs weren't being met by other groups.

But the real question was, what does being PAN do for you? No one hasn't answer that yet.

Crystal-Rain Love said...

I honestly don't believe that being a member of ANY of these organizations is going to help sell books. It is an ego thing, just like you stated. When I'm buying a book, I don't give a hoot what it won. Yes, it's exciting to win things, but when it comes down to it... READERS don't really care about all that. Readers pick what interests them. As long as you have great quality in your writing, you'll turn out fine. (But it does help to be published by a publisher that does mass-market).

Diane Richmond said...

I think it is just perception and standing within our peer group. What really matters is that you are actively doing everything you can to get published.

If you are doing everything you can to become published, then you are to be commended.

Karen Beeching said...

Getting into PAN is very important to me. It's not a status thing. I utilize the groups I belong to and get as much information as I can from others who have been there and done that. For example, promotion is something I know nothing about and I hope PAN can help me with, once I get to that point.

Julie J. said...

I have not put much though into being in pan. I am with Karen in that I do utilize the groups that I am in, so I suppose pan would be good once I reach that point. Why would e-publishers not count for bieng in Pan? It seems this is a "behind the times" attitude to me, but I really do not know much about it.